Michigan-based defence contractor Trijicon will voluntarily stop putting references to scripture on combat rifle sights made for the US military operating in Afghanistan.

Coded references to biblical passages which include “2COR4:6” and “JN8:12” from the books of Corinthians and John had been added to the rifle sights for more than 20 years.

It became an issue recently when soldiers complained to the US Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), an advocacy group that works to ensure religious freedom is maintained in the army.

US Central Command commander General David Petraeus said the references were a “big concern” of the US Army, which has contracts for the scopes.

Trijicon, in a written statement, said it would provide 100 modification kits to the Pentagon free of charge to enable the removal of the references that are on products that are currently deployed.