ABC Raids Message Boards to 'Break' a Decades-Old Story

The Blotter stirred interest on Monday with the painfully titled "U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed with Secret 'Jesus' Bible Codes." ABC's Joseph Rhee, Tahman Bradley, and Brian Ross wrote:

Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the United States military by a Michigan company, an ABC News investigation has found.

The sights are used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers.

Written in a scandalous tone perhaps better suited for Page Six, the ABC News team notes that the tritium-illuminated optical sights manufactured by industry leader Trijicon have abbreviations noting Biblical verses. The verses are on each and every product Trijicon ships, including variants of the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) telescopic sights and Reflex close quarters combat sights commonly used by U.S. forces. The scripture references always contain the word "light," a reference to both company founder Glyn Bindon's Christian faith and the fact that the glowing tritium used in these sights make them useful in almost any lighting condition.

The "secret 'Jesus' Bible codes" are hardly secret. They are noted on the body of each optic, appended to the model number. For example, the line on a telescopic 4-power, 32mm lens ACOG sight reads "ACOG4X32JN8:12," with "JN8:12" a rather less-than-cryptic reference to John 8:12 -- a verse in the New Testament that reads:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

A Reflex sight manufactured by the company notes a model number line of "REFLEX1X2-2COR 4:6," with the familiar biblical abbreviation of "2COR 4:6" referring to 2 Corinthians 4:6:

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Other variants of these Trijicon optics also contain a biblical abbreviation openly appended to the product number, as do some of the other optical products made by the company. The abbreviations are an element that Tom Munson, Trijicon's director of sales and marketing, says has "always been there."

As it happens, "always" would go back to when Trijicon optics were first adopted by the U.S. military, starting with an early version of the ACOG entering the Army's Advanced Combat Rifle Program in 1987 -- 23 years ago.

Trijicon optics first went to war with the U.S. Army in Operation Just Cause in 1989, and Trijicon sights were used in the 1990-91 Gulf War, also known as Operation Desert Storm. By 1995, the 4x32 ACOG was adopted by the U.S. Army Special Forces, with the Reflex joining the Green Berets in 1996. By 2004, a variant of the 4x32 ACOG became the first standard combat rifle optical sight of the Marine Corps, after a 229-year tradition of relying almost exclusively on iron sights.