US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Onward Christian soldiers?

Meinrad Scherer-Emunds | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

A Michigan arms manufacturer has been in the news after negative publicity forced the company "to voluntarily stop putting references to scripture on all products manufactured for the U.S. military" (see company press release).

Say what? Apparently, the company, Trijicon, for many years has incorporated scripture verses such as JN8:12 and 2COR4:6 into its model numbers, and has been embossing them onto gun scopes and aiming systems it has sold to the army. Soldiers battling Islamist terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan have been taking aim at their targets with telescopic rifle sights that harvest some extra secret firepower by invoking Jesus saying, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). 

The Christian Science Monitor quotes critics as saying. "The US is already struggling against the image of a crusade in the Middle East, and the idea of US soldiers using what some call a 'Jesus gun' to shoot at Islamic jihadists ultimately jeopardizes US servicemen." Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Monitor: “One of the main recruiting tools for anti-American forces is the claim that America is engaged in a war on Islam, and this kind of incident feeds directly into that talking point.”

Most of the criticism has centered on the Army violating the separation of church and state by buying weapon parts that include biblical references. No argument here, but even if it didn't egregiously violate that separation, I can't help but think that it borders on blasphemy to invoke the "Light of the World"--the one with that strange belief that we should love our enemies and that peacemakers are to be blessed--on any parts of a gun.