Thursday Evening, May 16, 2024

MRFF RID THE MILITARY OF BIBLE VERSE “JESUS RIFLE” SCOPES BACK IN 2010 —

“CHRISTIAN WARFARE TRAINING” WEBSITE

NOW HYPING THEM FOR CHURCH SECURITY



During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, part of the mission

of our troops was to train the Iraqi and Afghan security forces.

And what were they using to train these Muslim forces?

Rifles with Christian Bible verse references stamped

on them — that is until MRFF stopped them!


Now those scopes emblazoned with Bible verse references, made by Christian arms manufacturer Trijicon, that, as one fundamentalist Christian senior NCO put it, can make a weapon “spiritually transformed into the Fire Arm of Jesus Christ,” have

apparently found a new market — church security.

Medieval painting of Jesus with text balloon that says WTF question mark

MRFF OP-ED

ON DAILY KOS


#1 Trending story on Daily Kos


Protect your church with “Jesus Rifles”

… and a trip down MRFF’s memory lane


By: MRFF Senior Research Director Chris Rodda


Thursday, May 16, 2024

Chris Rodda

Soldiers were threatened with court-martial for trying to scratch them off their weapons with a penny.


A father — himself a Baptist minister — of one soldier sent rolls of thin black duct tape to his son’s unit to cover them up.


On one message board, a soldier provided instructions on how to remove it after removing it from his own weapon. 


What was it that these U.S. troops were so desperately trying to remove from their weapons? The Bible verse references inscribed on the scopes! Yes, Bible verse references were inscribed on the scopes of the rifles being used by U.S. troops, both Army soldiers and Marines.


Harken back to 2010. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were raging. Part of the mission of our troops was to train the Iraqi and Afghan security forces. And what were they using to train these Muslim forces with at a time when we were trying to “win hearts and minds” and assure the people of these Muslim countries that the “war on terror” was not a holy war? Why, rifles with Christian Bible verse references stamped on them!


The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) had been receiving e-mail after e-mail for some time from troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan about these “Jesus Rifles,” as they came to be known, with many expressing the very real fear of what might happen to them if they were to be captured by the enemy while carrying one of these Christian-Bible-verse-stamped “Jesus Rifles.”


Hundreds of thousands of these rifle scopes, called ACOGs, made by the outspokenly Christian company Trijicon, had been bought by the Department of Defense. At the time, Trijicon had a $660 million multi-year contract to provide 800,000 of the scopes to the Marine Corps, and additional contracts to provide them to the Army.


After repeated attempts to address the issue with the military failed, MRFF turned to the media, and in January 2010, ABC News Nightline reported on the “Jesus Rifles.” Other large news outlets, such as The New York Times, NBC News, and the BBC, also reported on the story.


Unfortunately, the Nightline video is no longer available, but the article by former ABC News investigative journalist Brian Ross, which garnered over 2 million hits, still is, being chosen by ABC as one of ten “ABC News Investigations of the Year” for 2010.


The ABC News report got the attention not only of the U.S. military, but other countries, including Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, whose militaries were also using the Bible verse-emblazoned Trijicon scopes. Trijicon even put its New Testament references on the scopes it sold to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which the IDF removed.


In a press release issued by CENTCOM, Gen. David Petraeus stated, "The codes on the scopes are contrary to U.S. Central Command guidance."


Maj. Kristian Dunne, a spokesman for the New Zealand Defence Force, one of the foreign militaries currently using the sights, stated, "We were unaware of it and we're unhappy that the manufacturer didn't give us any indication that these were on there. We deem them to be inappropriate."


In Britain, the revelation that there were Bible verses on its country's weapons prompted the following statement from the Church of England, as reported by the The Guardian:


"It would be unfortunate if this practice by an arms manufacturer undermined the military effort in areas of the world where our forces are trying to bring long-term stability. People of all faiths and none are being killed and injured in these conflicts, on all sides, and any suggestion that this is being done in the name of the Bible would be deeply worrying to many Christians. The meaning of the Bible is to be found in reflective reading and prayer, not in sloganising and soundbites."

