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seeing is believing

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 20, 2010

Procurement officers for the American and British armed forces are (OK, I'll say it) under fire after the discovery that a US company supplying gunsights for the military inscribed the devices with references to the Bible. Look carefully, and you see either "2COR4:6" or "JN8:12" etched onto the sights. These inscriptions, the BBC helpfully informs us, are "coded references to Biblical passages." 

The BBC reports that "military officials in the US and UK have expressed concern over the way the markings will be perceived." No doubt they are afraid that someone might be (OK, I'll say it) up in arms about the fact that the manufacturer of these sights-- Trijicon, an American company that proudly proclaims its Christian commitment-- is engaging in covert evangelization.  

Or is it really covert? The BBC refers to "coded" references, as if the inscriptions were written in some sort of secret language, which can be understood only by Christian cognoscenti and perhaps a few expert cryptologists. But if the meaning of the "code" really were so obscure, there would be no controversy here; the inscriptions would mean no more than a randomly-assigned serial number. The fact is that reasonably intelligent people immediately recognize  "2COR4:6" and "JN8:12" as Bible citations. 

Most manufacturers imprint their own company names on the material they sell to the government: a subtle form of advertising to which no one objects. Trijicon has added a bit of equally subtle advertising for the Bible. 

These are sights, after all. They're supposed to improve the user's ability to see things clearly. 

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  • Posted by: parochus - Jan. 21, 2010 4:52 PM ET USA

    Shoot, Di, don't be going off half-cocked about this blowup. If these "codes" were aimed against Christianity, we'd probably be going for our guns and blasting away at the government for allowing themselves to be a target.

  • Posted by: James Matthew Wilson - Jan. 21, 2010 8:53 AM ET USA

    This is terribly inappropriate. The U.S. and British Militaries should also have strict policies banning the procurement of all Chateau Neuf du Pape wines, for this too is clearly a coded reference to the Supreme Pontiff that may be taken as proselytizing. Given the well documented effects of wine, such subtle Jesuitical insinuations might lead many an inebriated grunt to conversion -- and on the Government dime!

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jan. 20, 2010 7:47 PM ET USA

    Both passages refer to vision and light (of Christ, of course) so are particularly appropriate for an optical instrument. Now, these are instruments of force and war so one could argue appropriateness from a theological perspective. . .

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