This is as good a time as any to announce that later this week on January 21st I will have the honor of becoming the newest member on the Board of Directors for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation at the request of Mikey Weinstein.
The following story is why I am passionate about contributing to the work being done by MRFF in the tireless efforts to protect military personnel from religious fanaticism, and consequently the rest of us from a military run by Christian Dominioinists. If this story doesn't convince you of the religious extremism insinuating itself into our military, nothing will...
U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed With Secret 'Jesus' Bible Codes
By Brian Ross, Joseph Rhee and Tahman Bradley January 18, 2010
"Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the United States military by a Michigan company, an ABC News investigation has found.
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 gunsights, 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."...[read entire story here]
Here is an appeal for help to MRFF by a young man who was re-deployed to Afghanistan for his 4th tour. His 4th! And he is only 22 years old. He is a red-blooded Caucasian American, born defender of his country's freedom and constitution, father, husband and follower of the Muslim faith.
To: Mikey Wenstein and MRFF:
"I am a U.S. Army infantry soldier with the rank of (rank withheld). I am married with children. I am stationed at Fort (installation name withheld). I have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times. I have been awarded medals for direct combat engagement as well as for injuries and wounds received in hand-to-hand combat. I am a Muslim American. My family converted when I was very young. I am Caucasian and have a last name that does not sound ethnic. Therefore, few of my fellow soldiers know that I am a Muslim.
My wife comes from a Christian tradition but rarely practices or attends church. I have witnessed terrible religious persecution in the my (number withheld) years in the Army. Most of it comes from "angry" conservative Christians in my unit chains of command and occasionally from my fellow infantry soldiers.
I am very familiar with the Trijicon ACOG gunsights and have often had them as part of my personal weapons; both my M-4 and my M-16. In my first 2 deployments I saw and experienced no incidents regarding the New Testament bible quotes that are written on the metal casing of the gunsights. Many soldiers know of them and are very confused as to why they are there and what it is supposed to mean. Everyone is worried that if they were captured in combat that the enemy would use the bible quotes against them in captivity or some other form of propaganda.
As an American soldier I am ashamed that those bible quotes are on our primary weapons. As a Muslim American I am horrified. As one who swore his oath to the Constitution, I am driven to fight this Christian insanity but I know if I try to do so in a visible way that I will suffer at the hands of my military superiors. I am of low enlisted rank and can be crushed easily. I am prepared to suffer, but I am not prepared for my wife and children to suffer.
So I have reached out to MRFF because there is nowhere else safe to go to try to fight this thing of disgrace. There are many other soldiers who feel as I do. Many are Protestant and Catholic and they fear reprisal just as much as I do for trying to stand up to the Christian bullies in uniform who outrank us. But if you try to fight back, you are not "asking" for trouble, YOU ARE IN TROUBLE from the start. And if you are a Muslim American, the hatred is always just below the surface and ready to explode at a moment's notice. After the Fort Hood shootings, it was so bad, even for a low profile Muslim like me, that I had to ask MRFF for help.
Nothing in my first 2 deployments prepared me for what happened with the Trijicon ACOG gunsights during my 3rd deployment to Afghanistan. I will never forget the day it occurred. It was morning and there was a mandatory formation of several companies. A very senior NCO was yelling at us which is not that unusual. He asked a private what it was that he (the private) was holding in his hand and the private said it was his "weapon" several times to which the senior NCO replied "and what ELSE is it"?
Finally, the senior NCO said that the private's rifle was also something else; that because of the biblical quote on the ACOG gunsight it had been "spiritually transformed into the Fire Arm of Jesus Christ" and that we would be expected to kill every "haji" we could find with it. He said that if we were to run out of ammo, then the rifle would become the "spiritually transformed club of Jesus Christ" and that we should "bust open the head of every haji we find with it.’ “He said that Uncle Sam had seen fit not to give us a "pussy 'Jewzzi' (combination of the word 'Jew' and Israeli made weapon 'Uzi') but the "fire arm of Jesus Christ" and made specific mention of the biblical quotes on our gunsights. He said that the enemy no doubt had quotes from the Koran on their guns but that "our Lord is bigger than theirs because theirs is a fraud and an idol".
As a Muslim and an American soldier I was fit to be tied but I kept it in. There were many Afghans, both civilian and military, on base within earshot of what was being yelled at us and I can only wonder in shock what they must have thought. This senior NCO was apparently also the head person of a conservative, crazy Christian group called the "Christian Military Fellowship" and made a big deal about the importance of joining to everyone. He told us all that we MUST read a book called "Under Orders" in order to make it through this combat deployment and said he had many copies for everyone. Some of my friends went and got their copies. I refused.
Finally, this senior NCO ended his yelling by warning us that if we did not "get right with Jesus" then our rifles would not provide spiritual strength despite the bible quotes on our ACOG gunsights and that we would be considered "spiritual cripples" to our fellow units and soldiers. He didn't say it in so many words, but the message was clear; if anything bad happened in a combat situation, it would be the fault of anyone who had not accepted Jesus Chris in the "right way".
I have never felt so ashamed and scared in my life. I have never hated myself so much for not speaking out. So I thought of my wife and children and endured. Every time I looked at my rifle with that Trijicon ACOG gunsight/scope with the biblical quote from the book of John (8:12), it would make me sick. If I had tried to protest, it would have made me dead. And if I'm dead I'm of no use to my wife and children." ~ Anonymous Soldier
Extreme pressures brought on by relentless proselytizing, demands to convert or be ridiculed, punished and ostracized...and the worst - the threat of being left without dependable back up in a combat encounter by your fellow soldiers - are all common practice by these self-proclaimed God's Army soldiers.
According to ABC, when asked about the inscriptions...
"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."
"Have always been there"...since 2003. That is a different definition of the word "always" in my world, Mr. Munson. This manufacturer is making millions and millions of dollars peddling the fear of god. Our own soldiers feel as threatened by this religious extremism as the enemy. What makes these Khristians any different from the Islamic extremists they detest so much and long to exterminate?
And just a clarification...this is not about anti-Christian agendas masked by efforts to uphold the separation of church and state. Read the young soldier's story again...people of ALL faiths are frightened by these members of an extreme Christian cult who truly does have an agenda...Dominionism.
As if it is not enough to be away from home, loved ones, and putting your life and limb in danger to protect the freedoms that you cannot even rely on receiving in the military!
"This is probably the best example of violation of the separation of church and state in this country," said Weinstein. "It's literally pushing fundamentalist Christianity at the point of a gun against the people that we're fighting. We're emboldening an enemy." ~ Mikey Weinstein, Founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation
This story will also be airing on ABC's Nightline tonight in much greater depth.