Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jesus Rifles

- Somewhere in Afghanistan -

"Akhmed!  I am mortally wounded!"

"D'oh!  What ever shall we do, Sarge?"

"Did you catch the serial number on that rifle?"

"ACOG4X32JN8:12, Sir."

"Ack!  That is obviously a reference to John 8:12.  Pull out your NIV and read it to me!"

"No need, Sir.  I can recite it from memory. 'When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.''"

"It is just as I feared!  I have been shot by a Jesus rifle.  Avenge me in the name of Allah!"

"But Sir, isn't Jesus one of Allah's great prophe-"


- Back to Reality -

I know, it's ridiculous, but according to ABC News, this is exactly what Michael Weinstein of the inappropriately named Military Religious Freedom Foundation claims is happening:

"It allows the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al Qaeda and the insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they're being shot by Jesus rifles, ... We're emboldening an enemy."

Getting shot may or may not tick you off, but if it's a Jesus Rifle (TM) you're sure to be angry.  It's almost like they haven't already decided the States are "the great Satan."

Seriously, though, worshipers of religious censorship "freedom" are making two primary claims when discussing this story.

Claim #1: It violates the separation of church and state.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

A violation of the separation of church and state is not necessarily a violation of the U.S. constitution (or any national law, for that matter) because the words "church," "state," or "separation" do not exist in the "establishment" clause.  This issue has nothing to do with congressional laws, so it gets the Bill of Rights nod of approval.

Claim #2: It violates U.S. military rules by proselytizing to the people of foreign nations.

The funny thing about this claim, similar to the one above, is that the people crying about injustice won't actually quote the rules.  Here is what the Uniform Code of Military Justice says about proselytizing:

"Military officials must ensure that service members are neither punished for their beliefs nor subjected to unwanted proselytizing or evangelizing from military chaplains or senior officers and noncommissioned officers, even if the proselytizing or evangelizing is intended as a good-faith effort to salvage the spiritual health of the service members."

What does this regulation have to do with protecting foreigners from harmful messages of love and forgiveness?  Right.  Nothing.

[Edit: Actually, there's more.  For a discussion of General Order No. 1, see the comments below.]

In addition, if you wanted to make the claim that service members are being subjected to unwanted evangelizing from officers, go ask your local serviceman if he'd rather have the Bible-stamped scope from Trijicon or the basic hunting model from Wal-Mart.  (Go on.  It's okay.  They're actually nice once you get to know them.)  I guarantee he'll agree with the officers that signed the contracts for these excellent pieces of American technology.

A private company has every right to stamp references to Bible verses, quoted Bible passages, crosses, or whatever on its products.  And if that company's products are the most effective at saving American lives, the armed forces have every right to purchase them.  Isn't the rule of law wonderful?

Besides, I have it on good authority that Trijicon only hires the very best productivity engineers.  Trijicon is one of, what, two? businesses in Michigan that are successful right now.  Perhaps the media could benefit from the use of some scopes to zoom in on actual problems instead of shooting themselves in the feet.