U.S. Military Switching to Secular Rifles

This post is courtesy of Ron Gold.

Sanity has triumphed in the U.S. military, as they have pressured the company behind “Jesus Rifles” to only make normal rifle scopes from now on:

Bowing to Pentagon concerns and an international outcry, a Michigan arms company said Thursday that it would immediately stop embossing references to New Testament Scriptures on rifle sights it sells the military.

The company, Trijicon Inc., has multimillion-dollar contracts with the Pentagon for advanced telescopic sights that are widely used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trijicon also said it would provide the Pentagon with 100 free kits to use for removing the lettering on existing weapons.

For years, the company acknowledged, it has put small scriptural references near the model numbers on some products, a practice started by its founder, who was a Christian.

The references, like JN8:12 and 2COR4:6, referring to passages in the Gospel of John and in Second Corinthians, had not been widely noticed or debated until an ABC News report this week. Scopes with biblical references were also sold to the Australian, New Zealand and British militaries.

Obviously, it’s not smart for the U.S. military to shoot at Islamic militants with Christian-themed guns.  Unless, that is, their goal is to start a new Crusade or give extremists some extra motivation for their next suicide bombing.

This controversy had been growing throughout the week, and Trijicon was widely condemned from both sides of the political spectrum (though notably, Stephen Colbert came to their defense).

The military claimed they were unaware of the coded Bible passages until very recently.  While this is possible, no one should have been surprised by the revelation, since the company never disguised their Christian roots.  Indeed, one of Trijicon’s values statements is:

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.

Considering how religious the company is, they can’t be happy about having to eliminate their beloved tradition of inserting secret Bible references.  But I suppose with a $660 million contract with the Marines on the line, they have some incentive to sacrifice.

Although I’d prefer the military to find a different company for this contract, I’m just happy to see some progress.  It’s comforting to know that the next time a soldier takes a shot at a Muslim extremist, it will be from a secular rifle.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    To appease the concerned Christians over not having the NT scriptures on the rifles, perhaps they could get the bullets made with little images of Jesus on the metal projectile. That way they can pump people full of Jesus during combat. I’m sure the Muslim world would love that.

    /kidding

  • Revyloution

    I wish I could get my hands on a box of those sights. They would be worth a mint at collectors shows.

    Hemant, I know your not a big shooter, but the ACOG is just an amazing piece of eqiupment. It’s head and shoulders above the aimpoint or the EOtech.

  • Parse

    My inner cynic says that they’re just going to do one of three things:
    – Move the quote to a less visible spot on the sight – perhaps somewhere that you can only access by disassembling it.
    – Change the message to something generic and evangelical.
    – Reach a new arrangement in about six months to restore the messages or something similar.

  • Claudia

    Am I the only one that finds this statement:

    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.

    to be just a tad hilarious coming from a company that makes telescopic lenses used to, you know, kill people?

    I guess it could be worse, they could be saying that the 10 Commandments should be our moral guide and then I’d die from loling.

  • muggle

    Claudia, click on the link to Colbert. I think that was rather the point he was making. His weapons were hilarious. Hand grebible!!! LOL!

    I’ll take this much of a victory.

    (Holy fuck, Hemant. Last night, the site blocked me. Now it’s jumping when I type for the first inch or so at the left margin — so, everyone please excuse any typos. Either that or someone lobbed a hand grebible at my screen!)

  • http://logofveritas.blogspot.com Veritas

    These guys got spanked publicly. It’s hard for any military to switch tacks mid-contract, and as Revyloution has said, the ACOG is second to none in its type.

  • http://crumbleincromwell.blogspot.com/ Chris Abercrombie

    Man, when the NZ public found out about this they were pissed!

  • http://dadtheist.blogspot.com/ Stephen

    I love the smell of reason in the morning (afternoon).

    Makes me feel a little more proud of my defense of the Constitution.

  • http://3harpiesltd.org/ocb Judith Bandsma

    What’s next? Ammunition makers following the lead of the British in India and coating the bullets with pork fat?

  • Siamang

    What are the odds that now the sights will be prayed over, splashed with holy water, anointed with sacred oils, given a blessing and stored at night in boxes laid out on the warehouse floor in the shape of the Holy Cross?

    There’s lots more ways to invoke the magic witchdoctor spells than just printing on them with writing.

  • Hazor

    @Claudia: My thoughts as well. At the Southern Baptist mega-church I attended as a teenager, the military was praised above all but Jesus himself, and it perplexes me as to how that follows from Jesus’ teachings of peace and love and compassion.

  • Miko

    Ah sanity, because the only thing wrong with U.S. war policy was the abbreviations hidden in the serial numbers of the rifles.

  • Badger3k

    Now the Christian Theocrats will just go on to say that all these deaths in the war will be caused by secularism. Either that, or anything bad that happens now will be blamed on removing God from the military.

  • Stephen P

    Sanity has triumphed in the U.S. military …

    I wish. I fear it is more a case of “sanity has recovered a small amount of lost ground on one front.”

  • Eliza

    Hazor wrote:

    At the Southern Baptist mega-church I attended as a teenager, the military was praised above all but Jesus himself, and it perplexes me as to how that follows from Jesus’ teachings of peace and love and compassion.

    Even in the gospels Jesus’s teachings are not all sweetness & light, of course. See Matthew 10:34:

    Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

    (Also Luke 12:51-53, but that goes on to explain he’s come to sow division within families.)

    But the gospels are only to set the stage. Sad to say, but those who believe in the second coming seem to think that the book of Revelation supercedes all of the other “teachings” (except, of course, those they want to cherry pick out for their particular beliefs). In Revelation, it’s clear that being on Jesus’s “side” means waging battle. See, for example, Revelation 19:11-21:

    Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

    Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

    This type of passage is what sustains the vision of a fierce Jesus who wants the righteous & “pure” to take up arms for him. Scary to think that this is what motivates some of our Christian soldiers.

  • Durr Hurr

    “We believe that America is great when its people are good.”

    It’s hard to disagree with that no matter what your beliefs or non-beliefs are. :D

    “This goodness has been based on biblical standards throughout our history….”

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! :( :(

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

    “…and we will strive to follow those morals”

    Such as…manufacturing weapon accessories which are used to kill all non-believers!

    Awesome City!

    The hilarity, and the horror, of fundamentalist Christian delusion never ceases.

  • http://veilofdeceit.blogspot.com DevinWL

    Im with Revyloution, the ACOG is an amazing piece of equipment and simply the best! I have Trijicon night sights on my Glock 23! But I also own like 20 Bibles so it’s no more offensive than that but our military??? Wow…

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