Florida lawmakers debate offering a Christian license plate

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Florida drivers can order more than 100 specialty license plates celebrating everything from manatees to the Miami Heat, but one now under consideration would be the first in the nation to explicitly promote a specific religion.
The Florida Legislature is considering a specialty plate with a design that includes a Christian cross, a stained-glass window and the words "I Believe."

Rep. Edward Bullard, the plate's sponsor, said people who "believe in their college or university" or "believe in their football team" already have license plates they can buy. The new design is a chance for others to put a tag on their cars with "something they believe in," he said.

If the plate is approved, Florida would become the first state to have a license plate featuring a religious symbol that's not part of a college logo. Approval would almost certainly face a court challenge.

The problem with the state manufacturing the plate is that it "sends a message that Florida is essentially a Christian state" and, second, gives the "appearance that the state is endorsing a particular religious preference," said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture

8 Comments
Posted April 25, 2008 at 5:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. drummie wrote:

Every time I see something like this come up and the ACLU or some atheist group screams violation of the constitution.  If it weren’t for some liberl left wing justices that tried to give away our heritage, this would not be the case.  The founding fathers had no concept of some of the challenges brought for “seperation of church and state”.  There is NO SUCH provision in the constitution.  The first amendment guarantees several things, one is free speech.  The other is that the state shall not create or establish a religion, but it wlso guarantees that the state shall NOT PROHIBIT the free exercise there of.  The first amendment to the constitution is available in several places on the web.  Read it and see for yourself where do these ideas come from.  I think we all need to ask any politician running for any office from local town council to POTUS where they stand on this, and push for appointees to the supreme court that actually belive the constitution, and not some left wing claptrap about prayer or display of religious jewelry etc.  Then we might have FREEDOM OF RELIGION.  It is time we all took the attitude displayed by Mel Gibson in Bravehart during the execution scene of FREEDOM!

April 25, 7:40 am | [comment link]
2. NoVA Scout wrote:

Yeah, Drummie, some of what you say in principle has an appeal, but how cheesy and trivializing to our faith is it to attach it visibly to the state’s paid-your-car-dues indicators.  Sounds like some local political yob trolling for cheap votes from his Christian constituents.  We’re such easy marks for those types.  I’m willing to let Caesar have his stinking license plates all to himself.

April 25, 8:43 am | [comment link]
3. Harvey wrote:

I sort of expected the ACLU to join the fight-they did.  They seem to try their best to get in on these squabbles.  Now I will have to look for a plate holder that glorifies God instead of the auto dealer.

April 25, 11:19 am | [comment link]
4. The young fogey wrote:

Freedom of religion not freedom from religion. If the state doesn’t ban Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist etc. customised numberplates then there’s no problem with this.

Blog.

April 25, 12:02 pm | [comment link]
5. Irenaeus wrote:

Remember the Wiccan grave marker!

April 25, 3:44 pm | [comment link]
6. Br. Michael wrote:

In any event the legislation failed.

April 26, 8:12 am | [comment link]
7. NoVA Scout wrote:

YF:  given the govermental nature of license plate, I would think that to pass constitutional muster the state would have to affirmatively offer license plates to all those other religions.  Not banning them would not be sufficient.  I’d be curious to see a study on whether Hindus, Muslims, etc. would be as interested (or uninterested) in pasting their religions on state tax markers as Christians.

April 26, 9:21 am | [comment link]
8. libraryjim wrote:

Iwouldn’t have bought one anyway.  I have a St. Peter’s magnet on my car, and if I wanted to go further, I could have a front plate (Fl. cars, contrary to Hollywood’s versions*, only have rear official plates) or a plate frame.

*Both “CSI:Miami” and “The A-Team” showed Florida cars with FRONT and back license plates. There may have been others.

April 26, 10:56 pm | [comment link]
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