January 21, 2010

“Jesus Guns” issued to British troops

by David Masters

British soldiers on the front line in Afghanistan will be issued with rifle sights inscribed with Biblical references, it has emerged.

The rifle sights, manufactured by US-based Trijicon, are marked with shorthand for Bible verses, including “JN8:12” and “2COR4:6”, referring to verses in the books of John and 2 Corinthians.

US and British troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq already use the inscribed advanced optical combat gunsights (ACOGs), and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) recently placed an order for 480 more.

The MoD claimed is was unaware of the significance of the inscriptions when it placed the order, and said it is in talks with Trijicon because the references could cause offence.

The subtle inscriptions appear in raised lettering at the end of the ACOGs’ stock number.

John 8:12, one of the references cited on the ACOGs, reads: “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.”

Other verses inscribed on the rifles also refer to God’s light shining in the darkness.

The issue of the Bible verse markings was first raised in the US, when the US Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) received an email from a Muslim soldier.

“Many soldiers know of them and are very confused as to why they are there and what it is supposed to mean,” the email reads.

“Everyone is worried that if they were captured in combat that the enemy would use the Bible quotes against them in captivity or some other form of propaganda.”

Defence chiefs in New Zealand and the US have said the markings are inappropriate for equipment used by soldiers.

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