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January 22, 2010
Bible Verses on Rifle Sights?

What a misbegotten ploy it was for Trijicon Inc., a Michigan weapons contractor, to cast Bible verse numbers onto the sights of rifles U.S. forces are using in Afghanistan and Iraq -- or anywhere.

ABC News' "Nightline" broke this story on Jan. 18 and Trijicon says, according to Beliefnet, it "will move as quickly as possible to provide the modification kits for deployment overseas." We hope they include something more than a file.

Here the U.S., a nation that has the separation of church and state as a founding value, is engaged in battling Muslim extremists in Islamic lands and our troops have been using rifles with the numbers of Bible verses cast onto their sights!

"One rifle sight," reports Beliefnet, "included the code 'JN8:12', a reference to the Gospel of John in which Jesus says, "He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Jesus also said, in the Beatitudes, "Blessed are the peacemakers. ..."

Trijicon's Web site didn't respond immediately, but the company's president and CEO, as quoted on Beliefnet said: "We want to thank the Department of Defense for the opportunity to work with them and will move as quickly as possible" to provide the modification kits.

The Department of Defense? Now there's a thought. One would think that Department of Defense would scour and approve every inch of weapons it orders for U.S. forces. How could these inscribed verse numbers have gotten past procurement officials?

This affair is a travesty of public relations. Sometimes you think there couldn't be anything clumsier than the last miscue by somebody in the public eye, but another one comes along. Does anybody in the PR ranks have any doubt that this gun-sight encoding, for whatever reason it was done, was mistaken? It has drawn all-too-understandable wails from believers and atheists alike. 

Photo courtesy of ABC News




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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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