Trijicon biblical verses controversy
The Trijicon biblical verses controversy, known by the sobriquet Jesus rifles, refers to the stamping of Bible verse references (e.g. Rev21:23) onto telescopic sights for rifles manufactured by Trijicon, which bear religious inscriptions. Users and purchasers of the equipment– which included the United States Army and Marine Corps and military units around the world– were unaware of the inscriptions. Upon discovery of the practice in 2010, controversy erupted across religious and political spectra regarding inappropriate and sacrilegious aspects.
ABC News report
On 18 January 2010, ABC News reported Trijicon was placing references to verses in the Bible in the serial numbers of sights sold to the United States Armed Forces. (The book chapter:verse cites were appended to the model designation, see photo.) The ABC News story was initiated by Michael L. Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, after being alerted to the practice by multiple sources including active duty servicemembers.
Tom Munson, director of sales and marketing for Trijicon, said the practice of including the references was started in 1981 by the company's founder, devout Christian Glyn Bindon, who died in a 2003 plane crash.
A spokesman for United States Central Command, which manages military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, opined the inscribed sights do not violate the military's self-imposed ban on proselytizing because there is no effort to distribute the equipment beyond the US troops who use them.
"This situation is not unlike the situation with U.S. currency", said the spokesman, Air Force Maj. John Redfield. "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".
On 20 January 2010 the BBC reported that the British Ministry of Defence, which had—when unaware of the issue—recently purchased 480 Trijicon sights for use in Afghanistan, appreciated that the markings could cause offense, and had taken the matter up with the company.
As news of the inscriptions surfaced, further armed forces became aware of controversial practice. The New Zealand Special Air Service had purchased 260 of the scopes in 2004 and at the time was also unaware of the practice. The New Zealand SAS confirmed they will not stop using the sights as they are considered the best in the world. A New Zealand defence force spokesman was quoted as saying "We deem them to be inappropriate", and the NZ Prime Minister, John Key said the government was not aware of the inscriptions when the equipment was purchased, and "We are in discussions with the company in the United States who will ensure the inscriptions are removed, and we wouldn't want them on future sights".
End of practice for government contracts
On 22 January 2010, Trijicon announced it would stop the practice of engraving Biblical references on products sold to the government. It also offered to provide modification kits for the purpose of removing such engravings on sights already produced and sold to the military. In a statement, the company said it was both "prudent and appropriate" to remove the engravings. Trijicon's consumer products are still engraved with Biblical references in accordance with company tradition.
The Trijicon serial numbers in question were based off verses relating to illumination. The book chapter:verse references are found appended to the model designations.
|ACOG||ACOG4X32JN8:12||John 8:12||When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life".|||
|AccuPin||BW50G-BL PSA91:5||Psalms 91:5||Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day.|||
|Reflex II||REFLEX1X242COR4:6||2 Corinthians 4:6||For it is the God who said, 'Let your light shine out of darkness' who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in Jesus Christ.|||
|RMR||RM01 2PE1:19||2 Peter 1:19||And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.|||
|Trijicon TA11F||ACOG3.5X35MT5:16||Matthew 5:16||In the same way, let your light so shine before other, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.|||
|AccuPoint||RXnn REV21:23||Revelation 21:23||And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.|||
|MCOG||MS07 1Th5:5||1 Thessalonians 5:5||You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.|||
|RX 30||TX42 IS60:1||Isaiah 60:1||Arise! Shine! For your light arrives! The splendor of the Lord shines on you!|||
|ACOG||ACOG6X 48PSA27:1||Psalms 27:1||The Lord is my light and my salvation/whom shall I fear?/The Lord is the stronghold of my life/of whom shall I be afraid?|||
- "U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed With Secret 'Jesus' Bible Codes". ABC News. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- Eckholm, Erik (2010-01-22). "Firm to Remove Bible References From Gun Sights". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
- "Gunsights' biblical references concern US and UK forces". BBC News. 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- Byrd, Don (2010-01-18). "Truly Disturbing". Church and State. Washington, DC: Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
- Gaddy, Rev. Dr. C. Welton; Geller, Ari (2010-01-18). "Statement on The Placement of Bible Verses on U.S. Military Weapons". Protecting Faith and Freedom. Washington, DC: Interfaith Alliance. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
- Lundin, Leigh (2010-01-23). "Guns and Roses". Jesus Rifles. Criminal Brief. Retrieved 2010-01-24.
- "Bible References On Military Scopes Made By Michigan Company Ruffle Feathers". cbs13.com. 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "NZ soldiers in Afghanistan to keep using 'Jesus scopes'". National. NZ Herald News. 2010-01-21. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- Associated Press, Wellington reported in South China Morning Post 22-10-09
- "US firm to remove Biblical references on guns". BBC News. 22 January 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
- Trijicon, Inc. General F.A.Q.'s
- "Trijicon’s Subtle Christian Messages « AccurateShooter.com Bulletin". Accurateshooter.wordpress.com. 2010-01-15. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- Trijicon: No more Bible references on scopes