Christian Rifles and Crusaders

January 20th, 2010

By Tom Carter

My list of the dumbest things I’ve heard of has gotten quite long over the years, and I’ve just made a new entry.  As I was making my daily scan of the Drudge Report, I came across a headline that I couldn’t pass up.  The Drudge link leads to an ABC News report, U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed With Secret ‘Jesus’ Bible Codes.

Seems that Trijicon, Inc. makes a specialized sight for military assault rifles.  The problem is that on each sight they inscribe a notation for a Bible verse.  It’s added to the end of the model number on the sight.   The notation on one sight is “2COR4:6,” which means Second Corinthians, Chapter 4, Verse 6.  It reads (KJV),

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Trijicon makes no secret of its corporate religious orientation.  One of the company’s published values is:

Morality: We believe that America is great when its people are good. This goodness has been based on biblical standards throughout our history and we will strive to follow those morals.

Military spokesmen say the military hadn’t been aware of the markings on the sights.  But apparently soldiers knew about it (naturally), and our enemies now know about it if they didn’t before.  The Islamist terrorists we’re fighting against, along with millions of other Muslims, have long maintained that what we’re doing is nothing less than a new crusade against Islam, and this revelation will reinforce that wacky view.

To make things worse, the Muslims we’re training and equipping in Iraq and Afghanistan with this piece of equipment now know about it, too.  We might do well to look back at the Sepoy Rebellion in India in 1857, where local troops engaged in a bloody revolt against the British because they believed that the cartridges they were issued were greased with fat from cows or pigs.  The former possibility offended Hindu troops, the latter Muslims.  How are the Muslim police and military we’re training going to react to using “Christian rifles” against other Muslims?

I don’t know what the government is going to do about this, but it would seem logical that they’ll have to stop using this equipment, along with any other items Trijicon may have marked with Bible notations, and replace it with clean equipment.  Since the company maintains, probably correctly, that there isn’t anything illegal about what they’ve done and it doesn’t violate their contracts, us taxpayers will probably have to pay.  And the cost will be in the high millions.

I don’t have anything against people who choose to believe in one form of religion or another.  However, I don’t want religion and government mixed together.  Under present circumstances, if we were to continue using equipment marked with Christian references, we might as well just have our soldiers wear white tunics with red crusaders’ crosses on front and back.

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19 Responses to “Christian Rifles and Crusaders”

  1. larry |

    Don’t the world have enough problems without this being an issue?
    Destroy the gun sights, destroy all our money, burn down all the churches and shoot all the Christians?
    Of course not!
    This notion that a gunsight will offend our enemies is pure BS especially when we are there to kill him if need be.

  2. Tom |

    Actually, the world does have enough problems without this kind of thing being an issue. It’s unfortunate that one defense contractor saw fit to promote its religious beliefs on equipment that it sold to the U.S. military.

    The issue is that this little kerfuffle could (and probably will) have a negative impact in the Muslim world among millions of people we aren’t trying to kill. We’ve worked hard for years to convince them that we aren’t conducting a religious war against Islam, and now this silliness. If you don’t think that can happen, just think back to the uproar caused by things like the publication of some cartoons, a fake Newsweek story about abuse of a Qur’an, etc.

    I said nothing at all — and didn’t even think about — destroying money, burning churches, and shooting Christians, but if that’s what you think needs to be done….

  3. larry |

    You’ll notice that my answer to my sarcasm was of course not. What needs to be done is for us all to have a little more backbone and not be so accommodating to those Muslim’s or anyone else that has chosen to be our enemies.
    You leave a distinct impression that you have no use for the Christian faith in any form. If that be the case you have my blessings as a Christian to believe or not believe but you got to admit that “In God we trust” is a part of our heritage. You will never see it completely eliminated.
    If a anti-Christian should discover during a fire fight that he has a “Jesus” rifle let him throw it down and find a club.

    John 3:16

  4. Brianna |

    I don’t think it’s really necessary to replace everything. Aside from the fact that the very people who will get annoyed about this are not the sort of people who will change their minds and forgive us even if we scrapped all of this equipment tomorrow, it would be incredibly expensive and completely pointless to throw out so much otherwise good equipment. Just issue an official apology and don’t buy any more of it. If people are still offended afterward, screw’em.

  5. Tom |

    Brianna, I’m afraid it’s not as easy as that. I agree with your “screw ’em” philosophy at a gut level, but the implications are potentially serious for U.S. foreign and defense policy. We’ve spent years trying to convince Muslims that we aren’t fighting against them for religious reasons, and this undermines that effort and plays into the hands of those who think we’re on a “crusade.” If you look back at all the other seemingly trivial incidents that have provoked uproars in the Muslim world, it’s not a leap to worry that this might be another one.

  6. Brianna |

    Tom, we’re talking about the people who call non-Muslim countries the “House of War.” It is official Islamic policy to think that if you’re not a Muslim, you’re against the Muslims. While most Muslims do not think this way, the people who hate us and are fighting us DO think this way. There is nothing we can do to change that. Nothing. We could burn all of this eqipment tomorrow and not change that. So frankly, why bother wasting the money on people whose minds won’t change anyway?

    And to tell the truth, in a way we ARE fighting them for religious reasons. Not because we hate their religion, are trying to convert them, or in the name of an alternate religion. But because the more seriously you take Islam, the more likely you are to fly planes into buildings and shoot up military bases. So again, if we can’t convince them that we don’t hate Islam anyway, if we can’t convince them we’re not fighting them in the name of Christianity anyway, if we can’t convince them we’re not trying to convert them anyway, then why waste time and money trying to appease them?

  7. Tom |

    I can’t argue with your logic, in that nothing we do is likely to change the minds of many Muslims. At the same time, we shouldn’t be poking them in the eye with a stick, which is what this amounts to. It’s like throwing gasoline on a fire that you’ve given up trying to bring under control.

