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Trijicon sights: How the ‘Jesus gun’ misfired

Biblical references on rifle sights have been an open secret among soldiers. But it’s become an embarrassment for the Pentagon, causing Michigan gunmaker Trijicon to send ‘removal kits.’

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Some Middle East analysts call that hyperbole.

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“When people go to war they are confronted with very fundamental issues about who they are, and that seems to be the context in which American troops tend to be more conservative and many of them are Christian-oriented,” says Robert Canfield, an expert on the Taliban, also at Washington University. “I think the references are inappropriate, but I’m not sure that the Taliban really care. They talk about religion all the time, and they assume that’s what we do, too.”

The references – which are etched in the same font as the part number, rendering them nearly invisible to the casual observer – are on all of the 300,000 Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights (ACOGs) delivered to the Army and Marine Corps.

Biblical citation quotes Jesus

The inscription on the standard issue ACOG is a reference to a Bible citation that reads, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

A video review of the Trijicon “ACOG” sights shows the reviewer saying the Bible inscription “is one of the really cool things about this sight.”

Michael Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and a former military lawyer who graduated from the US Air Force Academy, told ABC News that soldiers have told him that Army commanders refer to the Jesus rifles as “spiritually transformed firearm[s] of Jesus Christ.”

Trijicon began putting Bible references on sights nearly 30 years ago under Trijicon’s founder, South African Glyn Bindon, who died in an aircraft crash in Alabama in 2003.

"Our effort is simple and straightforward: to help our servicemen and women win the war on terror and come home safe to their families,” the company said in a statement released earlier this week. “As long as we have men and women in danger, we will continue to do everything we can to provide them with both state-of- the-art technology and the never-ending support and prayers of a grateful nation."

In a release on Thursday, Mr. Bindon’s son, Stephen Bindon, wrote, “Trijicon has proudly served the US military for more than two decades, and our decision to offer to voluntarily remove these references is both prudent and appropriate.”

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