Fairbanks, Alaska — Soldiers at an Army base in Alaska have been ordered to turn in their scopes so that the Scripture references engraved on them may be removed, reports state.
Troops stationed at Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks recently received the command after it was discovered that the company that manufactured the scopes had engraved two Bible citations in the metal next to the serial numbers. The scopes cite John 8:12 and II Corinthians 4:6.
“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,” the first verse reads. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ,” states the second Scripture.
The company Trijicon supplied the scopes, which has a contract with the United States military. Now soldiers are being informed that the verses must be scraped off and painted over.
“The Biblical verse (JN8:12) must be removed utilizing a Dremel type tool and then painted black,” outlines a document created by the Army surrounding the matter. The document comes from the Weapons-Product Support Integration Directorate out of Warren, Michigan.
“The vendor etched those inscriptions on scopes without the Army’s approval,” Army spokesman Matthew Bourke told reporters. “Consequently, the modified scopes did not meet the requirement under which the contract was executed.”
According to reports, Trijicon was at the center of controversy in 2010 when military leaders became aware that it was providing Scriptural citations on its products. Although the company asserted at the time that it has always been the practice of Trijicon to inscribe the word of God on items, former Army General David Petraeus called the tradition “disturbing.”
“This is a serious concern to me and the other commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he stated.
“It is not the policy of the Department of Defense to put religious references of any kind on its equipment,” added Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.
At the time, officials stated that they were concerned that the scopes would be seen as a type of “Crusade” against other religions, such as Islam. Some groups worried that enemy combatants might get the idea that they were being purposefully targeted with “Jesus rifles.”
Therefore, Trijicon agreed to “[r]emove the inscription reference on all U.S. military products that are in the company’s factory that have already been produced, but have yet to be shipped” and “[p]rovide 100 modification kits to forces in the field to remove the reference on the already forward deployed optical sights.”
A soldier stationed at Fort Wainwright told reporter Todd Starnes that he believes the military is making too big of an issue about the matter.
“It blows my mind,” he said. “It doesn’t help the Army do its mission to take off a Biblical reference.”
The soldier advised that he had to comply with the order so that “someone doesn’t get offended.”