On Sept. 21, Maria Cuomo Cole presented a special lunch honoring Fork Films’ new movie “The Armor of Light.” Director Abigail Disney and special guests Rev. Rob Schenck and Lucy McBath were in attendance at the 21 Club. They participated in a fascinating conversation. The film, which hits theaters on Oct. 30, was the official selection of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, 2015 AFI Doc and 2015 Provincetown Film Festival. The film follows an Evangelical minister and the mother of a teenage shooting victim who ask, is it possible to be both pro-gun and pro-life? Abigail Disney’s directorial debut, 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, 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.
When asked how the film came to be Lucy and Abigail shared, “We talked about making a film that didn’t just contribute to the already inflamed deadlock that we’re already in and it seemed that the way to do it was to sway away from the political and talk about the values. Rob was someone that I found after speaking to five or six other ministers, most of whom agreed to what I said, but would never say it publicly. None of us have each other’s phone numbers or spaces, morally or intellectually or physically, we don’t know how to talk to each other. That is a problem, so I had to kind of had to open the door and Rob was somebody who was a very progressive seminary. He really did recognize that there was a problem at the center of things that he couldn’t fail to address and that was really how he got started in the film.”
Disney added, “In the process of looking for apostates, I found Lucy’s attorney, John Phillips, who is a lifetime Republican who represented Lucy’s family while Jordan’s case was making its way through the system and meeting Lucy, you want her to tell you something, that there’s something in there for you to learn and grow from, and she was so magnetic and spoke the same
language Rob spoke, that we needed to put them together.”
Rob reflected, “It’s been a delightful mix because I have a pessimistic streak in me. I didn’t think I would find many allies — at least those that were willing to go to any degree about going to public about it and I’ve been delightfully surprised. A few now have just voiced their opinion publicly. Of course almost immediately, I knew Lucy was going to be a wonderful ally and friend and help, I knew our people would fall in love with Lucy. Her testimony is genuine, authentic, not that she just speaks the language but she speaks it and lives it.
Lucy added, “I consider myself an accidental activist. I have learned how to be an activist, how to build better relationships with organizations and people that are not like minded with gun violence advocates, trying to build those relationships to understand that this is a moral issue. That it is everyone’s problem. What we see happening is everyone’s moral issue and we should all be in tune in preservative the sanctity of human life. We’re supposed to care about our communities. As a nation we’ve moved very far from that. We’re at a point now where our idol has become the gun and the gun has become the god and that has become the authority in this country and I stand with Abby and Rob and anyone that wants to preserve life, and that’s what I’ve given my life to.”
When asked about race, Lucy said, “There is a huge element of race that plays into gun violence in this country. We see statistically
within communities of color, more people are dying through gun violence because of the laws in this country. It’s very disheartening, the legislatures don’t care about what is happening in communities of color, to see this every day is very hard. There’s a lot of money that is made with innocent victims dying in the streets so it’s a web of proponents of many things that are involved and it’s a matter to awaken my own community.”