Contractor to stop stamping Bible verses on gear for U.S. military
Trijicon to stop citing Bible on combat gear
A Michigan defense contractor will voluntarily stop stamping references to Bible verses on combat rifle sights made for the U.S. military, a major buyer of the company's gear.
In a statement released Thursday, Trijicon of Wixom, Mich., said it will also provide free modification kits to the armed forces that allow removal of the Scripture citations from the telescoping sights already in use. Through multimillion-dollar contracts, the Marine Corps and Army have more than 300,000 Trijicon sights.
The references to Bible passages raised concerns that the citations break a government rule that bars proselytizing by American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, which are predominantly Muslim countries.
A spokesman for U.S. Central Command initially said the Trijicon sights didn't violate the ban. On Thursday, however, Army Gen. David Petraeus, Central Command's top officer, called the practice "disturbing."
-- Associated Press
Prayer objects cause flight to be diverted
A teenage airplane passenger using a Jewish prayer object Thursday caused a misunderstanding that led the captain to divert the Kentucky-bound plane to Philadelphia and prompted a visit from a bomb squad.
A 17-year-old boy on the US Airways Express flight from New York to Louisville was using tefillin, a set of black boxes attached to leather straps and containing biblical passages, said Philadelphia Police Lt. Frank Vanore.
When used in prayer, one box is strapped to the arm while the other box is placed on the head.
"It's something that the average person is not going to see very often, if ever," FBI spokesman J.J. Klaver said.
The teen explained the ritual after being questioned by crew members, but the captain decided to land in Philadelphia anyway, authorities said.
Klaver said the teen and his sister were never in custody, and have been cleared to continue their travels.
-- Associated Press