Faith Testimony

Rob Schenck and Lucy McBathA funny thing happened to me on my way to the Tribeca Film Festival this year. I made a totally unexpected friend. His name is Rob Schenck. I was making the film THE ARMOR OF LIGHT about guns in America and trying to understand why the overlap between the pro-life community of Evangelicals and the pro-gun community of conservatives seemed to be so absolute. To my naïve eyes, the contradiction looked totally untenable.

I looked for the most ferocious pro-life activist I could find who would talk to me. When I sat down with Rob, I expected a fire-breathing dragon and what I got was a mensch. I expected, frankly–and this is me revealing a deep prejudice–a not very bright person. Instead I met an articulate, deeply feeling, genuinely compassionate man. So as it turns out, there is quite a generous amount of space above politics, and you can choose to inhabit it.

I made another friend on this film too. Lucy McBath. Lucy was easier and certainly not surprising for me to like, and her friendship was not the startling thing Rob’s friendship has been, but a revelation and a gift nevertheless. Both Rob and Lucy are people who don’t just talk about their faith. They inhabit it. They embody it. And so, whether by coincidence or by plan, I’m not sure, both of these friends have forced me to focus on one aspect of my life that I had hoped not to have to trouble with once I had left the confines of home. And it is to both of them that I am deeply grateful for bringing me back into relationship with an aspect of my heart for which I had forgotten I was hungry.

I have spent a lifetime in struggle with the idea of faith. Faith, as it was modeled for me in childhood, was an inscrutable concept. It was something you were born with and never questioned. You either had it or you didn’t, and if you didn’t there was something wrong with you. I spent many a Sunday morning in mass waiting and hoping for some of that magic juju to rain down on me from the pulpit, and it simply never did. I began to suspect that something else was going on here. I began to think that the people who talked about their faith all the time were just the like folks telling the Emperor how nice he looked in his new outfit. I thought maybe the consequences of confessing to doubt were so dire that everyone simply chose to play along, just to make their lives easier.

Faith or no faith, when you are born into a highly observant family you are essentially handed your script for living. For some people, the script is a life preserver and they cling to it with all the strength and conviction they can muster. For other people, the script is a noose and they can find no better course than to run from it and from every approximation of it that they encounter.

I was in the latter category for much of my life. I saw the slavish observations that my mother and her mother went through as nothing but empty ritual, the kind of rote behavior that emptied the soul rather than filled it. I thought of their obedience as a kind of coward’s retreat from the problematic of thinking for oneself. I watched as they submitted, time and again, to the wisdom and judgment of what so often seemed like the most mediocre of men, and I confess I felt contempt for them, the kind of contempt that came from the worst part of my heart–the kind of contempt that, if you let it go unchecked, can hollow you out and make you mean.

It has become popular lately to lay emphasis on all the ways in which religion as an earthly institution drives men and women to do stupid, greedy, and criminal things – small, medium, and large. There are sneering atheists everywhere we look, and their contempt for people like my mother, even though I once myself shared it, has lately made me want to rise to her defense and to the defense of women and men of deep faith in general, a terribly ironic place for me to find myself in middle age.

What I’ve come to see as an adult is that while there are surely quite a number of corpses piled up at the doors of the world’s many faith traditions, that pile is nothing in size or significance compared to the accumulated effect of all the kindness, love and decency brought to the world every single day by men and women of faith—simply as a matter of routine. If you added together all the misuses of religion for earthly, political and financial purposes for all of human history, the sorrows and the suffering would still not come close to outweighing all the good that faith has brought to the hearts of all of our lives, even if that good is rarely seen, remarked upon or credited. Evil, let’s face it, has a far better publicist.

Ten years ago, I’d have laughed in your face if you’d told me that I’d be ‘palling around’ with a man like Rob Schenck—a lifetime foe of pretty much every political principle I have ever fought for. And yet, I’d take Rob Schenck’s unhip piety over the smirking certainty of a hundred fashionable atheists any day of the week. I might not have been surprised to be friends with Lucy, but I’d sure not have expected that I’d be making a film which didn’t edit out all of her incredibly profound professions of faith the way we lefty progressive filmmakers generally like to do.

During one of our interviews Rob mentioned a verse from Hebrews that finally turned a light on over my head about faith: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith isn’t some private club you need a secret password to get into. Nor is it a limb you are either born with or without. If faith is the substance of things hoped for, my goodness, I’ve been a woman of faith all along, it’s just that I was calling myself an optimist instead.

In a world littered with sorrowful and lost souls, overpopulated by arrogant intellects cackling confidently over the foolish and deeply uncool rituals of faith, I have come to see both sincerity and submission as acts of the most profound and rare kind bravery and faith as the life preserver that sat at my fingertips all along. I am deeply indebted to Rob, Lucy as well as my friend and peace activist Leymah Gbowee for showing me that.

Privacy Policy

Effective Date: September 1, 2018.

1. Introduction and Overview.

This Privacy Policy describes how Purple Mickey Productions LLC (“Purple Mickey Productions,” “we,” “our,” or “us”) collects, uses, and shares information about you and applies to your use of any online service location that posts a link to this Privacy Policy and all features, content, and other services that we own, control and make available through such online service location (collectively, the “Service”). This Privacy Policy does not apply to our information collection activities outside of the Service (unless otherwise stated below or at the time of collection).

By using the Service, you agree to our Terms of Use and consent to our collection, use and disclosure practices, and other activities as described in this Privacy Policy. If you do not agree and consent, discontinue use of the Service.

