Tag Archives: war

Biblical references on state-issued weapons

The BBC News website reported last night that the military in the US and the UK have purchased and are using in active combat weapons whose sights contain biblical references. 

The references apparently read “2Cor4:6” and “Jn8:12”, which are to the following verses:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

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.

I’m all for opportunities for people to hear and respond to the gospel. But can it really be appropriate to reference the “tools of the trade” (if you will) of an employee (here,  a soldier) of our armed forces with biblical material? And if the message in these references was taken to heart, would our soldiers be at arms in the first place?

The US manufacturer of the sights, Trijicon, is run by Christians.  Trijicon says of itself:

“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”

What about Exodus 20:13?

(thanks to Lauren)

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Remembering

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Two things have been different about acts of Remembrance for me this year. For the first time I’m wearing a white poppy rather than a red one. It’s a poppy for peace. I do want to remember those who have died and continue to risk their lives in war, but not at the expense of recognising its horror and the need to continue to strive to end it. Also for the first time, Remembrance Sunday wasn’t overtly marked in the church service I went to this week.

The think tank Ekklesia reckons we need to shake up how we mark Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day. In a report published last week, they suggest: incorporating those executed for conscientious objection or “cowardice”; acknowledging that some people “die in vain”; ending automatic reference to soldiers dying for “the freedom we enjoy today”; and making a greater commitment towards peace. Perhaps the “unarmed forced” (peace organisations) should have chaplains in the same way the armed forces do? They also suggest there should be wider acknowledgment of other effects of war,  such as ecological damage. You can read the full report here.

I’m not sure what I think of this, but my gut reaction is that this is easy for me to approve of as someone whose family and friends have remained thus far untouched by war-related death. I might take a different view if I was the mother, sister or daughter of one of a soldier killed in action this year.