Following an ABC News report that thousands of gun sights used by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan are inscribed with secret Bible references, a spokesperson for the Marine Corps said the Corps is 'concerned' and will discuss the matter with the weapons manufacturer.
"We are aware of the issue and are concerned with how this may be perceived," Capt. Geraldine Carey, a spokesperson for the Marine Corps, said in a statement to ABC News. "We will meet with the vendor to discuss future sight procurements." Carey said that when the initial deal was made in 2005 it was the only product that met the Corps needs.
However, a spokesperson for CentCom, the U.S. military's overall command in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he did not understand why the issue was any different from U.S. money with religious inscriptions on it.
"The perfect parallel that I see," said Maj. John Redfield, spokesperson for CentCom, told ABC News, "is between the statement that's on the back of our dollar bills, which is 'In God We Trust,' and we haven't moved away from that."
Said Redfield, "Unless the equipment that's being used that has these inscriptions proved to be less than effective for soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and military folks using it, I wouldn't see why we would stop using that."
A spokesperson for the Army told ABC News that the Army was looking into the procurement "to see if anything is amiss here. We are still checking."
As ABC News reported Monday, the sights are used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers. The maker of the sights, Trijicon, has a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps, and additional contracts to provide sights to the U.S. Army.
U.S. military rules specifically prohibit the proselytizing of any religion in Iraq or Afghanistan and were drawn up in order to prevent criticism that the U.S. was embarked on a religious "Crusade" in its war against al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents.
One of the citations on the gun sights, 2COR4:6, is an apparent reference to Second Corinthians 4:6 of the New Testament, which reads: "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 references include citations from the books of Revelation, Matthew and John dealing with Jesus as "the light of the world." John 8:12, referred to on the gun sights as JN8:12, reads, "Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Trijicon confirmed to ABCNews.com that it adds the biblical codes to the sights sold to the U.S. military. Tom Munson, director of sales and marketing for Trijicon, which is based in Wixom, Michigan, said the inscriptions "have always been there" and said there was nothing wrong or illegal with adding them.
Munson said the issue was being raised by a group that is "not Christian." The company has said the practice began under its founder, Glyn Bindon, a devout Christian from South Africa who was killed in a 2003 plane crash.