The Christian Bible is filled with instructions from Jesus to his followers about non-violence. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says that his followers should not practice, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” Instead, he says,
[D]o not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
Many wonder how evangelical Christians went from instructions like that, from the founder of their faith, to the opinions that many of them hold about guns now. The website Christian Gun Owner says the following, which seems to run directly counter to the words of Jesus:
The true Christian gun owner believes he/she is to be a servant to humanity. But that belief does but not extend to being a doormat to those who refuse to live by the rules of reasonable human behavior.
One evangelical Christian who used to agree with that statement is Robert Schenck. Schenck is an evangelical minister who says that his constituency would be considered “very conservative.” And, like his conservative constituency, he used to be a big supporter of guns.
But Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, a black teen who was shot to death by a white man in 2012 in an argument over loud music, has changed Schenck’s mind.
Schenck and McBath are the subjects of a new documentary, “The Armor Of Light,” which looks at how the death of Jordan Davis inspired Schenck to rethink his views and begin speaking out against gun violence. Schenck told Amy Goodman, of Democracy Now:
It was her [McBath’s] passion in the wake of that pain and horror of losing a son to murder that was really what pulled me across the threshold of decision to start speaking to this, even though for me it is at great personal risk. In our community, when you break with a kind of orthodoxy on social issues — guns being one of them — you are seen as a renegade or as a defector.
In the trailer for “The Armor Of Light,” Schenck says what many have known for some time:
When faith becomes inseparably linked to a political position, we become vulnerable to selling our souls.
In Democracy Now’s interview with Schenck and McBath, Schenck says that the conservatives’ embrace of guns stems from fear, and adds that he believes that fear comes from “a failure of faith.” Add Robert Schenck to the growing list of religious leaders who are starting to say that being “pro-life” involves much more than opposing abortion.
Watch the Democracy Now Schenck and McBath interview below:
Featured image via Democracy Now screen capture