Gun bible quotes 'inappropriate'
Published 22/01/2010 | 07:58
New Zealand's defence chiefs have ordered biblical quotes on weapon sights used by troops in Afghanistan to be removed.
Going to war in Afghanistan with biblical citations stamped on their weapons was not appropriate for New Zealand soldiers, said defence force spokesman Major Kristian Dunne.
The markings are also on sights used by US and British troops.
US manufacturer Trijicon, of Wixom, Michigan, would be instructed to remove the inscriptions on further orders of the gun sights and the letters would be removed from gun sights already in use by troops, Maj Dunne said.
The Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight rifle sights supplied by Trijicon and used by New Zealand troops carry references to bible verses that appeared in raised lettering at the end of the sight stock number.
Markings included "JN8:12", a reference to John 8:12: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, 'I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life'," according to the King James version of the Bible.
The Trijicon Reflex sight is stamped with 2COR4:6, a reference to part of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians: "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," the King James version reads.
Major Dunne said that, like other nations, New Zealand's military had been caught unawares.
"The inscriptions... put us in a difficult situation. We were unaware of it and we're unhappy that the manufacturer didn't give us any indication that these were on there," he said. "We deem them to be inappropriate."
New Zealand's defence force had about 260 of the company's gun sights, which were first bought in 2004, Maj Dunne said, and soldiers would continue using them because they were the best of their kind.