Friday, January 22, 2010

The Jesus rifle?

This is one of those rare stories that has the effect of curdling the probligo's morning plate of porridge.

The US military is reconsidering its contract with a company hired to supply its forces with rifle sights after it was found that thousands of the devices were inscribed with codes which appear to refer to verses from the Bible.

Different versions of Trijicon's Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight are used by the US Special Operations Forces, the US Marine Corps and the US Army.

The BBC reports that Britain's Ministry of Defence has ordered 480 of the gunsights for use by troops in Afghanistan. The ministry says that other versions of the ACOG are "widely in service."

Trijicon admitted to ABC News that the codes were deliberately added to the sights. Spokesman Tom Munson said the inscriptions "have always been there" and said the company has done nothing wrong or illegal by adding them.

The company said the practice started under its Christian founder, Glyn Bindon.

Quite frankly, I don't particularly care how "the practice started". At the same time, I fail to see how any Christian can stand by and allow let alone support the idea. OK, so that is based on my meagre understanding and knowledge of Christian beliefs. But after listening to the hatred, the rhetoric, and the anti-Islam propaganda for the past five years I can not understand why such a move can be made.

Why is shouting "Allah Akhbar!" as you press the detonator on your bomb any different from carrying religious symbolism on your weapons?

Anyway, there is common sense at hand.
Going to war in Afghanistan with Biblical citations stamped on their weapons is not appropriate for New Zealand soldiers, the Defence Force says.

Biblical citations had been found on weapon sights used by New Zealand troops in Afghanistan but the Defence Force said they would be removed.


The American manufacturer would be told not to put the inscriptions on further orders and the letters would be removed from existing gun sights.

Major Dunne said the Defence Force had about 260 of the company's gun sights, which were first bought in 2004, and soldiers would continue using them because they were the best of their kind.

The American manufacturer, Trijicon, said the American military had been a customer since 1995 and the company had never received any complaints about the scripture citations.

"We don't publicise this," Tom Munson, Trijicon's director of sales and marketing, told the American media.

"It's not something we make a big deal out of. But when asked, we say, 'Yes, it's there'," he said.

Personally, I can think of nothing more hypocritical than the use of religious symbolism in the cause of war. Yes, both sides are doing it. It does not matter which side. It is (in my opinion) a wrong thing.

And like drugs in baseball, the fact that "everyone is doing it" does not make it right.

1 comment:

T. F. Stern said...

I'd have called this a non issue, at least until the press made a big story out of it. My guess would be that most folks had never heard of the type of scope, much less the biblical reference.

I took a look at the "horrible" religious symbol, nothing of the sort; just some more numbers and letters added to another wise meaningless alphnumeric code.

If the soldier wished to believe it gave the scope extra meaning, fine, if not fine. As you stated, we all fight for various reasons, one is that our side is right.