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SC House Uses Government to Create Christian License Plates. No Jewish Plates. No Muslim Plates. No Pagan Plates. No Buddhist Plates.

The South Carolina House has passed a bill on a 109-to-0 vote to put a Christian cross and the phrase “I Believe” on the state’s license plates.

‘I Believe’ Special License Plates

Section 56-3-10110. The Department of Motor Vehicles may issue ‘I Believe’ special motor vehicle license plates to owners of private motor vehicles registered in their names. The plate must contain the words ‘I Believe’ and a cross superimposed on a stained glass window. The biennial fee for this special license plate is the same as the fee provided in Article 5, Chapter 3 of this title. The guidelines for the production of this special license plate must meet the requirements contained in Section 56-3-8100.”

SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

Governor Mark Sanford’s office says “We certainly don’t have a problem with what it says,” and looks prepared to give final approval to the bill.

Under this plan, South Carolina won’t offer Jewish license plates. No Muslim license plates either. No Pagan plates. No Buddhist plates. Just Christian plates. Only Christians will get their special plates.

Using the tools of government to empower the spread of Christian messages but not other messages about religion? That’s not only unconstitutional. It’s parochial. It’s insecure. It’s also tacky. With its tasteless religious bigotry, South Carolina sends the message that it is a place best avoided. If I were religious, I’d be getting down on my knees right now and praying, “Please, Lord, whatever you do, don’t send me to South Carolina!”

12 comments to SC House Uses Government to Create Christian License Plates. No Jewish Plates. No Muslim Plates. No Pagan Plates. No Buddhist Plates.

  • AT

    So where is all this persecution that Christians are always crying about? Seems like they are trying to infiltrate every public office to further their agenda to create an American Taliban, where Christian zealots force Christianity down the throats of the rest of us.
    My beliefs don’t require others to recognize them. My beliefs don’t require that others respect them. Why do Christians need everyone else to validate their religion for them? Is their faith inherently so weak and feeble?

  • Fruktata

    You’re right, AT. If God exists, then these Christians in South Carolina are proving that he is a welfare queen who can’t get along without a government handout.

  • Tom

    Hey, isn’t this a Hillary state?

  • who cares

    Who cares. I’m not a christian and i guess i just dont give a crap. Why should you? If the jews and humanists and muslims wanted special plates, then they can make the effort to make that happen – that is what america is about. Just because there are no other religious plates on the bill doesn’t mean that they will be disallowed. But yeah, go down south with muslim plates and see how quickly your windows get bashed in. Outside the big fancy cities, this country is undeniably hard core christian.

  • Yeah, and who cares about that? I mean, it’s not like non-Christians need the freedom to live outside the big cities, right? Why should anyone give a crap if people in huge regions of the United States have their property destroyed and are threatened with violence for not belonging to Christianity? Golly, what’s the big deal about that?

    Who cares? I care.

  • Anonymous

    “Hey, isn’t this a Hillary state?”
    no. Clinton=27%, Obama 55%. More to the point,
    Huckabee=30%.
    http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/state/#SC

  • Mark

    You should understand that license plate designs here in SC are basically up for sale. After a court ruling declared “Choose Life” was unconstitutional because pro-abortion groups did not have a similar plate for their cause, a new law passed in 2006 allows any group that can come up with $4000 or pre-orders for 400 plates to have their message on a license plate. The group will get part of the proceeds from every plate sold. License plates are no longer viewed as an endorsement by the state government. I doubt it will be long before we’ll start seeing license plates with commercial messages.

  • Jim

    Well, that’s partially true, but commercial messages are not permitted by the policy, which you can see here. It’s only available to nonprofits; there is a specific prohibition of use for commercial expression. The policy also specifies that the plates are still deemed messages of the state:

    Designs displayed on state license plates are approved by the State for display to all audiences on the public highways and are the sole responsibility of the State. While the Department can be flexible in considering a range of potential specialty license plates, the public must also be protected from state action that might be construed as using taxpayer-generated funding to create messages or impressions that are not appropriate for a governmental entity.

    This policy is also intended to protect the Department, as a public entity acting on behalf of all the citizens, from allegations that it improperly sponsored partisan messages, divisive positions, or inappropriate language or designs.

    There are prohibitions in the SC license plate policy for unconstitutional, partisan material and material that may be offensive to others, all of which are reasons why an “I believe” Christian cross license plate is a no-no currently. The bill I reference is set to change that, but only for Christian religious license plates.

  • Mark

    I did not know these details. I think you’re right that these plates violate the law.

  • Mark

    I have written a letter to SC Governor Sanford urging him to veto this bill.

  • Jim

    Hey, thanks, Mark!

    I’m wondering: if this bill gets signed into law, do you know of any non-profit organization that might be willing to make a point by filing for an unpopular religion to get a license plate? A Wiccan group, perhaps? I’d be more than happy to try and help drum up funding for that kind of cause. It would make for an interesting legal and cultural test.

  • AT

    I would gladly contribute for “I believe – flying spaghetti monster” license plates.
    Let’s do it!

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