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Jan 18 2010

MILITARY SHOULD SCRAP “JESUS CODE” RIFLE SIGHTS: “PROPAGANDA COUP FOR TALIBAN, OSAMA” SAY ATHEISTS

AMERICAN ATHEISTS, INC.
http://www.atheists.org
http://www.americanatheist.org

For more information, please contact:
Ed Buckner, President 908-499-9200 (cell) or 770-803-5353 (office/fax)
Dave Silverman, Communications Director 732-648-9333
Kathleen Johnson, Vice President and Military Director 318-542-1019

MILITARY SHOULD SCRAP “JESUS CODE” RIFLE SIGHTS: “PROPAGANDA COUP FOR
TALIBAN, OSAMA” SAY ATHEISTS

An Atheist public policy group said today that rifle sights marked with
a secret “Jesus Bible Code” may provide Islamic extremists with a
powerful propaganda tool and egregiously and dangerously violate the
separation of church and state.

According to a report on ABC News, a Michigan-based company, Trijicon,
has a $600 million contract to provide U.S. forces with 800,000 of the
rifle sights which are being used in Afghanistan and Iraq. The sights
are marked with citations from the Bible, including one that declares
that Jesus is “the light of the world.”

Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists, said that he fears
Islamic terrorists may take full advantage of “a major blunder that
seriously risks efforts to reach out to people in Muslim countries
threatened by groups like the Taliban and al-Qaeda.”

“Part of the U.S. message abroad should emphasize the core American
value of secular government and respect for individual religious liberty
– and instead the U.S. military is promoting Christianity, literally
with the barrel of a gun. We call on President Barack Obama to repudiate
this effort immediately.”

Kathleen Johnson, Vice President and Military Director for American
Atheists, said that the religious inscriptions “clearly violate the
First Amendment and the U.S. Constitution, as well as armed forces
regulations against promoting sectarian religion.”

“We are not going to enjoy much success in trying to achieve ‘nation
building’ and self-sufficiency for democratic governments in countries
like Iraq and Afghanistan if our troops are seen as modern-day
‘Crusaders’ out to impose Christian fundamentalism,” said Johnson. She
urged the Pentagon and Congress to open an immediate inquiry into how
Trijicon won the lucrative contract and if military brass were aware of
the Biblical citations on the gun sights.

“These rifle sights should be phased out of use as quickly as possible,”
added Johnson. “The mission of the U.S. military cannot include
proselytizing for Christianity or any other religion.”

AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for
Atheists; works for the total separation of church and state; and
addresses issues of First
Amendment public policy.

American Atheists, Inc.
PO BOX 158
Cranford, NJ 07016
Tel.: (908) 276-7300
Fax: (908) 276-7402

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