Scriptures on Scopes: Bible Abuse or Silent Witness?

UPDATE: According to various news reports yesterday, January 21, 2010, Trijicon will stop imprinting Bible references onto their scopes, and will offer the US govt and other govts kits to remove the existing Bible references on scopes already purchased.

ABC News broke an unusual story using unusual language today.  A military rifle scope supplier, Trijicon, embeds Bible references as part of the serial numbers molded into its scopes.  ABC News labeled these Bible references as “secret Jesus Bible codes,”  which I suppose sounds a lot more  mysterious and “DaVinci Code-like” than just calling them scripture references.

ABC provided several photos where scripture references like JN8:12 are clearly visible on the product supplied to the US Department of Defense by Trijicon.  The company was recently awarded a $600-million contract to provide 800,000 scopes to US troops.

Trijicon issued a statement saying the Bible verse references have always been there and were not illegal, according to the ABC story.  They also said the issue had been raised by a group that was “not Christian.”  The company website states “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.”

Concerns that the use of scopes bearing the imprint of Christian scripture references will further the idea that America is on a Christian crusade against Muslims prompted the action of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation exposing the cryptic references.  Some believe that Al Qaeda and other radical Islamic groups will use seized rifles and scopes as recruiting propaganda.

Is this an ethical issue?  Should the US military, which denied that it knew of the scripture references, purchase weaponry encoded with Bible references?  Is this a violation of church-and-state separation?

Does this use of the Bible by Trijicon amount to Bible abuse?  Should Scripture references be used on weapons of any type, including hunting, law enforcement and military weaponry?  How do we reconcile the Christian message of peace with a delivery system designed for war?

Or, is the company right?  Are these references their own legal witness to their faith and biblical principles?  I’d be interested to hear what you think.

18 thoughts on “Scriptures on Scopes: Bible Abuse or Silent Witness?”

  1. As a retired United Methodist minister of 40 years pastoring in Oklahoma I am alarmed that ‘words of faith’ are attached to weapons of destruction. ‘Christians’ are challenged to reflect upon the words, spirit and will of ‘The Prince of Peace’ in the context of Scripturally inscribed killing machines. What justification is there for a ‘Christian’ to condone or encourage the ‘words of faith’ or the ‘words of Jesus’ in the death of a human, much less an enemy- if we confirm the spirit of Jesus as the Lord of our lives or the foundation of our Christianity. Obviously, no one wants an ‘enemy’ to destroy life, yet, for a Christian to encourage death through the inscription of Holy Scripture on killing machines is a direct disavowal of our allegiance to Jesus, the ‘Prince of Peace’, in my opinion.

    Can politics, citizenship, clan or country justify a Christian’s disavowal of the primary foundations of faith in Jesus? If the ‘Fruits of the (Holy) Spirit’ (Galatians 5: 22-3) elevate our common humanity as Christians (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness & Self Control)how can we encourage inscribed Scripture on weapons designed to destroy humanity. ‘Rendering unto Caesar’ provides no basis and no reason for Scriptural inscription on Caesar’s death machines as any ‘rendering unto God’ what we must do to be serious followers of Jesus! Caesar takes up ‘arms’, Jesus does not (Mark 14: 46-48; Luke 22: 47- 52).

  2. I’m guessing that they didn’t use MATT26:52

    “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword.” (NLT)

    Seriously … I do have a problem with this. This is not a way that God has ever commanded that He be worshiped, and it smacks of the “new fire” idea. These guys made up some other idea of what worship should involve. And somehow worked it into the scope of a machine gun.

    This also runs us into the nationalism/idolatry situation again. As a Christian, I have a problem with that.

    Certainly, yes, this is great propaganda for anyone who wants to claim that the US is crusading. (Which is absurd … Christians in the US are far too weak to go after our own bad habits, forget crusading anywhere!)

    It makes a mockery of Scripture. Somehow, engraving verse references on gun scopes makes us a Biblical people, while we as a people indulge every sinful desire.

    Just to wrap it up … it’s at best a useless token gesture. Coded witness is no kind of witness at all.

  3. This has nothing to do with scripture and witness. It has everything to do with being a smartass. The people these weapons are used on should never see those references, so it can’t be seen as witness. And these are being supplied to the U.S. military and now that they are aware of it, they can specify that the company no longer include the references to scripture on items sold to the U.S. military. It’s in the hands of the military at this point. And it now becomes something that will have to be added to already complex and burdensome government contracts.

    I guess it can suit the propaganda of some extremist groups but it’s a funny kind of double standard to have young men with bombs strapped to themselves run into crowds and shout “God is Great!” right as they set off the bomb and then complain about Bible verse reference on rifle scopes. But much of Muslim extremism is filled with contradiction.

  4. I heard something of this the other day. What is their reason for putting them there? Will reading a bible verse convert someone to the Prince of Peace. Would Jesus have put his words on a sword???? thoughful article Chuck.

  5. This came to light because even though the inscription is very small, someone was actually close enough to take a photo and enlarge it. For weapons of mass destruction (i.e. bombs), rules of classification inhibit our access to photos. So maybe these verses are also printed on atomic bombs and vials of poison gas (when that was still in our inventory). I’m sure there may be some individuals that will defend this practice, but I would have the troops filing that off within the next 24 hours.

