Tribeca Film Festival to Feature Documentary on Reverend Who ‘Courageously’ Preaches About Gun Control

Posted: Mar 19, 2015 12:00 PM

“Is it possible to be pro-life and pro-gun?” A documentary at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, “The Armor of Light,” is searching for an answer to that question. The film, directed by Walt Disney’s grandniece Abigail E. Disney, will follow Reverend Rob Schenck as he challenges congregations to reconsider their support of gun rights, as he fears these views may contradict their pro-life beliefs. Judging by the documentary’s description of Schenck's gun control advocacy as “courageous,” it’s obvious what sort of agenda Disney is setting.

What price conscience? Abigail Disney's directorial debut, THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, follows the journey of an Evangelical minister trying to find the courage to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America. The film tracks Reverend Rob Schenck, an anti-abortion activist and fixture on the political far right, who breaks with orthodoxy by questioning whether being pro-gun is consistent with being pro-life. Reverend Schenck is shocked and perplexed by the reactions of his long-time friends and colleagues who warn him away from this complex, politically explosive issue.

I’m sure this won’t be a scene in Disney’s documentary, but guns can actually save lives too. Perhaps one of Schenck’s sermons should focus on the numerous instances in which people used firearms out of self-defense. He’d have plenty to choose from. On average, there are 1.5 million defensive gun uses per year, according to this thorough report from the Cato Institute, which cited The National Survey of Private Ownership of Firearms. Another study featured in the report analyzed 5,000 news incidents from October 2003 to November 2011 and found that 1,277 of the incidents were criminals who ran from armed inhabitants.

If you want one specific example of how a guy with a gun came to the rescue, how about this man in Tulsa (who happens to use a wheelchair), who killed two bad guys with a handgun while they were attacking his friends? Without his firearm, who knows how much damage the assailants could have done. Firearms have a way of equalizing otherwise lopsided battles.

Another case in point: In 2007, Jeanne Assam, the security guard of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, stopped a gunman in his tracks with her firearm after he started firing in the church, killing two people and injuring two others. Here's what the church's senior pastor, Brady Boyd, had to say:

"Three people are needlessly dead, but many more lives could have been lost."

Assam herself also commented on the ordeal:

"I was very focused. I knew what I had to do," she said. "It was it just seemed like me, the gunman and God."

In light of these incredible stories, I have a better suggestion for a documentary: How about we feature gun-wielding heroes like these?

Another fact that won’t fit in Disney’s documentary, is that women are the fastest growing demographic of firearm owners. Oh, and the most common reason? Self-defense.

With all this said, I have to acknowledge that I appreciate Schenck's efforts on behalf of the pro-life movement. He has even taken his cause to the steps of the Supreme Court. Yet, his anti-gun agenda is way off base, for the reasons I mentioned above. In this column for USA Today, he even referenced the radical Everytown for Gun Safety while arguing for fewer guns in homes. No wonder Hollywood tracked him down.

Fork Films’ liberal agenda is very clear. Among the funding recipients featured on their website, is “Vessel,” a documentary about one woman’s mission to provide abortions aboard ships in countries where the procedure is banned, and “Citizen Koch,” which demonizes the Tea Party-backing Koch Brothers.

Looks like the anti-conservative status quo is alive and well in Hollywood and next month's Tribeca Film Festival will include more preaching to the liberal choir.