WASHINGTON (AP) - A Michigan defense contractor will voluntarily stop stamping references to Bible verses on combat rifle sights made for the U.S. military, a major buyer of the company's gear.
In a statement released Thursday, Trijicon of Wixom, Mich., says it is also providing to the armed forces free of charge modification kits to remove the Scripture citations from the telescoping sights already in use. The Marine Corps has purchased more than 200,000 Trijicon sights and the Army has bought about 100,000.
The references to Bible passages raised concerns that the citations break a government rule that bars proselytizing by American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, which are predominantly Muslim countries.
A spokesman for U.S. Central Command initially said the Trijicon sights didn't violate the ban and compared the citations on the sights to the "In God We Trust" inscription printed on U.S. currency.
On Thursday, however, Army Gen. David Petraeus, Central Command's top officer, called the practice "disturbing."
"This is a serious concern to me and the other commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan," Petraeus told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
The inscriptions are not obvious and appear in raised lettering at the end of the stock number. Trijicon's rifle sights use tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, to create light and help shooters hit what they're aiming for.
Markings on the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight, which is standard issue to U.S. special operations forces, include "JN8:12," a reference to John 8:12: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, 'I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life,'" according to the King James version of the Bible.
The Trijicon Reflex sight is stamped with 2COR4:6, a reference to part of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians: "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," the King James version reads.
Photos posted on a Defense Department Web site show Iraqi forces training with rifles equipped with the inscribed sights.
The company's practice of putting Bible references on the sites began nearly 30 years ago by Trijicon's founder, Glyn Bindon, who was killed in a plane crash in 2003. His son Stephen, Trijicon's president, has continued the practice.
"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 said in the statement.
The company is also making the same offer to military in other countries that have purchased Trijicon's rifle sights.
An Army spokesman said Thursday the service was unaware of the coded biblical references until several days ago.
"It is not the policy of the Army or the Department of Defense to put religious references of any kind on its equipment," Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings said.
Prior to the Trijicon's statement, the Marine Corps said it planned to meet with the company to discuss future buys of rifle sights.
Associated Press writer Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.
With the numbers the govt buys, I can see the reason(s) for giving in, but it still doesn't make me happy. You can't meet payroll if you lose the majority of your sales.
I agree Plus it would be sad to lose another michigan company, Especially one that builds quality products. I dont think its that big of a deal. but we are living in a politically correct world with a crapton of liberals in power.
I saw word of the numbering and immediately wanted to go buy an ACOG. I then remembered that they don't offer mortgages on them...
Realistically, I see where they're coming from. If you want to train some young Islamic Iraqi guy how to use an M4 with an ACOG attached, you don't want him being bitter toward you because of Christian scripture on the scope. I personally don't care what the guy thinks from a gut feeling level but we do eventually have to leave this awful part of the world. At some point our training MUST yield troops that can defend their own government. We can't do that by infringing flagrantly on the most predominant religion of the land.
Part of me says that too much to compromise but a larger part of me wants to see our troops out of Hell and back home.
I don't think any less of Trjicon. Gotta keep the military contract to keep the buisiness going. I don't know the numbers but based on the price, I don't think they'd be nearly as profitable selling only to civilians. And the military has to remain neutral on the religious stuff for obvious reasons. And one more point, as a Christian it pisses me off that they put Bible references refering to "the light" to draw a comparison between the son of God and a rifle sight anyway.
*An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it.*
*Bailouts: From each according to his ability, to each according to his lack thereof.*
Remember the sniper quoating Scripture in "Saving Private Ryan".
Well so much for "Battle Hymn of the Republic".
Kind of puts me in mind of the revolt of British Troops in India when the Muslim Leaders spread the rumor about the paper cartridges being impregnated with Pork grease instead of paraphin. However I don't think these scriptural passages would keep the Muslim terrorists from using one if they could get their hands on one.
Psalm 12 verse 8: The wicked walk on every side when the vilest men are exalted.
Well, they lost any support I may have been able to give them. Principals should mean something. To cave in less than a week, is well, real weak.
Too bad. I thought they might make a stand, but alas, their real god, money, spoke to them and told them its okay to serve two masters.
__________________ A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that. Shane
Nemo me impune lacesset
We recall the case of the Shoshone war band which showed up complete with one 30-30 rifle per man the week after Pearl Harbor, and simply wanted to have the enemy pointed out to them. "We hear there's a war going on and we want to go fight it." Jeff Cooper
Location: I reside in southern Indiana, you can almost step out of my back door and be setting on Patoka Lake
Re: Trijicon Folds
If the Muslim want to be upset at something why don't they get upset about the school girl who brought a cell phone to school and got disciplined with 90 lashes i would think that would be more disturbing than a bible verse on a weapon. (but what do i know)
To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required.