Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement today following a report from ABC News that U.S. military weapons have been inscribed with coded biblical messages by their manufacturer, Trijicon. The issue was brought to the attention of ABC News by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. According to the report, the inscriptions on the weapons were done without the knowledge or permission of the military.
Reports that coded biblical verses have been inscribed on gun sights used by the U.S. military by their manufacturer are extremely disturbing and should be investigated by military authorities and the practice stopped immediately. Religious undertones have all too often been a part of military rhetoric and actions in recent years. Following reports in the last year that biblical verses regularly were printed on a defense department documents and accounts of proselytizing by military personnel in Afghanistan, this latest incident adds to the perception that religion rather than national security is at the heart of our military’s presence abroad.
Obviously, Trijicon, the defense contractor, knew they were doing something wrong and trying to get away with it or they would not have encoded messages that, when used appropriately, need no disguise. The company should be ashamed of its actions, which do no favor either to the United States military or to Christianity; just the opposite. Messages of life and peace should not be prostituted by placing their imprint on instruments designed for death and war.
As a Christian, I am offended by Trijicon’s dismissal of the criticism saying that the organization raising the issue is “not Christian.” This is not a time for attacking critics, it is a time for Trijicon to clean up its behavior. As a patriot of this nation, I am outraged at this corporation’s lack of appreciation for our first freedom—religious freedom—and its corollary of separation between institutions of religion and institutions of government. As an advocate for inter-religious cooperation, I am saddened by this insensitive effort to minimize people who do not embrace Christianity.
I call on the Department of Defense to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation of this incident, and take appropriate action if any laws were broken. Once again I repeat my call from last year for Commander-in-Chief Obama to direct the Secretary of Defense to institute policies that amid efforts to assure national security he also ensures protection for our nation’s Constitution and its promise of protecting freedom and not promoting religion.
For more information on Interfaith Alliance’s call last year for the Secretary of Defense to institute new polices visit: http://www.interfaithalliance.org/news/293-interfaith-alliance-statement-on-bible-verses-in-bush-era-intelligence-reports
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visitwww.interfaithalliance.org.