It was reported in The Straits Times over the last two days that United States troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are using high-powered rifle sights inscribed with coded Bible verses. The religious nature of the inscriptions would appear to violate US military rules that specifically prohibit the proselytising of any religion in Iraq or Afghanistan. The rules were devised in order to quell criticism that the US was on a religious “crusade” in its war against Al-Qaeda, ABC News said.
The sights are made by Trijicon, a Michigan-based company that has a US$660 million multi-year contract to provide hundreds of thousands of units to the US military.
One of the inscriptions, “2COR4:6”, appearing in the same type font and size as the model number, is an apparent reference to 2 Corinthians 4:6 from the New Testament, which reads: “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.”
A Trijicon spokesman confirmed it adds the coded verses to the sights sold to the US military, adding that there was nothing wrong or illegal in doing so, ABC said. But Michael Weinstein, a lawyer and member of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said the use of the inscribed sights is a violation of federal law.
“It violates the Constitution; it violates a number of federal laws,” he told ABC. “It allows... insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they’re being shot by Jesus rifles.”
The US Army and Marine Corps both said their services were unaware of the biblical markings, ABC said. Weinstein said the inscriptions validated claims of “those who are calling this a crusade”.
“It’s literally pushing fundamentalist Christianity at the point of a gun against the people that we’re fighting. We’re emboldening an enemy,” he said.
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