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      In two recent posts, Bondings 2.0 has reported on yet another two highly influential cardinals, Sean O’Malley of Boston and Claudio Hummes, retired archbishop of Sao Paolo, have demonstrated substantial sensitivity to LGBT concerns. These encouraging small steps to increasing openness…Read more →
      Terence Weldon
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      Terence Weldon
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    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
      Obie Holmen
    • Email sent to my followers June 27, 2014
      Whew! It's time to catch my breath. Since the release of Queer Clergy in February, I've been on the road ... Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and California. I have been the guest of book clubs, adult forums, LGBT reconciling groups, the Pacific School of Religion, and I've been a guest preacher (always a treat for an old lawyer). I've mad […]
      Obie Holmen
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    • Where Are You? October 26, 2011
      Greetings to all others who grace these pages! Thank you for stopping by. If you still have a reader pointed here, this blog no longer publishes in this location, but can be found at this new link. Please subscribe to the new feed, get the new blog via email or read us by liking us on Facebook or by following me on Twitter.If you want more, please feel free […]
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    • Quote of the Day September 16, 2014
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    • Another Suicide of a Gay Teen: Catholic Context September 15, 2014
      This heart-breaking story of the suicide of yet another gay teen is a reminder of why it matters — why it should matter — that the Catholic church in the U.S. (or anywhere else) is moving backwards  regarding welcoming and including gay members. And this story is a reminder of why it matters that, as Jerry Slevin notes, as the synod on the family nears, Pope […]
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    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
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    • Back from the "Dead"/Book Reviews September 13, 2014
      Just getting back on my feet after eight weeks of very intense interactions with Czech kids in summer camp in the mountains. The experience was so intense I felt cut off from my own spirit from time to time, but worth every minute.  What great kids.I'm getting ready to review two books, John Boyne's magnificent fictional treatment of the sex abuse […]
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  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • プロミスの返済は残高スライド元利定額返済方式 September 11, 2014
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    • Dualism and The Light Fantastic September 16, 2014
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      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

Gun sights for Jesus

Howard Friedman Howard Friedman is Professor of Law Emeritus at Toledo University, and he publishes a blog about the intersection of law and religion.  His blog is named Religion Clause, and the blog’s byline is the first amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… –US Const., Amend. 1”

His latest post contains a troubling investigative report from ABC News about a defense contractor that has a contract for supplying 800,000 high powered rifle sights to the US Marine Corps and more for the army.  The problem is that each rifle sight contains a Biblical reference, a coded citation to either 2nd Corinthians 4:6 or John 8:12 affixed to the end of each gun sight’s serial number.

For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (2 Co 4:6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Jn 8:12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

It is unclear why the gun sight manufacturer chose these particular verses.

An overt Biblical reference included on any government ordered product is undoubtedly a violation of the establishment clause.  Professor Friedman has a Sgt Joe Friday (Dragnet) style of writing (“Just the facts, ma’am”); thus, one is left to infer his legal opinion about the constitutionality of the practice from the mere fact that he published the post.

Jesus with a gun (borrowed from Seven Whole Days) Blogger Scott Gunn at Seven Whole Days is less subtle, and he writes less from a legal/constitutional point of view (although he agrees the practice is unconstitutional) than from his perspective as an Episcopal priest.  Apparently, the company spokesman dismissed critics of the practice as “uppity ‘non-Christians’”.  Gunn responds, “Well, this priest in Christ’s Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is outraged.”

Where to begin? Let’s start with practical matters. It will (rightly) inflame Muslims to learn that US military forces are fighting a war with equipment that contains references  to the Bible … How can we have any credibility when we say we are not fighting a new crusade, while our forces use equipment that is marked with verses about following Jesus?

Continuing to speak as a priest, I am further outraged by the perversion of the faith to which I devote my life. Jesus surely wants us to share the Good News with the whole world, but not in the side of deadly weapons. More to the point, killing in Christ’s name violates every teaching of the Gospels. I might concede that war is a necessary evil, though I have strong pacifist leanings, but we can never imagine that we have God’s approval to fight wars. Every war, every weapon, and every death in battle represents a tragic sin. To mock Jesus Christ by stamping “the light of Christ” on a rifle scope is to engage in deadly blasphemy.

To lawyer Friedman, I say “Counselor, we join in your arguments.  Your comments are incorporated herein by reference.”  To Pastor Gunn, I say, “amen, brother.”

Cross posted at Spirit of a Liberal Blog

4 Responses

  1. Obie, thank you for posting this because I was just about to. This is an unbelievable story and should cause alarm in every American who understands the difference between secular reality and religious delusion.

    Scott Gunn is right. This is heresy of the worst sort.

    • Colleen,

      While we all have our strong opinions on various matters, it is imperative that we exercise a responsible degree of self doubt. If we do not, it is an easy slide into the view that God is on our side and from there all sorts of horrendous behavior becomes justified. Putting Scripture about light in the darkness on a gun sight is a scary, and ironic, example of blind self righteousness.

  2. One last thought, given the topic, Scott has an interesting last name.

  3. colkock, you raise a good point. That is why I favor gun control, but not Gunn control.

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