In a statement to ABC News, Tom Munson, director of sales and marketing for Trijicon — a company that states on its website, “We believe that America is great when its people are good. This goodness has been based on Biblical standards throughout our history, and we will strive to follow those morals” — said that there was nothing wrong with adding the Bible references, and that MRFF was “not Christian.” Well, apparently, as I wrote at the time, the Church of England must also be "not Christian," given that it also found the Bible verse references highly disturbing.


In the wake of the ABC News report, MRFF’s enemies claimed that nobody would have found out about the Bible verses if ABC News hadn't exposed them. This was simply not true. Our troops already knew about them, as did many Iraqis and Afghans. As one soldier wrote to MRFF prior to the ABC News report:


"When we walk into an Afghan village trying to determine whether it's ‘friend or foe’ regarding the Taliban etc. and they ask us right off the bat if we are using the ‘Jesus rifles’ it is a VERY BAD way to start out considering our combat mission."

How did the Iraqis and Afghans find out about the “Jesus Rifles?” Well, because of genius Christian zealots like the senior NCO in this story sent to MRFF by a soldier in Afghanistan (emphasis added):


“Nothing in my first 2 deployments prepared me for what happened with the Trijicon ACOG gun sights during my 3rd deployment to Afghanistan. I will never forget the day it occurred. It was morning and there was a mandatory formation of several companies. A very senior NCO was yelling at us which is not that unusual. He asked a private what it was that he (the private) was holding in his hand and the private said it was his ‘weapon’ several times to which the senior NCO replied ‘and what ELSE is it’? Finally, the senior NCO said that the private’s rifle was also something else; that because of the biblical quote on the ACOG gunsight it had been ‘spiritually transformed into the Fire Arm of Jesus Christ’ and that we would be expected to kill every ‘haji’ we could find with it. He said that if we were to run out of ammo, then the rifle would become the ‘spiritually transformed club of Jesus Christ’ and that we should ‘bust open the head of every haji we find with it.’ He said that Uncle Sam had seen fit not to give us a ‘pussy ‘Jewzzi’ (combination of the word 'Jew' and Israeli made weapon ‘Uzi’) but the ‘fire arm of Jesus Christ’ and made specific mention of the biblical quotes on our gun sights. He said that the enemy no doubt had quotes from the Koran on their guns but that ‘our Lord is bigger than theirs because theirs is a fraud and an idol’. As a Muslim and an American soldier I was fit to be tied but I kept it in. There were many Afghans, both civilian and military, on base within earshot of what was being yelled at us and I can only wonder in shock what they must have thought. This senior NCO was apparently also the head person of a conservative, crazy Christian group called the "Christian Military Fellowship" and made a big deal about the importance of joining to everyone. He told us all that we MUST read a book called "Under Orders" in order to make it through this combat deployment and said he had many copies for everyone. Some of my friends went and got their copies. I refused. Finally, this senior NCO ended his yelling by warning us that if we did not "get right with Jesus" then our rifles would not provide spiritual strength despite the bible quotes on our ACOG gunsights and that we would be considered "spiritual cripples" to our fellow units and soldiers.”

MRFF’s enemies also claimed that the Iraqis and Afghans would never see the Trijicon sights closely enough to see the Bible references. This was also completely untrue, as is abundantly clear from photos released by the Department of Defense of U.S. troops training Iraqi soldiers showing just how up close and personal they got with the “Jesus Rifles.” (The photos can be seen in this 2010 piece I wrote on HuffPost.)


The exposure of the “Jesus Rifles” by ABC News was very effective, forcing Trijicon to stop putting its Bible verse references on its scopes for the military and to supply remediation kits to remove them from the scopes already in use, although they were very slow to do so.


So, why am I writing about this story from nearly a decade and a half ago again now? Well, it seems that those weapons that are “spiritually transformed into the Fire Arm of Jesus Christ” with Trijicon scopes (which in the civilian market still have the Bible verse references on them) have found a new market — church security.


A website called “Christian Warrior Training” ran an article last week titled “Sights of Scripture: How Trijicon Melds Bible Verses with Gun Sights,” with the subtitle (emphasis added):


“Dive into the unique intersection of faith and firepower with our in-depth look at Trijicon, a leading optic manufacturer known for engraving Bible verses on their ACOG scopes and rifle sights.”

