PA Bureau of Motor Vehicles Accepts “ATHE1ST” Vanity Plate, Calling Earlier Rejection an “Error” October 20, 2016

PA Bureau of Motor Vehicles Accepts “ATHE1ST” Vanity Plate, Calling Earlier Rejection an “Error”

I posted yesterday about how the Pennsylvania Bureau of Motor Vehicles rejected three vanity license plates suggestions from Jeffrey Prebeg, Jr.: “ATHE1ST,” “NO GOD,” and “N0 G0D.”


While they have the right to reject offensive, obscene suggestions, none of those three fit the bill. Even if you want to make the case that “No God” is somehow offensive to theists, what’s wrong with “atheist”? This was just a knee-jerk response to someone who wasn’t religious and proud of it.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote a letter to the government office yesterday requesting a specific explanation of the rejection.

And just like that, the BMV is changing its tune.

In a blog post recounting the past 48 hours, Jeffrey says that the FFRF letter and subsequent media attention may have done the trick.

A few hours later… the journalist [writing about the license plate controversy] contacted me and asked how my visit with the photographer went. She also notified me that she contacted PennDOT and asked about the situation. They told her that it was an employee error and that they’ve tried calling me and are sending me a letter to tell me they will issue ATHE1ST to me. And honestly, as I was writing this up I got another phone call from “NO CALLER ID” (Which every atheist would answer right after the media proclaims him an out of the closet atheist *raspberries*). This time I answered and Scott from PennDOT wished to inform me that they noticed I requested a vanity plate, and that after an “internal review” they deemed it was denied in error and that my plate would be issued. I thanked him, wished him a good day and hung up.

It was just an innocent mistake, you see?! Totally a coincidence that someone requesting explicitly pro-atheist plates had all three suggestions rejected. Could’ve happened to anyone, I’m sure.

But you can bet your ass it won’t happen again. That’s because Jeffrey (“Your newest Pennsylvania ATHE1ST”) was willing to fight this battle instead of just letting it go.

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