  6. Think about this. Who, as a soldier would you rather be captured by? A chrstian with a bible verse printed on his scope or some radical who lops prisoners heads off on video. Americans live in a country that is protected by these weapons, which are just tools after all. The reason we are here is because of the desire to have religous freedom, among others. I support Trijicon in this and ask that they continue the practice!

  7. I have no problem with these Scripture references on the weapons. I think we are forgetting that our government has a different responsibility than do we as individual followers of Christ. Paul very clearly told us of this in Romans 13. Government is responsible to bring fear on those who practice evil. Government IS to bear the “sword” against evil. When government brings wrath against those who practice evil they are fulfilling their God-given role and each government agent wielding the “sword,” whether law enforcement or military, is explicitly called “a minister of God.” That is why, when the soldiers quizzed John the Baptist in Luke 3, John did not tell them to lay down their swords. Instead, he told them to be content with their wages not to use their authority to loot or to falsely accuse. A weapon in the hand of law enforcement or the military is not an instrument of dishonor but functions as an honorable tool for the restraint of evil.

  8. Its about time the US Goverment told the truth that they are out to kill all muslims, not just terrorists. The fact that these Christian Scriptures are on our weapons of war proves this.

    1. so then….if in YOUR mind…this proves…anything…..
      think on this …..
      When a military group….acts independently….outside of their countries military armed forces….what do you get?
      You’ve got …..misguided power, and misguided purpose.
      When you fuel a movement with Religion…..
      its man made…and, that Religion.

      God is about Love….
      not what ANY …. military groupies have been FED…..even centuries long.

      When we, represent militarily our Country, and “its”….military decision..
      its out in the open……not personal or religious….
      and there is a major difference ….with our, recruiting military front line men…..compared to Religious brainwashing of young children and woman….for military disposal….SIR!

      All Religions …are man made….
      If you had a Relationship, with The Lord God Almighty….INSTEAD….
      you will be set free indeed….
      You would not be following… the Religious Robot “above” you .
      God, is the only “above”… no man….no prophet….no angel…..and surely, SIR…
      No ….Muslim …man made… unforgiving…..murderous……group.

      I prefer to talk peace…so pipe down pip squeak…..murder is murder…..outside a Countries act of war…..

      What is “the name of your….Country”…you are defending….SIR?
      Sorry …Islam and Muslim ?
      Outside of a Countries decisions….
      is a mere collaboration….of dangerous minds.
      Vengeance….is the Lords….
      not yours…..or Islams.
      Renew your mind…..forgive…
      Read the Holy Bible….
      For Jesus… Lord of Lords …and King of Kings….
      and by NO other name…shall ye be saved.

  9. The scope is a product. If they make the best scope, they got a right to make it however they want to make it. Don’t buy it if you don’t like it, you can go with a lesser scope, by all means. But don’t force your opinion on them. More power to ya Trijicon.

  10. Jesus might have had an enscribed whip when he ran all of those money changers out of the temple! He isn’t a wimp. Quit making Him out to be. God thumped on Sodom and Gomorrah, too.

  11. According to various news reports yesterday, the company will stop imprinting Bible references onto their scopes, and offer the US govt and other govts kits to remove the existing Bible references on scopes already purchased.

  12. I agree with you JustaTool. I agree with You Mr. Mitchell. I think that it is the freedom of a personal testimony on each weaponscope.We have a scope and had to virtually search for the scripture in brite lite.The muslims are riduculous in thinking that our government is out to kill them.Look who the prez is…anyway,get off the whining kick Muslim commentor.I wouldnt trust you as far as I could throw you.I am a Christian too.My plan is to pray to my ABBA against you and the destruction of America.So take that. My GOD of the bible is the the one truth you won’t deny.One day you will see.I believe Jesus is coming soon and you will be shocked.WHOOOWAHHH!!! And He will be with an army of HIS own.

  13. It should be up to the owner of the scope or weapon as to what he or she has on it. The company should be able to print these on their products and they should have some with and some without. Every soldier takes with them on to the battlefield their own beliefs, God/god’s, faiths,etc. the people they are fighting are fighting in the name of their god who are any of us to say what they can or can’t have on the one object that helps protect them every day? Are they to take off their crosses around their neck? their star of David? War and religion have always gone hand in hand and it should as I said be left up to the believer what they have. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of the darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”. II COR 4:6 this is one of the scriptures.

  14. soo wait you all tippy toe around the topic so if a muslim soldier started putting koranic scripts on his gun and running lose in a war u would probably have a diffrent opinion , i don’t get it is this a crusade ask your self that. it sure looks like one u pick a country that has nothing to do with 9/11 u flip it up side down u contract out the resources then u “free the people ” at the same time u rape and destroy all then u pray for these people twisted people u are , jesus would never be a part of a country that raped and destroys in his name or the name of god muslims never went to war with the u.s the 12 muslims that were involved with 9/11 do not represent the whole faith but you you put your flag on your war.those who kill for money will be shown a side of god that they once feared u pray all you want u all have blood on your hands

  15. Was not the Ark of the Covenant a weapon of destruction and enlightenment used by Moses and Joshua in combat to subdue their adversaries?

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