According to the “Christian Warfare Training” article, written by former drug cop Keith Graves (emphasis added):


“Their sights empower protection for those sworn to place themselves between us and grave threats, perfectly matching Christ’s Matthew 5:16 call for His followers to ‘let your light shine before others.’” 

Oh yeah, sticking a Bible verse Trijicon scope on that gun you’re packing when you go to church to make it “spiritually transformed into the Fire Arm of Jesus Christ” perfectly matches what Jesus said! 


What Bible are these people reading???

Click to Read on Daily Kos

MRFF’s 2010 “Jesus Rifles” victory

and much more highlighted in


“PRAYING FOR ARMAGEDDON”


A chilling new documentary featuring

Mikey Weinstein and MRFF Advisory Board

Member Col. (ret.) Lawrence Wilkerson


"Praying for Armageddon is a political thriller that investigates the dangerous consequences of the fusion between Evangelical Christianity and American politics. Through years of reporting, this film not only reveals how structures of fundamentalism weaken the very fabric of American democracy, but also highlights the devastating impact religion wields on U.S. foreign policy." 

— UpNorth Film


Now available to watch in its entirety on YouTube

Click to watch Part 1 (47:24)
Click to watch Part 2 (46:30)

PRAYING FOR ARMAGEDDON |

Official Trailer | UpNorth Film (2023)

Click to watch official trailer (1:49)

ARMED FORCES DAY

SATURDAY, MAY 18

We Salute Our US Armed Forces


By: MRFF Board Member John Compere

John Compere


“ARMED FORCES DAY” is our annual day of national recognition for the men and women currently serving in the active, reserve and national guard components of the United States Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Space Force. 


Armed Forces Day is the 3rd Saturday in May (May 18th this year) and traditionally concludes Armed Forces week. May is also designated as Military Appreciation Month by the United States Congress.


There were separate observances for each of the military branches originally. The unification of our Armed Forces under the Department of Defense occurred in 1949. 33rd President Harry S. Truman, a decorated World War I veteran, led the effort establishing a special day of appreciation for all military men and women currently serving, their families and the communities supporting them. The first official Armed Forces Day was held on May 20, 1950.


The importance of Armed Forces Day should be evident to all patriotic Americans because our military members deserve to be recognized and respected for their loyal service to this country. It is always important that we acknowledge, appreciate and applaud them. It is also a reminder of our military's significance and the critical role it plays in our nation's independence, freedom, democracy, security and survival. 


Today, there are 1,311,904 million active duty military members and 767,238 reserve and guard military members. Approximately 171,736 are deployed worldwide in foreign countries. There are over 700 military bases abroad.


Every Armed Forces member, upon entering the military service, takes the sworn loyalty oath to support, defend and bear true faith and allegiance to our United States Constitution. It is the affirmation we are one nation under our Constitution and it is the Constitution in which we must trust. We were the first nation to be independently established by and for “We the People” (Constitution Preamble) with no acknowledgment in our secular Constitution of any other authority (emperor, monarch, dictator, deity, religion, scripture, etc). 


“The US military swears to protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We don't take an oath to a king or a queen, or to a tyrant or dictator. And we do not take an oath to a wannabe dictator. We don't take an oath to an individual. We take an oath to the Constitution, and we take an oath to the idea that is America, and we're willing to die to protect it.” - General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and America's top military officer (retirement speech, September 29, 2023).


Armed Forces Day for recognizing those serving should not be confused with Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) for remembering those who sacrificed their lives in the military service of this country nor Veterans Day (every November 11th ) for respecting those men and women living or dead who honorably served this nation in the military for any length of time and are no longer serving. 


We commemorate three distinct categories of military service with three different national observances. Armed Forces Day is for those still serving in their uniform, Memorial Day is for those who did not make it out of their uniform and Veterans Day is for those who have hung up their uniform. 


Our military services also have their own origination dates or birthdays (Army – June 14, Coast Guard – August 4, Air Force – September 18, Navy – October 13, Marine Corps – November 10, National Guard – December 13,  Space Force – December 20).


As patriotic Americans, we extend genuine gratitude to all of our military members currently serving this country in these troubled times of international conflict and domestic insurrection.  


John Compere 

Brigadier General, US Army (Retired)

Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)

Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Texas rancher

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