Fargo Native Wants ISNOGOD License Plate May 22, 2010

Fargo Native Wants ISNOGOD License Plate

Fargo native Brian Magee is an atheist who wants to get the license plate ISNOGOD, but North Dakota officials rejected his request.

It looks like Magee has a good defense, though. He has photos of license plates from the state reading: PRZZGOD, ILOVGOD and TRI GOD. He’s written an appeal letter to the state’s Department of Transportation in which he explains his thinking:

“(I)f the state only allows one point of view on religion to be expressed on its property (the license plates), then it is an endorsement of that point of view,” Magee wrote.

Magee proposes two solutions in his letter: the approval of his license plate application or the recall of plates with a religious point of view. He said he would prefer if the state chose the recall option.

This is an easy case for the state. Say you made a mistake earlier, apologize for it, and let the man have his plate.

So, how do you think state officials will screw this up…?

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  • Amanda

    Somehow they’ll decide atheism is a religion, or they’ll decide that because atheism is a lack of belief, it’s not really a “two sides to the argument” kind of thing.

  • Tony Miller

    The state will reject his request saying his plate idea would be offensive to christians. The argument will be that his idea doesn’t confirm any religious belief but instead attacks another one.

    He might be able to get LuvBuda or PrzAlah or some variation of those. If the tried ISNOALA it would be rejected as well.

    I hope he gets it though.

  • The easy answer to that one is of course – “I find PRZGOD offensive – are you going to do anything about that?”

  • Brian Westley

    I actually think they’ll issue the plate. This kind of thing has cropped up before, and that’s what typically happens.

  • Luther


  • JD

    I don’t think it makes sense to recall someone else’s plates.

  • Nick

    People have had their plates recalled before, just because somebody reported it as offensive. I wouldn’t say it’s common. But anyway I think they’ll issue it.

    Although if this was particular court they might declare that “God” is not a religious symbol/word so “PRZZGOD” does not endorsing a religious point of view. But “ISNOGOD” is still offensive.

  • fritzy

    I don’t think ND really has a good reason not to issue this plate.

    That said, just because you can put something on your license plate doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Even though I am an open atheist, I find such displays to be as obnoxious as religous license plates (such as PRZGOD, LOVGOD.)

    With the amount of road rage and vandalism out there, these kinds of things just seem like an invitation for destruction to person and or property. I don’t even put political stickers on my car as I see no sense in needlessly pissing off half of the population for no other reason than to self-indulgently provide, to every stranger on the road, the unsolicited report of the candidate for whom I plan to vote.

    ISNOGOD–Ok, I get it; you’re an atheist; so what.

  • Alan McGowan

    censorship is evil, it tries to maintain that its OK to repress free speech because it would offend some parties, when its impossible to say who if anyone would be offended. Beyond that, words have never hurt anyone. You can not kill someone with words no matter how obscene they are. The person(s) responsible for the rejection of this plate should be jailed for violation of this mans first ammendment rights.

  • Jagyr

    @ Alan McGowan –

    Playing devil’s advocate, but how do you feel about the nationwde ban on plates that say FUCKYOU ?

    I don’t think they shouldve censored his plate, but I don’t think free speech should fully apply to license plates, in the same way it doesn’t fully apply to radio or TV broadcasts (George Carlin’s seven words).

  • Similar thing happened in Florida a few years back, with positive results:

  • Krista

    While I agree that he should be able to have the plate, he’s just asking to have his car vandalized by Xtians. The longest a Darwin fish has ever lasted on my vehicle is 2 months, with the shortest time being less than 24 hours. Someone always rips them off, and on more than one occasion has poured a coke or keyscratched my car in the process. When I had a beater, I didn’t mind so much, but now that I have a new sports car, I’m thinking I’ll keep it free from graphics that incite Christians to acts of vandalism.

  • Dan W

    I think the easiest thing for N.D. officials to do would be to just give him the plates.

    I doubt I’d get special license plates that reference my atheism. Those usually cost extra money, and it’s easier to put a Darwin fish on it or something similar. I’d be worried about vandalizism by Christians though. I don’t have a car, but when I do get one I’d be more likely to get a Darwin fish than special plates, if I put anything like that on it.

  • Liudvikas

    I fail to understand the wish for putting various political or religious displays on your cars. Thats just asking for trouble. You’re just pissing a lot of people off and sooner or later there will be some asshole daring to vandalize your car.

    Of course if he’s not afraid of that, then he should totally get that plate.

  • Rupert

    @everyone saying he’s asking for trouble, or the like.

    Why should being proud of your ideals asking for trouble?
    Now I know as well as any that people are irrational and that vandalism does happen, but avoiding a public statement out of fear of repercussion is sad at best, dangerous at worst.

    Civil rights do not improve by quietly observing the status quo. They improve by taking a stand.

    When I was in the USA, for example, I felt like a second class citizen (figure of speech, not being a U.S. citizen at all!) as an atheist. This will only change through constant positive effort.

  • Heh. Most pessimistic outcome – the state will recall every plate that has to do with god or religion.

    In the recall letter, they’ll blame it all on “a local atheist” and will point out Brian by name.

  • Bob Carlson

    Tonight I saw a Virginia Choose Life plate. It seems to me that this also crosses the line of separation between church and state.

  • As a former Fargoan (is that really a word?), I’ve been following this story. Looks like he’s got his plate!


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