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We are only good when we believe as you do.

19 January, 2010

Gunsights’ biblical references concern US and UK forces.   BBC.  

For 30 years, a maker of gun sights for the U.S. has put coded biblical references at the end of the sight.

Evidently, no one noticed!  No wonder this country can’t wrap its head around the idea of Separation of Church and State in the U.S. Constitution.

Contrary to popular belief, The Constitution is not a Christian-inspired document. It was written in a time when reason and nature were not enemies. Thomas Jefferson, writer of the Declaration of Independence, was a deist.*  So was Benjamin Franklin.  The Declaration and the Constitution were written by men of varied religious backgrounds and they were clear that religion must not be a part of the government of the new country they were founding.  The Boston Tea Party may have been an emotional response to Britain’s taxation policy.  The Declaration of Independence was not.  The arguments were clearly defined in rational and thoughtful language enumerating the various injurious the colonies had faced.  No where does religion get mentioned.

Thomas Paine, born Quaker became a deist.*   He had this to say in Common Sense in which he argues for a limited Republic separate from Britain:

Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, viz. Freedom and security. And however our eyes may be dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by sound; however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darken our understanding, the simple voice of nature and reason*will say, ’tis right. [emphases mine]

Here is how the Declaration begins:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God* entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 1776 [emphasis mine]

It took twelve years of meeting and conventions and arguments before the Constitution was passed in 1787.  It is mostly concerned with the process of electing the governing bodies and the various limited actions allowed to the central government.  There is this one statement, however, which again limits the influence of religion in the federal government.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. [emphasis mine]  Article. VI.

During the conventions held before the final ratification of The Constitution there had been considerable demand for more explicit definition of the rights of the people. Many states feared that a central government might be able to infringe on those right if they were not delineated. It was finally agreed upon that the first Congress of the new country would address these concerns. Ten amendments, which we know as The Bill of Rights, were added in 1791. Not one of them says we must all be Christians, nor that we must believe in any god. On the contrary, the first line of the first Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…[emphasis mine]

Religion played an important part in the lives of the Pilgrims who moved to New England and their influence can still be felt today; but the country was developed by peoples from many countries and religions.  There is no State religion, nor any mandate in favor on one sect or another; there is no mandate that says you must belong to any religion. There is only a clearly specified limitation on religion and state.

Religious inscriptions (no matter how small or unobtrusive) on the sights of rifles used by the U.S. military is clearly a violation of every soldier’s rights and ought to be stopped now.  It ought to have been stopped long ago, but I will not pursue that issue.

The American people should not be subsidizing a company that is using its contracts to propagandize, proselytize, or promote its own religious perception.

*[Deists] also demanded that debate rest on reason and rationality. Deists embraced a Newtonian worldview, and they believed all things in the universe, even God, must obey the laws of naturehere

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lonni permalink
    19 January, 2010 21:15

    The company that imprints the so-called “bible code” on it’s production of weaponry are simply exercising their constitutional right to freedom of religious expression. No where are they demanding that people believe as they do. Our “founding fathers” had no problem inserting into the Declaration of Independence the statement “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..” The separation of church and state inference pertains to the USA being a Republic, not a Theocracy. It is plain and made quite evident that the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution gave credit to a Creator, commonly referred to as “God” when they were penned and signed. The idea of “reason of nature” has it’s basis in “the nature of God” in that same declaration of independence. Perhaps those who’s eyes are facing down the barrel of that gun are encouraged and comforted to know that there is a God Who is watching over them as opposed to a sometimes unforgiving nature.

    • 19 January, 2010 21:15

      Perhaps you did not look at the BBC story I cited,
      “The US Army said it was looking into any potential policy violation.

      The issue has been thrust into the spotlight by the US Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) – an advocacy group that seeks to preserve the separation of church and state in the military.”

      Like you, I strongly defend the right to express one’s personal opinion and even a company’s right to imprint its religious views on its products. But, this is a contract with the U.S. military and that is where separation of state and church come in. The military should not allow a company to impose its views on soldiers who may not believe as the company did.

      If the military could assign the sights only to those who believe, that might be a solution; however, it seems highly unlikely they could keep track of soldier’s rifle sights and religious views. Perhaps the company could withdraw from its contract with the military or produce sights for them that did not cross the line. Not all American soldiers are Christian.

      Deists use the word God, but as the definition I cited stated they believe that God is still answerable to the laws of nature. A God who created all things and is a part of all things, but not above them. If you believe that all men are created equal, then you can not demand they share your religion or thrust it in their eye when they are about to engage in battle.

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