-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
If Republican Sen. Bill Heath’s bill, Senate Bill 293, is enacted the phrase “In God We Trust” will be printed in the area where the county name used to go. While many states sell, at an extra cost, specialty plate with the phrase, the Georgia plate will be the default plate.
A decal with the issuing county’s name may be purchased to cover the phrase “In God We Trust.” Currently, a $1 “In God We Trust” sticker can be purchased and placed over the county name. The new law reverses that procedure.
Any legal challenge to the phrase is unlikely to prevail.
In North Carolina, the Davidson County Government Center had the phrase “In God We Trust” inscribed on its facade. In the legal challenge, Lambeth v. Board of Commissioners, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found no Establishment Clause violation:
We have heretofore characterized the phrase, “In God We Trust,” when used as the national motto on coins and currency, as a “patriotic and ceremonial motto” with “no theological or ritualistic impact.”
The Supreme Court denied cert, so the Fourth Circuit’s ruling stands.
The case of Aronow v. United States challenged the use of “In God We Trust” by the United States Government on its coinage, currency, claiming an Establishment Clause violation. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sidestepped the District Court’s ruling that the plaintiff lacked standing and ruled on the merits of the case. The Ninth Circuit held:
It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency “In God We Trust” has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of a patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise.
Again, the Supreme Court denied cert, so the Ninth Circuit’s ruling stands.
However, for secular residents of Georgia there is an alternative. There are numerous specialty plates, at an extra fee, where the “In God We Trust” phrase is left off in favor of a slogan related to the cause being pushed.
Secularists should demand a plate with “E Pluribus Unum” on it. It would drive the secessionists crazier, assuming they understand what it means.
“In God We Trust” is a religious expression masquerading as a national motto. If you do not trust in God, then you’re not one of us.
H/T: Secular News Daily, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kent Jones, Austin Cline.
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24 thoughts on “Georgia Bill Will Put “In God We Trust” On All License Plates”
I agree with martingugino – “I feel that proper rule is that the purpose of the plate is for vehicle regulation, and the state cannot compel acceptance of any usage not related to that purpose.”
Oops. Sorry. But for the record.
Since (we) won in Maynard, the poodle sticker business is unnecessary.
Also the various auto dealers, at least in NY, have plate holders that obscure parts of the plate, displaying instead the name of the dealership. I remember that the commotion years ago in NY was that NYDOT said “do not” cover the plate with plastic, even if you are trying to prevent rust.
If you disagree with this:
“We have heretofore characterized the phrase, “In God We Trust,” when used as the national motto on coins and currency, as a “patriotic and ceremonial motto” with “no theological or ritualistic impact.””
Consider if you’ve ever claimed that Christmas, or Christmas Trees, or Santa Claus are secular holidays or secular symbols.
I consider such claims to be a non sequitur.
Henry – thanks for noticing the Wikipedia article and posting it.
Regarding Maynard: thank God for crackpots, or thank Dog, as the case may be.
The dissent had a point, a weak point, a pointless point, that you could note your disagreement with the “live free or die” slogan on some other part of your vehicle, or possibly even in some blank spot on the plate. I feel that proper rule is that the purpose of the plate is for vehicle regulation, and the state cannot compel acceptance of any usage not related to that purpose.
If anyone is interested in marketing little “doggie” stickers in Alabama (I am thinking poodles), please contact me. I think it could be a money maker, possibly enough to pay the legal bills.
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