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Published: Tuesday, 1/26/2010

Holy war

NATIONS in conflict often have a hard time remembering what's sacred. The hope that those who facilitate our wars will be scrupulous about not crossing certain lines isn't borne out by history or practice.

One of the most egregious examples of disrespecting what many consider sacred can be found in an unusual place - the gun sights of rifles used by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For years, Trijicon, a Michigan manufacturer and supplier of gun sights, has inscribed biblical citations on every one it produces. U.S. Marines in Muslim countries are killing enemy combatants with weapons coded with references to New Testament books of Matthew, John, Second Corinthians, and Revelation. Is there any wonder some Muslims believe the United States is leading a crusade against Islam?

To the uninformed, the numerical citations appear to be part of the weapon's serial number. On some gun sights, for instance, is etched 2COR4:6, the citation for Second Corinthians 4:6, "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." Other sights are stamped with JN8:12, for the Gospel of John 8:12.

Trijicon's $660 million contract with the military covers 800,000 gun scopes. After ABC News reported the "Bible codes" recently, Trijicon said it would send "removal kits" for the verses. There is no consensus within the military yet that the contractor has done anything inappropriate. It is an old practice that has just come to light.

Trijicon's late founder may have been a Christian, but associating New Testament verses with American violence is a gimmick that insults Christians, non-Christians, and non-believers alike.

Transforming military rifles into "Jesus guns" is an outrageous provocation. If Trijicon insists on citing biblical verses, perhaps it should refer to the one about the 30 pieces of silver Judas received to betray Christ.



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