Faith / Firearms / Media

Awash in a Sea of Faith and Firearms: PBS to Air “The Armor of Light” Documentary on May 10

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.

PBS Town Hall

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:


4 thoughts on “Awash in a Sea of Faith and Firearms: PBS to Air “The Armor of Light” Documentary on May 10

  1. Abigail Disney reached out to me a couple of years ago and I ended up traveling to New York on her nickel to have lunch and talk about gun control, gun rights, morality and all the usual topics of the gun debate. It was a really pleasant lunch with some give and take from both sides, but I was well aware of the fact that I was being interviewed. I had some hope that whatever she was working on would get beyond the usual cliche arguments over gun control. Earlier this year I was given an opportunity to see an advance copy of the film. The result is both disappointing and unsurprising. I wrote a review that appears here:


  2. I suspect it will be the usual gun and God bashing the SJW’s give out every day. I will try and watch it. Is that channel on line?


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