Nations in conflict often have a hard time remembering what's sacred. The hope that those who facilitate our wars will be scrupulous about not crossing certain lines isn't borne out by history or practice.
One of the most egregious examples of disrespecting what many consider sacred can be found in an unusual place -- the gun sights of rifles used by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For years, Trijicon, a manufacturer and supplier of gun sights, has inscribed biblical citations on every one it produces. U.S. Marines in Muslim countries are killing enemy combatants with weapons coded with references to Revelations, Second Corinthians and the Gospels of Matthew and John. Is there any wonder some Muslims believe the United States is leading a Crusade against Islam?
To the uninformed, the numerical citations appear to be part of the weapon's serial number. On some gun sights, for instance, is etched 2COR4:6, the citation for Second Corinthians 4:6 -- "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." Other sights have the figures JN8:12, for the Gospel of John 8:12.
Trijicon's $660 million contract with the Marine Corps covers 800,000 gun sights. The company has additional contracts with the Army. When ABC News reported about the "Bible Codes" recently, the Marine Corps and Army issued statements saying they had not known about the biblical references.
Trijicon said Thursday it would "stop putting references to Scripture on all products manufactured for the U.S. military" and would provide, free-of-charge, modification kits to the Pentagon "to enable the removal of the references" on existing weapons.
Trijicon's late founder may have been a Christian, but associating New Testament verses with American violence is a gimmick that insults Christians, non-Christians and nonbelievers alike. Transforming military rifles into "Jesus Guns" is an outrageous provocation.