    Regardless of the opinions of common folk like us, I strongly suspect the military is going to pull these sights out of the field and replace them. They may be kept in storage for future use if needed, but I don’t think they’ll be in places like Iraq and Afghanistan much longer.

    If I were involved, I’d also be checking other equipment manufactured by this company that’s sold (or that they want to sell) to the military. They can’t be trusted at this point.

  8. larry |

    I’m sure we can find a Chinese copy that will please our politically correct friends as well as putting the Trijicon sight company out of business. Trijicon is a small company that produces a really good product. To bad it can’t been judged according to its merits.

  9. Brianna |

    “At the same time, we shouldn’t be poking them in the eye with a stick, which is what this amounts to.”

    Well actually, it’s more like they accidentally gave people who like to whine an excuse to whine. Then again, people who like to whine will always find an excuse to whine, so again, who cares.

    Issue an official apology and stop buying Trijicon’s stuff unless they agree to stop putting bible verses on it. If someone is rational, that should be enough to mollify them. If someone is not rational (which radical Islam tends to do to people), then they’re not worth trying to appease.

  10. Brian Bagent |

    In consideration that most Arabs are illiterate in Arabic, let alone English, I’m not really sure what the problem is here. I imagine that the Roman alphabet is as indecipherable to them as the Arabic one is to us. The only ones who might be able to read and understand the meaning are the ones least likely to take issue with it in the first place.

    As for the rest of them, Trijicon could put the moon and star on their sights and the Arab world would still have a problem with them.

  11. Tom |

    Update: New Zealand is removing the biblical references from equipment it bought from Trijicon and instructing the company to not put such things on future equipment New Zealand buys from them. U.S. military officials have said that the Bible notations don’t break a government rule that bars proselytizing by American troops and that they won’t stop using the tens of thousands of telescoping sights that have already been bought.

    We’ll see.

  12. Tom |

    Brian, I don’t know if “most” Arabs are illiterate; no doubt many are. But that’s really irrelevant. The leaders, planners, and many of the operatives prosecuting their war against the U.S. and the West are generally highly educated university graduates, many of them trained in the U.S. and Europe. They transmit their ideology to the Muslim masses, and many people believe what they say. As one example among very many, the author Salman Rushdie has been under a serious Islamist death threat for much of his life. It’s certain that few Muslims, including the fanatic who may some day assassinate him, have read The Satanic Verses, the novel that earned him a death fatwa.

  13. Tom |

    Here’s today’s Al Jazeera report about Christian references on weapons being used in Afghanistan. This is just the beginning, folks.

  14. Brian Bagent |

    To put it more succinctly, do you think that this is going to make any difference at all to them? Do they not already view this as Holy War? Do they not already view us as infidels? Is this going to make it easier to recruit new members into this war? Is it going to inspire more terrorist attacks on us?

    So far, none of the references I’ve read are anything more than innocuous, and could basically be summed as “God is good, and we are blessed by Him.”

    I had Trijicon night sights on my Browning Hi Power and IMI (Israeli Military Industries) night sights on my Sig/Sauer P-220 because they were and are the best in the world. This changes absolutely nothing with what we are doing over there.

    Is the US government going to not renew a contract over this? Is it really going to ultimately substitute an inferior product so as not to incite hatred amongst people that already hate us?

  15. Tom |

    It’s not that this is going to change their minds. They’re not rational to begin with. However, having weapons components marked with biblical references gives them another propaganda tool to incite the masses of Muslims, many of whom will take it seriously. What sense does it make to do that?

    In any case, the U.S. military should not be using equipment marked with religious references. A case can probably be made that it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and it certainly intrudes on people who don’t subscribe to that particular form of belief.

    Should Jewish soldiers now be entitled to equipment marked with the Star of David? Should Muslim soldiers have equipment marked with a crescent moon and star? Should Hindu soldiers have equipment stamped with Aum or swastika symbols? Should Rastafarians be able to demand weapons stamped with the outline of a marijuana plant? Should soldiers who are atheists be issued weapons without religious markings? All of these are established belief systems, and their adherents believe sincerely. Why would the state favor one group over another?

    From what I know, you’re right that the Trijicon equipment is the best, and we should keep using it. However, we must not permit contractors to sneak symbols representing their personal religious beliefs onto military equipment. My preference would be to make them bear the cost of replacing it, but I doubt we can do that. So, yes, I suppose it’s going to cost us.

  16. Lisa |

    On another note, we are not fighting a religious war, they are. To focus on some obscure biblical markings that one company has put on weapons sights could send a message that a religious war is one we are fighting. I like the analogy that the CENTCOM CDR provided. Should we remake all of our dollar bills eliminating “In GOD we Trust”?

  17. Brian |

    Tom, you’ve studied enough history to understand why the 1st amendment was included, and it doesn’t have anything at all to do with what is going on with Trijicon and our military. There was a day when people were imprisoned for their political or religious beliefs and practices. The 1st amendment prohibits that, and that alone.

    What Trijicon and the military have done has created no impositions on anyone. Inclusion of biblical references on weapons sights is in no way a violation of the 1st amendment. Only a perverted view of Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury church might draw that conclusion. I’m not interested in what the punditry or the courts have to say on it. As Mr. Bumble said, “If that’s what the law says, then the law is a ass!”

  18. Tom |

    Update: Trijicon has announced that they will stop putting Bible references on military equipment, and they are going to provide the military, free of charge, kits to remove the markings from equipment already in the field.

    Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of Central Command, called the practice “disturbing.” He said, “This is a serious concern to me and the other commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

  19. Brianna |

    Well, that should appease the rational people.

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