What’s to say about a gunsight model number? Not much, unless it happens to be the code to the Christian Bible passage in chapter 4 verse 6 of Corinthians.

This hit the news yesterday. A small and very devout Michigan firm makes the gunsights, which include some of the finest military rifle scopes in the world.

And that’s the problem. These scopes are doing heavy service in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. They are being furnished to the Iraqi police force. To a culture still resentful of the Christian European Crusades back in the middle ages, the image of returning Crusaders is inescapable.

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, US troops overseas are uncomfortable with the prospect of capture while in possession of one of those infidel rifle scopes. Christian organizations and politicians everywhere now express concern.

This wouldn’t raise so much as an eyebrow if it were Koran inscriptions on Taliban AK-47’s, or Torah references on Israeli Uzis, but a cowed world hushes as we await the inevitable reaction of the mullahs.

BBC, reporting on remarks made by General David Petraeus: the practice of scripture references was “disturbing” and “a serious concern”.

My question is: how could the Pentagon not know?

If you were looking through a gunsight and scope catalog and happened to notice a model number “2COR4:6” or “JN8:12”, chances are you probably wouldn’t think anything of it, though the colon might strike one as a bit odd.

But, if you look through such catalogs for a living, as do military armament procurers at places like Aberdeen Proving Ground, it wouldn’t take long before someone made the connection.

If you Google “2COR4:6”, most of the hits on the first page are biblical websites. Just as the Dewey Decimal System and ISBN numbers are standard in libraries everywhere, 2COR4:6 is the nomenclature universally used by the Biblical cataloging and reference system.

I don’t go to chapel as regularly as those military chaps, but even I would have figured it out eventually.

Everybody obviously figured it would be OK as long as it remained the secret of the chosen few. I think it would be easy to make too much out of it, or “get your panties in a bunch” as the Brits say. If I regularly attended a mosque or synagogue, I don’t think I’d find the underlying arrogance and presumptuousness of key-coded Christian military armament engravings so funny.

Having said all that, it was still incredibly stupid to let this slide all the way through the arduous evaluation and selection process of military review and procurement. At least we found it before the Islamic scholars did.


BBC: US firm to remove Biblical references on gunsights
TPM: U.S. Rifle Scopes In Iraq And Afghanistan Feature Bible Verse Citations

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