“Excuse Me Sir, Is That Phylactery Loaded?”
An Orthodox Jew’s prayer rituals, including wearing what looked like a box on his head, triggered a bomb scare Thursday aboard a US passenger plane, a security source told AFP. The Chautauqua Airlines jet bound from New York to Louisville, Kentucky, diverted to Philadelphia International Airport after what authorities described as a security incident caused by a “disruptive passenger.” “It appears that it was a misunderstanding with a religious passenger wearing a religious item and praying loudly,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. “The flight crew deemed, I guess, his actions and his item he was using to be suspicious and diverted the airplane,” the security source said.
The security source told AFP that the passenger in question was in fact wearing a phylactery, a set of small cubic leather boxes painted black, containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Bible, with leather straps dyed black on one side, and worn by observant Jewish men during weekday morning prayers (mentioned in Mt. 23: 5). He was “praying loudly and using this device,” the source said. “What we’re hearing is there was a language barrier.”
(Obviously, as well there’s a cultural & religious barrier too. Guess there’s a dire need for religious education for airline workers so prayer with or without phylacteries is not considered terrorist activity!)
File This Under “Watch Where You Aim That Bible”…
In other news, a Michigan firm that makes gun sights has decided to stop putting scripture verses on them. “Trijico” employs more than 250 people, producing light-aiming systems for riflescopes and other users. In recent years, it has sold thousands of scopes to the U.S. military, winning a $33-million contract from the Navy last year to provide weapons optics, according to Defense Industry Daily. In 2005, it won a $660-million multiyear contract from the Marines for power scopes. The gun sights included a stamp which said 2COR4:6, an apparent reference to Second Corinthians, Chapter 4, Verse 6. Another popular model of scope has JN8:12, a reference to the Book of John, Chapter 8, Verse 12 in which Jesus says, “Whoever follows me … will have the light of life.”
“This is a big concern to the Army and the Marine Corps, who have contracted for these particular sites,” said General David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command. “This is of serious concern to me and to the other commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan because, indeed, it conveys a perception that is absolutely contrary to what it is that we have sought to do,” Petraeus told a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It is disturbing to us, frankly, that this was done,” he added.
The company while saying it would stop the inscriptions and provide modification kits, defended the practice in a statement Wednesday saying it included the biblical references as “part of our faith and our belief in service to our country.”
(I’m really trying to figure how this connects to “our faith.” Is the message “God bless you as I blow your brains out” or is there some hidden, spiritually subliminal effect upon the eye & brain of the shooter as one aims & fires? Does it act as a magic talisman and guide the bullet better? Is this really how God intended us to employ his eternal, life & light-giving Word?)