Keeping our faith in our sights
UPDATE: The manufacturer is now going to remove the Bible verses from the gun sights.
ABC Nightline News broke an unsettling story this weekend– apparently, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps have been outfitting their troops with high-powered rifle sights that bear Biblical inscriptions.
When asked about it, the military seemed nonchalant. A military spokesman yesterday said, “This situation is not unlike the situation with U.S. currency… Are we going to stop using money because the bills have ‘In God We Trust’ on them? As long as the sights meet the combat needs of troops, they’ll continue to be used.”
Seems to me that’s a faulty analogy which doesn’t account for the fact that the purpose of the gun, unlike a dollar bill, is to inflict bodily harm upon another human being.
While there has been a slight change of tone since then— a separate military spokesperson said, “We are aware of the issue and are concerned with how this may be perceived”– the situation still gives me pause.
Obviously Trijicon, Inc., the firm producing the rifle sights, should be allowed to put whatever inscription on their product they like. But that the U.S. Armed Forces used taxpayer dollars to pay for these sights is troubling, not only from a constitutional perspective, but especially from a religious perspective.
It sounds like these inscriptions weren’t just innocuous decorations on firearms. Michael Weinstein, a former Air Force attorney now with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said that members of his group on active duty spoke of commanders who referred to weapons with the sights as “spiritually transformed firearms of Jesus Christ.”
Regardless of one’s views on the morality of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, I think we can all agree that God’s messages of love and hope for the world are a bad fit for a tool used to aim a rifle at another human being.
Sign Faithful America’s petition to make your voice heard on this abuse of faith.