While reading Google News, two articles back-to-back suddenly reminded me of one of my friends from high school — a devout Catholic, by the way — often quipped that “the last true Christian died on the cross.”
A few days ago I insinuated that I couldn’t think of a more repellent symbol with which to advertise Christianity than the cross. Apparently I stand corrected.
According to ABC News, the (Christian) company that manufactures the sights for the military rifles used in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also inscribes them with “secret Bible Codes,” whereby secret they mean in plain sight on side of the sight immediately following the serial number. To paraphrase Arthur Dent, this is obviously some strange usage of the word secret of which I was not previously made aware of.
Never mind the potential violation the separation of church and state, since the sights are effectively paid for with taxpayer money. Never mind the federal prohibition against proselytizing in the military, which in this case is literally occurring at gunpoint. Never mind the fact that they bolster the enemy’s claim the “war on terror” is really an imperialist holy war, and believe it or not, those fundamentalist Muslims are can a bit… touchy.
That’s just tacky. Seriously.
I’m not sure by what methods Jesus anticipated spreading “the Good News,” but via ballistic trajectory was probably not one of them. Even the choice of scriptures used seem in bad taste. For example, one sight reads JN8:12 (that is, John 8:12), which goes Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. Yes… that‘s what a spiritually blessed rifle delivers: the light of life. Another reads 2COR4:6 (that is, Second Corinthians 4:6), which goes something like For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, or, at the very least, punctured our chest cavity at approximately twenty-eight-hundred feet per second.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, another Christian company has decided that the best way to assist the millions of Haitians displaced by last week’s 7.0 earthquake is to provide them not with water or food or medical supplies or shelter or even blankets, but with solar-poweredMP3 players that can only recite New Testament verses. Really.
It’s bad enough that the Reuters article above is virtually indistinguishable from an 2006 Onion article, but investigating the group’s website is even funnier, if unintentionally so. They’re called Faith Comes By Hearing, and they’re “committed to reaching the nations with the Word of God in Audio.” Sorry deaf people… apparently it’s Hell for you guys.
The aforementioned MP3-missionary is called The Proclaimer** Audio Bible. I have no idea what the asterisks are for, other than to encourage one to say The Proclaimer in a sort of booming voice. According to the website,
The Proclaimer** is self-powered and can play the Bible in the jungle, desert or even on the moon!
the last claim being the most amazing, what with the total vacuum space making the propagation of sound waves on the moon physically impossible.* Of course, I suspect that a chattering audio book has about as much utility to someone stranded on the moon as it has to someone starving, sick, and homeless in Haiti.
* D’oh! Apparently FCBH folks realized that claiming their MP3 player can actually perform miracles might be pushing the bounds of credulity, and have redacted this particular claim and replaced it with the slightly humbler claim that the Proclaimer** is a gift from God.
Of course, it might not be a satisfying as spiritual nourishment, but I bet some basic physical nourishment might be appreciated over in Haiti right now. Why not hop on over to the Red Cross and send a little money to their Haiti Relief Fund?