Uhm. Not so much.
It must have seemed like a good idea at the time I suppose. I mean when you look at any kind of armament you can’t help but notice all kinds of obscure alphanumeric codes that don’t usually mean anything to the end user and certainly don’t affect the effectiveness of said weaponry. So the evangelical Christian owners of Trijicon Inc. probably thought what heck! Why not emboss meaningful alphanumeric codes onto the advanced telescopic sites they sold? The sites, widely used by the US armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as by the IDF in Israel contained the following codes: “JN8:12,” a reference to John 8:12 which describes Jesus as the “light of the world” – and “2COR4:6,” a reference to part of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians. They were probably thinking that these codes were barely legible! What harm could it do?
Despite the fact that the company had been inscribing their gun sights in this way since 1995, no one noticed until it was brought to light by former U.S. air force officer, Michael Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Reactions? Plenty!
“The Muslim Public Affairs Council in Washington said the biblical references violated the nationâ€™s values and would stoke the fires of extremists who accuse the United States of carrying out a religious crusade in Asia and the Middle East… In a letter early Thursday to President Obama, the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, said the gun sights â€œclearly violate a government rule prohibiting proselytizingâ€ and called the practice â€œonly the latest in a long line of violations of the boundaries between religion and government within the military.â€ … In Afghanistan, the Al Jazeera news service reported that sights with the Christian references had been distributed to some Afghan soldiers and that this would provide the Taliban with a propaganda coup.
And in Israel?
The IDF Rabbinate told Arutz Sheva that the codes do not violate Jewish law but that it is preferable to remove them because of the “sensitivity” regarding their appearance on weapons used by the army of the Jewish State. The IDF said it was unaware of the codes until the issue was raised in the United States.
Anyhow, Trijicon has sent out kits to remove the offending code and has promised not to do that ever again. Oh those whacky Christians. What will they think of next?