Unique among the industrial democracies of the modern West, the United States is both “awash in a sea of faith” (to quote historian Jon Butler) and awash in a sea of firearms (as we know from the Small Arms Survey).
I have a scholarly paper forthcoming in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion that empirically documents the relationship between religion and gun ownership, so I am very interested to see the documentary, “The Armor of Light,” which PBS’s Independent Lens will air on Tuesday, May 10th (check your local listings – I will watch on WUNC at 8pm Eastern).
I don’t often claim to know much, but I am one of the few social scientists in the United States who knows about the relationship between religion and guns. I will look forward to comparing “one minister’s journey” (Evangelical Rob Schenck) to what we know more generally about faith and firearms.
There will also be a “town hall” following the documentary, though judging from the description I captured from the PBS website, I’m not optimistic about how that “discussion” will go. PBS is claiming to examine “the nation’s RISING gun violence.” I wish there was less violence in America, including with guns, but I don’t know any credible source that says gun violence is rising in America.
When PBS Frontline aired “Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA,” I was invited by Frontline to “live tweet” the event. No such invitation came from Independent Lens for “The Armor of Light,” but I will live tweet from @gunculture2pt0 nonetheless using the hashtag #ArmorofLightPBS.
If you can only spare 2 minutes not an hour, here’s the trailer for the documentary: