This Week in God

THIS WEEK IN GOD…. First up from the God Machine this week is a pretty big dust-up over the use of U.S. military rifle scopes featuring inscriptions with New Testament citations.

The scopes are obviously problematic, not only on church-state grounds, but for undermining the American position that our conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq are not about religion. Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation said this week, “It allows the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al Qaeda and the insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they’re being shot by Jesus rifles.” Gen. David Petraeus, Central Command’s top officer, called the practice “disturbing,” and said the scopes represent a “serious concern to me and the other commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Late Thursday, the matter was resolved when the manufacturer reversed course.

A Michigan defense contractor will voluntarily stop stamping references to Bible verses on combat rifle sights made for the U.S. military, a major buyer of the company’s gear.

In a statement released Thursday, Trijicon of Wixom, Mich., says it is also providing to the armed forces free of charge modification kits to remove the Scripture citations from the telescoping sights already in use. Through multimillion dollar contracts, the Marine Corps and Army have more than 300,000 Trijicon sights.

Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Geraldine Carey said the service “is making every effort to remove these markings from all of our scopes and will ensure that all future procurement of these scopes will not have these types of markings.”

Also from the God Machine this week:

* A Gallup poll released Thursday found that “more than 4 in 10 Americans (43%) admit to feeling at least ‘a little’ prejudice toward Muslims — more than twice the number who say the same about Christians (18%), Jews (15%) and Buddhists (14%).”

* And in related news, a report released by the Pew Research Center found that “most Americans accept interracial marriage, but many people of faith say they would be troubled by a family member’s decision to marry an atheist.” Specially, a 43% plurality said they would be bothered by a family member’s marriage to an atheist, but would probably accept the marriage eventually. However, 27% said they would be bothered and would never accept the marriage.