Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are
inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the United States
military by a Michigan company, an ABC News investigation has found.
The sights are used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the
training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers. The maker of the sights,
Trijicon, has a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to
800,000 sights to the Marine Corps, and additional contracts to provide
sights to the U.S. Army.
U.S. military rules specifically prohibit the proselytizing of any
religion in Iraq or Afghanistan and were drawn up in order to prevent
criticism that the U.S. was embarked on a religious "Crusade" in its war
against al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents.
One of the citations on the gun sights, 2COR4:6, is an apparent
reference to Second Corinthians 4:6 of the New Testament, which reads:
"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined
in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in
the face of Jesus Christ."
Other references include citations from the books of Revelation,
Matthew and John dealing with Jesus as "the light of the world." John
8:12, referred to on the gun sights as JN8:12, reads, "Whoever follows
me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Trijicon confirmed to ABCNews.com that it adds the biblical codes to the
sights sold to the U.S. military. Tom Munson, director of sales and
marketing for Trijicon, which is based in Wixom, Michigan, said the
inscriptions "have always been there" and said there was nothing wrong
or illegal with adding them. Munson said the issue was being raised by a
group that is "not Christian." The company has said the practice began
under its founder, Glyn Bindon, a devout Christian from South Africa who
was killed in a 2003 plane crash.
'It violates the Constitution'
The company's vision is described on its Web site: "Guided by our
values, we endeavor to have our products used wherever precision aiming
solutions are required to protect individual freedom."
"We believe that America is great when its people are good," says the
Web site. "This goodness has been based on Biblical standards throughout
our history, and we will strive to follow those morals."
Spokespeople for the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps both said their
services were unaware of the biblical markings. They said officials were
discussing what steps, if any, to take in the wake of the ABCNews.com
report. It is not known how many Trijicon sights are currently in use by
the U.S. military.
The biblical references appear in the same type font and size as the
model numbers on the company's Advanced Combat Optical Guides, called
A photo on a Department of Defense Web site shows Iraqi soldiers being
trained by U.S. troops with a rifle equipped with the bible-coded
"It's wrong, it violates the Constitution, it violates a number of
federal laws," said Michael "Mikey" Weinstein of the Military Religious
Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group that seeks to preserve the
separation of church and state in the military.
'Firearms of Jesus Christ'
"It allows the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al Qaeda and the
insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they're being shot by Jesus
rifles," he said.
Weinstein, an attorney and former Air Force officer, said many members
of his group who currently serve in the military have complained about
the markings on the sights. He also claims they've told him that
commanders have referred to weapons with the sights as "spiritually
transformed firearm[s] of Jesus Christ."
He said coded biblical inscriptions play into the hands of "those who
are calling this a Crusade."
According to a government contracting watchdog group, fedspending.org,
Trijicon had more than $100 million in government contracts in fiscal
year 2008. The Michigan company won a $33 million Pentagon contract in
July, 2009 for a new machine gun optic, according to Defense Industry
Daily. The company's earnings from the U.S. military jumped
significantly after 2005, when it won a $660 million long-term contract
to supply the Marine Corps with sights.
"This is probably the best example of violation of the separation of
church and state in this country," said Weinstein. "It's literally
pushing fundamentalist Christianity at the point of a gun against the
people that we're fighting. We're emboldening an enemy."