Once in a while a situation arises that is so ridiculous, so inane, so totally inconsequential, that it causes a great uproar in America. An example of this kind of thing is the various complaints and discussions over the clothes worn by Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Obama. Nobody cares, but the lamestream news media seems to think it’s a life or death situation.
This kind of issue came up recently, when, on 18 January, ABC News reported, somewhat sensationally, that gunsight manufacturer Trijicon puts references to bible scriptures on all its sights. It would seem this is not news to anyone you could possibly describe as human, but there you go.
Trijicon is based in Wixom, Michigan, where the company has been building top quality sights for a long time. Their ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) is a marvel of technology, incorporating tritium, fiber optics, and battery power to create an excellent sight for a battle rifle. My only complaint is that they haven’t sent me one yet, so I could put it on my Smith & Wesson M&P-15.
Our military, in one of its more brilliant moves, decided some time back to start buying these sights and providing them to many American special forces units. I don’t believe it’s a stretch to say those sights have saved American lives, and given some of our troops an easier and safer tour of duty in the sandbox. Evidence of this would seem to be that our military recently gave Trijicon a $660 million contract for a whole bunch more of these great optics over the next few years.
Now, about 30 years ago, Trijicon started putting references to bible verses on all their sights. The company didn’t change that policy when the U.S. military started using their optics, and for a long time it’s been no big deal. And it would still be no big deal if ABC News hadn’t started squawking about it like a chicken in a dog pen.
The verses referenced are John 8:12 and II Corinthians 4:6. At the end of an identifying number on the base of each gunsight, one of these verses is referenced by either ‘JN8:12’ or ‘2COR4:6’. I would imagine some people, who were unfamiliar with the bible, didn’t even realize they were indications of scriptures, if they happened to find the tiny raised characters at all.
Both of these scriptures have to do with light, which is what the Trijicon sights are all about. They are, as compared to a lot of bible verses, pretty inoffensive. But we all know that being inoffensive doesn’t mean someone won’t take offense.
The complaints about this situation are, as you might expect, ridiculous and contrived, and they come, not from our enemies or our allies, but from Americans with way too much time on their hands and way too little intelligence in their heads.
One charge is that our enemies will find out about this (which they will, if the U.S. media has its way) and be offended. These enemies, who have declared the current conflict a ‘holy war,’ will think we’ve decided it’s a ‘holy war.’ I fail to see how that would make a difference. Will they want to kill our troops any more than they already do? If you’re getting shot at, it would seem irritation of the opposition has already been achieved.
Another imagined problem arises because these American sights are mounted on American guns used to train foreign troops, many of whom happen to adhere to the Muslim faith. None of those folks have complained, of course, but there you go.
My answer to that would be, "Well, if a reference to a bible verse is going to cause a problem there, we definitely should stop giving away American money, which says ‘In God we trust’ on it." If our allies were griping, which they are not, that would solve the problem, pronto.
Another complaint, the excuse used by the military to force Trijicon’s hand on this, is that the references violate General Order #1, which forbids our troops from, among other things, proselytizing (trying to convert the locals to Christianity).
The irrefutable fact is that the verses don’t violate that Order, in any way, shape, form, or fashion. If it did, then taking a bible over there, or a prayer book, or a Christian hymnbook, would also violate the Order. Those things are not in question.
One of the biggest problems the whiners have with this is that they see it as inconsistent that a weapon, used to kill people, would be adorned with scripture. If that’s a problem, then no Christian person, of any belief, should be allowed to go over there and fight for our side.
But I don’t think this should ever have become an issue at all, and I think it’s too bad that Trijicon was forced to quit putting the references on their products. It’s admirable that they did it at all.
What’s really sad is that our military has completely thrown out Patrick Henry’s "Give me liberty or give me death," and replaced it with "Give me non-offensive, politically correct weapons components or give America’s troops death."
Our troops deserve the best gear we can provide, no matter what’s written on it. Trijicon is the best. If the chair warmers decide to replace the Trijicon sights with something inferior, the chair warmers should walk point with it.
That’s all I got to say about that . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who doesn’t really care if America’s enemies are offended. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org