The company responsible for placing biblical references on U.S. military rifle scopes has announced they will discontinue the practice due to concerns from the Pentagon and the general public.
In an announcement made on Thursday, Michigan-based arms manufacturer Trijicon said that they would "stop putting references to Scripture on all products manufactured for the U.S. military," noting that their "decision to voluntarily remove these references is both prudent and appropriate," according to Trijicon President Stephen Bindon.
The group also said they would provide the Pentagon with free kits for removing current inscriptions, which contain lettering such as JN8:12 and 2COR4:6.
Trijicon's practices, which were publicized on Monday in a report by ABC News, were widely denounced by members of the faith and secular communities.
The Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, said in a letter to President Obama on Thursday that the gun sights "clearly violate a government rule prohibiting proselytizing" and called the practice "only the latest in a long line of violations of the boundaries between religion and government within the military."
"Religious undertones have all too often been a part of military rhetoric and actions in recent years Following reports in the last year that biblical verses regularly were printed on a defense department documents and accounts of proselytizing by military personnel in Afghanistan, this latest incident adds to the perception that religion rather than national security is at the heart of our military's presence abroad," Gaddy said in a statement released on Monday.
President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation Michael L. Weinsten said "the Constitution won today" in response to Trijicon's decision. Weinstein's organization was responsible for providing the original leads for the ABC News story.
Trijicon, which specializes in rifle sights that provide enhanced vision in low light, has high profile, multi-million dollar contracts with the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.
The group's statement of values on its Web site reads: "We believe that America is great when its people are good. This goodness has been based on biblical standards throughout our history and we will strive to follow those morals."