Prepare yourself for the craziness of the day. ABC News’ website featured a story Monday in which we learn that a Michigan-based weapons manufacturer, Trijicon, provided the U.S. Military with rifle sights inscribed with cryptic scripture references.

The references are imprinted on the scopes in the same font as the serial number and are abbreviated to look coded such as, “2COR4:6” or “JN8:12.” And, to save you the “sword drill,” those passages read:

“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.” And, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” respectively.

Now, before we leap into how embarrassing this is for those of us who are Christians, never mind that much smaller group of us that are Christian pacifists, we should point out that this is, of course, illegal.

As the ABC News article points out, “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.”

The manufacturer of the sights has not tried to deny the existence of these references, rather their website defends them by saying, “We believe that America is great when its people are good…This goodness has been based on Biblical standards throughout our history, and we will strive to follow those morals.”

So, this is crazy on two fronts; one, the illegality of it and, two, the horrifying misuse of scripture. Even our friends over at Evangel got in on the criticism with a post that links to the article followed by a series of comments in which there is almost universal agreement that this does not look great for Christians.

By my count this makes two well-publicized bad representations of believers in just under a week. Bummer.

Let’s end this thing by quoting a commenter called “R Hampton” over at Evangel who, I think, excellently puts this into perspective. He notes, “For those who defend the manufacturer and the military, would your reaction be different if this was stamped on the arms instead: ‘You shall not kill‘?”

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Jonathan D. Fitzgerald

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