It turns out, the military has for years been buying sights and guns from a Michigan manufacturer which contain Biblical references — at what looks like the tail end of the serial number, you’ll find a code that looks something like JN8:12 (Gospel of John, chapter 8, verse 12: “Then Jesus said again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life”). You can get a good look at the sights and scopes here.
Now, you might say, “Our soliders need guns and the guns need sights and these sights work. So what?” The “so what” is that our enemies very much want to gain political support in their own countries and constituencies to say that America is guilty of making war on Islam. So when we have references to Christian gospel verses literaly emblazoned on our guns, the claim that we are forcing Christianity on Muslims literally at gunpoint gains at least some cachet. After all, we’ve got Christianity literally on our guns. Stipulated that these may well be the best gunsights ever made by anyone. We shouldn’t be handing our enemies ammunition for propaganda even if we have a much better system for delivering a more traditional kind of ammunition than they do.
The company’s defense, by the way, is that they’ve been doing this for years. To that, I say, “So what?” If it’s been years since I killed anyone, I’m still a murderer, and just because the manufacturer has been violating government procurement regulations for years does not mean that it’s an okay thing to do. Especially when the political stakes are as high as they are. Just a day or so ago, the Taliban staged an open attack on the streets of Kabul (link has video and audio that auto-starts, shame on you, BBC). It’s becoming popular to think that we have no interests in Afghanistan, but I really don’t want to see those bastards win and re-take the country. This is the sort of thing that they can use to gain new recruits and new strength.
Just as I call for a secular attitude of the government towards religious activities at home, we should have a military that uses secular weapons when it makes war. I hadn’t ever particularly thought that this might be an issue, but frankly, I think it’s bullshit. We shouldn’t be in the business of shooting people with Jesus guns.
UPDATE (1/22/2010): Trijicon has issued a statement indicating that it will stop this. Good.