2. Information Collection.

A. Information You Provide.

We and our Service Providers (defined below) may collect information you provide directly via the Service. For example, we collect information when you sign-up for our mailing lists, purchase or view our content, or otherwise communicate or transact with us through the Service.

The information we collect may include Personal Information. “Personal Information” is information that identifies you personally (whether alone or in combination), such as your first and last name, e-mail address, and postal address. You may choose to voluntarily submit certain other information to us through the Service, including Personal Information, but you are solely responsible for your own Personal Information in instances where we have not requested that you submit such information to us.

Where you purchase content through the Service, we use a Third Party Service (defined below) to process your payment information, including credit card information. We do not have access to or store your credit card information.

Personal Information once “de-identified” is not subject to this Privacy Policy and we and our Service Providers may treat it as non-Personal Information and use it without obligation to you except as prohibited by applicable law.

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We and our Service Providers may automatically collect certain information about you when you access or use the Service (“Usage Information”). Usage Information may include IP address, device identifier, browser type, operating system, data regarding network connected hardware, and information about your use of the Service. To the extent that we combine Usage Information with your Personal Information, we will treat the combined information as Personal Information under this Privacy Policy.

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We may obtain information about you from other sources, including Service Providers and Third Party Services, and combine such information with information we have collected about you. To the extent we combine such third party sourced information with Personal Information we have collected about you on the Service, we will treat the combined information as Personal Information under this Privacy Policy. We are not responsible for the accuracy of any information provided by third parties or third party policies or practices.

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We may use information about you, including your Personal Information, for any purposes consistent with our statements under this Privacy Policy or as permitted by applicable law, including to:

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4. Sharing of Information.

Our agents, vendors, consultants, and other service providers (collectively “Service Providers”) may receive, or be given access to your information, including Personal Information and Usage Information, in connection with their work on our behalf. These Service Providers are prohibited from using your Personal Information for any purpose other than to provide this assistance, although we may permit them to use aggregate information which does not identify you or de-identified data for other purposes.

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Without limiting the foregoing, in our sole discretion, we may share aggregated information which does not identify you or de-identified information about you with third parties or affiliates for any purpose.

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To the extent we combine information from Third Party Services with Personal Information we collect directly from you on the Service, we will treat the combined information as Personal Information under this Privacy Policy. Otherwise, the information collected and stored by third parties remains subject to their policies and practices, including whether they continue to share information with us, the types of information shared, and your choices on what is visible to others on Third Party Services. We are not responsible for and make no representations regarding the policies or business practices of any third parties or Third Party Services and encourage you to familiarize yourself with and consult their privacy policies and terms of use.

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Your browser settings may allow you to automatically transmit a “Do Not Track” signal to online services you visit. Note, however, there is no industry consensus as to what site and app operators should do with regard to these signals. Accordingly, we do not monitor or take action with respect to “Do Not Track” signals or other mechanisms. For more information on “Do Not Track,” visit http://www.allaboutdnt.com.

C. Analytics Tracking Technologies.

You may exercise choices regarding the use of cookies from Google Analytics by going to https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout or downloading the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on. Purple Mickey Productions is not responsible for effectiveness of, or compliance with, any third-parties’ opt out options or programs or the accuracy of their statements regarding their programs.

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8. Your California Privacy Rights.

California’s “Shine the Light” law permits customers in California to request certain details about how certain types of their information are shared with third parties and, in some cases, affiliates, for those third parties’ and affiliates’ own direct marketing purposes. Under the law, a business should either provide California customers certain information upon request or permit California customers to opt in to, or opt out of, this type of sharing.

Purple Mickey Productions may share personal information as defined by California’s “Shine the Light” law with third parties and/or affiliates for such third parties’ and affiliates’ own direct marketing purposes. If you are a California resident and wish to obtain information about our compliance with this law, please e-mail us here or send us a letter to Purple Mickey Productions LLC, 25 East 21st Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10010 (Attention: Legal). Requests must include “California Privacy Rights Request” in the first line of the description and include your name, street address, city, state, and ZIP code. Please note that Purple Mickey Productions is not required to respond to requests made by means other than through the provided e-mail address or mail address.

9. Children.

The Service is intended for a general audience and not directed to children under thirteen (13) years of age. Purple Mickey Productions does not intend to collect personal information as defined by the U.S. Children’s Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) in a manner that is not permitted by COPPA. If you are a parent or guardian and believe Purple Mickey Productions has collected such information in a manner not permitted by COPPA, please e-mail us here or send us a letter to Purple Mickey Productions LLC, 25 East 21st Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10010 (Attention: Legal), and we will remove such data to the extent required by COPPA.

10. Data Security.

We take reasonable measures to help protect information about you from loss, theft, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. Nevertheless, transmission via the internet is not completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of your information collected through our Service.

11. International Transfer.

We are based in the U.S. and the information we and our Service Providers collect is governed by U.S. law. If you are accessing the Service from outside of the U.S., please be aware that information collected through the Service may be transferred to, processed, stored and used in the U.S. Data protection laws in the U.S. may be different from those of your country of residence. Your use of the Service or provision of any information therefore constitutes your consent to the transfer to and from, processing, usage, sharing and storage of your information, including Personal Information, in the U.S. as set forth in this Privacy Policy.

12. Changes to this Privacy Policy.

We reserve the right to revise and reissue this Privacy Policy at any time. Any changes will be effective immediately upon posting of the revised Privacy Policy. Your continued use of our Service indicates your consent to the Privacy Policy then posted. If the changes are material, we may provide you additional notice, to your e-mail address.

13. Contact Us.

If you have any questions or comments about this policy, please e-mail us here or send us a letter to Purple Mickey Productions LLC, 25 East 21st Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10010 (Attention: Legal).


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