Armor of Light

Posted on October 29, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Copyright Jeff Hutchens 2015
Copyright Jeff Hutchens 2015
What does it truly mean to be “pro-life?” For many who consider themselves conservatives, it means to be anti-abortion. For many who consider themselves liberals, it means to be against gun violence. One leading evangelical minister, a founder of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, begins to grapple with this dichotomy in “Armor of Light,” a new documentary from Abigail Disney. While she considers herself liberal, she specifically went in search of someone who would be willing to explore what it truly means to be “pro-life,” and that led her to Rob Schenck, of Faith and Action, which says: “Our purpose is to affect the hearts and minds of America’s public policy makers with Christ’s mandate in the two Greatest Commandments: Love the Lord Your God with All Your Heart, Soul, Strength, and Mind, and Love Your Neighbor as Yourself….ur mission—to challenge our nation’s leaders with biblical truth.”

Disney says: “I have found this to be true: if you approach people with respect and an open heart, they will almost always respond to you in the same way. So Rob and I formed the most unlikely of friendships and it was in that spirit that we went forward on this journey together, poking into the darkest of political corners, asking the hardest, most sensitive of questions and pushing back on some of the most dearly held American creeds.”

It was not until gun violence came literally almost to Schenck’s own doorstep that he felt he had to act. The second-deadliest shooting on a US Army base occurred in Washington DC’s Navy Yard, just steps from Schenck’s home. He knows that most of the people who provide financial support for his efforts and many of his friends and faith community are passionate advocates for the right to own guns in any quantity and of any kind. The movie shows him listening with great compassion and patience to some of his closest colleagues and friends. They explain that they see the Biblical imperative as protecting their families, and the only way to achieve that is through unlimited access to guns.

The movie also tells the story of Lucy McBath, whose teenage son’s tragic death is also the subject of another excellent documentary, “3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets.” McBath’s son Jordan stopped at a gas station with his friends the day after Thanksgiving 2012. Another customer, Michael Dunn, shot and killed him, and then tried to defend himself under the “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows the use of force if the shooter “perceives” a threat. He was later convicted and is serving a life sentence. McBath is now devoting her life to working with the faith community to combat gun violence.

Disney’s sympathetic camera allows both Schenck and McBath to tell their stories in a personal and compelling manner. She explores Schenck’s Jewish upbringing, and his finding in evangelical Christianity a faith that would help him make sense of the Holocaust genocide and a purpose in trying to protect life. And McBath is the daughter of a man who worked with Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement. She ties her passion for justice to his example. This is a powerful film, all the more so because it struggles with its subjects to find common cause and because it shows compassion and respect for the sincerity and good will of all.

Parents should know that violence is a theme of the film and there are references to tragic deaths and gun violence, as well as brief strong language.

Family discussion: What do you think “pro-life” means? What arguments are most persuasive on gun violence and why? The title of the film is taken from Romans 13:12 — what does it mean?

If you like this, try: “3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets” and “Guns, Culture, and Crime in the US” and read my interview with the director and subjects of the film

Related Tags:


Documentary Politics Spiritual films VOD and Streaming
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik