NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The manufacturer of high-powered rifle sights provided to the U.S. military has offered to stop inscribing Scripture references on its products after an ABC News investigative report.
The Michigan-based Trijicon, Inc. said Jan. 21 that it has stopped including references to Bible verses on all products manufactured for the U.S. military and will provide modification kits to the Pentagon for the removal of references on products already deployed.
Trijicon has a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps and additional contracts to provide sights to the Army, ABC News said. The biblical references appear in the same type font and size as the model numbers on the company’s Advanced Combat Optical Guides.
ABC News reported that one inscription, 2COR4:6, refers to 2 Corinthians 4:6, which says, “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.”
Another reference was JN8:12, or John 8:12, which says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Other inscriptions referred to verses in Matthew and Revelation, ABC News said.
Spokesmen for the military said they were unaware of the inscriptions until the Jan. 18 report, which was spurred by a complaint from Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which seeks a fierce separation of church and state in the military. Weinstein in the past sought to halt proselytizing in the Air Force.
“It allows the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al-Qaida and the insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they’re being shot by Jesus rifles,” Weinstein said in the ABC News report, adding that the inscriptions play into the hands of “those who are calling this a Crusade.”
A Trijicon spokesman said the inscriptions were initiated by the company’s founder, Glyn Bindon, a devout Christian from South Africa who was killed in a 2003 plane crash. Trijicon says on its website, “We believe that America is great when its people are good. This goodness has been based on biblical standards throughout our history, and we strive to follow those morals.”
“Trijicon has proudly served the U.S. military for more than two decades, and our decision to offer to voluntarily remove these references is both prudent and appropriate,” Stephen Bindon, Trijicon’s president, said. “We want to thank the Department of Defense for the opportunity to work with them and will move as quickly as possible to provide the modification kits for deployment overseas.”
A Pentagon spokesman said the Department of Defense applauded the voluntary actions announced by Trijicon.
Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Erin Roach.