Maker of ‘Jesus Rifles’ to Remove Biblical References
January 22, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Earlier in the week, ABC News reported that a military supplier of high-powered rifle scopes for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan had been stamping the scopes with Biblical references for decades. The revelation led to fears that Muslim extremists would become emboldened by the use of “Jesus rifles” against them, giving the appearance of a U.S. military holy crusade. Now, the Michigan-based weapons manufacturer announced that it would discontinue its practice of stamping its scopes with Biblical references and will send modification kits to soldiers for removal of the engravings.
The military contractor Trijicon released a statement in response to growing criticism that the Jesus Rifle broke military rules against proselytising in the predominantly Muslim countries of Afghanistan and Iraq and also violated the Constitution. There was also the very real concern, by commanders in the field, that the knowledge of the Jesus Rifles would put soldiers’ lives at increased risk.
The inscriptions, included JN8:12, referring to John 8:12 from the books of revelations, which reads: “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
“Trijicon has proudly served the US military for more than two decades, and our decision to offer to voluntarily remove these references is both prudent and appropriate,” said the firm, in a statement released on Friday.
Trijicon’s high-powered rifle sights have been engraved with coded references to passages from the New Testament and the books of Revelation for many years, but the military claims it had just learned of the company’s practice.
The Jesus scopes have also been sold to Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
Gen Petraeus, head of the US Central Command, said: “Cultural and religious sensitivities are important considerations in the conduct of military operations.”
The Christian military contractor plans to to remove the Biblical inscriptions on all products not yet shipped to the U.S. military and pledged that all future procurements from the department of defense are manufactured without the scripture references.