As I mentioned last week, Arizona citizens have been inadvertently funding a Christian hate group whenever they pay the fee for the specialty “In God We Trust” license plate. It’s not public knowledge that a large portion of that fee goes to Alliance Defending Freedom, and State Sen. Juan Mendez has filed two bill intended to make that knowledge transparent and put a kibosh on that particular plate being used to fund anything.
Now he’s working with atheist groups to make this issue even more public.
American Atheists and the Secular Coalition for Arizona are launching a billboard campaign today that encourages Arizonans to learn more about the issue. AA paid for the ad, which will appear in three locations in Phoenix through March.
… It displays an Arizona “In God We Trust” license plate with the number “ADF-H8.” The billboard raises the question, “Is Your License Plate Funding Hate?” and directs the viewer to visit LicensePlateHate.org for more information…
“Public awareness about ADF’s hate-inspired schemes is thankfully on the rise. However, few people realize that the license plate law funding ADF fits into a larger, dangerous Christian nationalist legislative campaign called Project Blitz,” said Nick Fish, president of American Atheists, the national atheist organization building opposition to Project Blitz with its BlitzWatch.org campaign.
“Project Blitz pushes seemingly innocuous bills similar to Arizona’s ‘In God We Trust’ license plate law in the hopes of building enough momentum to pass anti-equality legislation. However, Arizona’s law, which predates Project Blitz, is the first law we’ve seen that directly funds a hate group like ADF,” added Fish.
“What’s even worse about the Arizona license plates is that there is absolutely no disclosure about where the money goes when drivers purchase these specialty plates,” said Tory Roberg, the director of government affairs for Secular AZ, an advocacy organization working to raise public awareness about license plate dollars going to ADF.
“We need some reasonable criteria for which organizations the state sends money to, and I think a pretty legitimate starting point is that we shouldn’t include hate groups. It’s inexcusable that we’ve already sent a million dollars to an organization that’s stripping rights from LGBTQ people,” said Mendez.
Mendez appeared with representatives from atheist and progressive religious groups along with ones supporting LGBTQ equality at a press conference this morning to announce the campaign. More than $1 million has been given to ADF through this program. Not another penny should make it into their hateful hands.
I’m curious if there will be any pushback to Mendez’s bills. There’s nothing controversial about asking for transparency with regards to how taxpayer money is being spent.