South Carolina “I Believe” Plates Halted… For Good, This Time November 11, 2009

South Carolina “I Believe” Plates Halted… For Good, This Time

Last time the South Carolina license plates which promote Christianity were in the courtroom, an injunction was handed down, preventing the plates from being issued.

Nearly a year later, the plates were back in the courtroom, and this time, the same judge says the plates are unconstitutional (PDF):

Whether motivated by sincerely held Christian beliefs or an effort to purchase political capital with religious coin, the result is the same,” Currie wrote. “The statute is clearly unconstitutional and defense of its implementation has embroiled the state in unnecessary (and expensive) litigation.

Besides the obvious reason this there is an entanglement of church and state, why is the plate a bad idea? Because not all faiths get the same opportunity. Some state legislators even said they “would not vote for similar plates for minority faiths.”

Meanwhile, there’s no problem with the “In Reason We Trust” plates sponsored by the Secular Humanists of the Low Country. If you want it, you pay for it. Taxpayer money isn’t involved.

For some reason, the Christians pushing this “I Believe” plate think everyone else ought to pay for promotion of their religion. It’s pathetic and it’s illegal.

Thankfully, the judge has now put a stop to it.

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  • Scott H

    It is astonishing that it had to come to this. How is it that SC *lawmakers* are so unaware of what is legal under the Constitution? How could anyone think this case would be resolved differently than this?

    Lawmakers who vote for laws that are determined to be unconstitutional on their face need to be assigned ‘demerit points’ or something. Once a congressman has collected too many of those, he is disqualified to for further service.

  • N

    So, I didn’t follow this story from the beginning – was this going to be on all standard plates, or was it a specialty plate that people could choose and pay extra for?

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Whether motivated by sincerely held Christian beliefs or an effort to purchase political capital with religious coin

    Way to call them out. No Scalian wink-wink-nudge-nudge.

  • TXatheist

    They had this discussion on AM 590 in Austin and the most conservative fundy on there was saying that Texas should show them a thing or two and create the plate as it’s freedom of religion to show a personal message. This idiot, Sam Cox, sees no difference in the state making this plate and the private car owner buying a bumper sticker. He says both are a choice and paid for with his money. Do mess with Texas

  • I am really pleased each time I hear of another separation of state and church victory.

  • TXatheist

    N, it’s a optional plate for about $30.

  • I don’t have a problem with vanity plates, so long as enough choice is available. If the only religious choice is the believe one, that’s not fair to other groups that might want a similar way to advertise their faith on cars without having to resort to stickers. I’m glad to see the judge knocked this down again.

  • SC already has a plate that reads “In god we trust”…one of the reasons for the “In Reason We Trust”. Another christian plate was just a bit over the top.

  • Staceyjw

    What ever happened to plain old license plates?
    Xtians just HAVE to have their symbols on everything, how irritating. They can’t leave state functions alone, even on something as lowly as a license plate!
    I’m glad they got a “reason” plate to counter this. They need one with a star and crecent- this would piss them off I’m sure 🙂

  • Now if only the courts here in Indiana hadn’t upheld the ridiculous “In God We Trust” license plates as constitutional.

    Of course the look on the lady’s face at the BMV when I told her why I’d rather not have those new plates was almost worth the steady erosion of the establishment clause.

  • TXatheist

    Andrew, I agree, TX offers God Bless Texas and God Bless America but nothing remotely different than that. I’m tempted to order the damn thing and cross out the letter b and insert a dash between the d and l.

  • Off topic, but here’s a POLL regarding Cincinnati’s atheist billboard…

  • littlejohn

    Andrew, I too am a Hoosier.
    Our plates, which do not cost extra, unlike other vanity plates, say “In God We Trust.”
    For a while, the Motor Vehicles people were actually pushing them on people who didn’t express a preference for the secular plates. That much has ended.
    I just can’t believe the courts haven’t ended this.

  • Matto the Hun

    Thanks gettingfree, for the link, always good to Pharangulate a poll.

    Sadly I need to learn to stop reading the comments on these types of stories. The massive amount of Christian-based stupidity makes me throw-up in my mouth a little.

  • Majority didn’t win this round of trying to unite church/state relations.

    Good for this judge.

  • muggle

    Woo hoo!!!

  • Rachael

    I’m from Indiana too, and when I got new plates this summer, the lady got me one of the “In God We Trust” plates. When I asked for the other ones, she gave me the dirtiest look I have ever seen.

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