Georgia Bill Will Put “In God We Trust” On All License Plates

-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”

  1. I think Elaine….

    In your case it should be “What Would Grandma Do”….

  2. best way to see georgia? in the rearview mirror

    how is it you never see Ray Charles hit the mic with his face.

  3. I think that the decision is correct for the most part: “in God We Trust” doesn’t have any meaning, doesn’t mean anything. Even “In Money We Trust” is getting shaky.
    The Christians might be able to lodge a complaint on the grounds of trademark violation, but, like “Windows”, the word God is probably too generic to be protected.
    Possibly the atheists could lodge a complaint, under Equal Protection, and ask for a “In the Big Bang We Trust” sticker at no charge.

    Can motorists deface the license plate… thinking… “in Dog We Trust”?

  4. I think I’ll request that Massachusetts print the following question on our state’s license plates: What would Jesus drive?

  5. Even though I personally am a devout christian, and I certainly get annoyed from the hand political correctness plays in every decision by our government, I don’t think a bill like this has any place in the legislature. Inappropriate bills like this waste our tax dollars and distract from the real issues in society. The sensible thing to do would be to institute a plain license plate with only the state name and county name etc. then leave it up to customization by the people

  6. “Secularists should demand a plate with “E Pluribus Unum” on it. It would drive the secessionists crazier, assuming they understand what it means.”

    Quiet chuckle

    Could this be a move to identify those awful atheists who are not to be trusted?

    I’d pay to have their superstitious, vanity, diety motto replaced with the one from the Great Seal: ” NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM”

    NOVUS means new, young, novel, or renewed.
    ORDO means order, row, or series.
    SECLORUM means ages, generations, or centuries.
    An accurate translation of Novus Ordo Seclorum is “A New Order of the Ages”

    (MDCCLXXVI at the bottom of the Pyramid is the date of the Declaration … “The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence and the words under it signify the beginning of the new American Æra, which commences from that date.” – Charles Thomson, the Founding Father chosen by Continental Congress to come up with the final design for the Great Seal of the United States – 1782)

  7. We really should be debating the privacy implications of why a State can compel people to display license plates in the first place.

    I was hoping the guest bloggers picked up on two items from the week that I thought were relevant in terms of law and society. Since I haven’t seen either of these:

    Obama backs restrictions on morning-after pill

    WASHINGTON – President Obama said Thursday that he supported the Department of Health and Human Services overruling an FDA decision to allow an emergency morning-after contraceptive pill to be sold to girls younger than 17 without a prescription.

    While I think the FDA is a tool of big pharma and politicians alike, it is absurd that the Obama administration would claim that the government has the right to deny teens privacy and control over their bodies.

    Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front

    As the unmanned aircraft circled 2 miles overhead the next morning, sophisticated sensors under the nose helped pinpoint the three suspects and showed they were unarmed. Police rushed in and made the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator, the spy drone that has helped revolutionize modern warfare.

    But that was just the start. Local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June.

    These surveillance tactics must be challenged. These drones are incompatible with a free society.

  8. Seems we have enough to form our own congregation. How this phrase has no theological connotation is unreal until you consider that the wise black robes say a corporation is a person and GWB would have been harmed if he was not installed a president. Although my birth certificate says Elgin, Illinois we know that these document can be faked. My American citizenship is questionable as I seem to remember GHWB excommunicated all unbelievers. I was always live and let live (how about that for a motto?) but like rcampbell I am getting a tad angry with the trend.

  9. Another distinction, for whatever it’s worth: the “Davidson County Government Center” is a governmental building. The national motto being inscribed on a governmental building is a lot different than requiring me to post the motto on my personal property — my automobile — for the priviege of driving..

    It may be a bit closer re the coins and bills, The license plates seem to be governmental property as much as the currency and the government being permitted to place the motto thereon. But no one is forced to display the coins or bills on their personal property,

    Even if the purpose is non-religious, private individuals are being forced to post on thier private property a political statement.

    Does the protection of the free speech (forget the establishment clause) protect against forced speech?

  10. But remember, to not allow them to force everyone to advertize this one particular set of beliefs would be evidence that Christians are the real persecuted group.

  11. Nal, you are welcome. It just happened that I recalled that case from when it was handed down. One of those factoids that gets stuck in your head.

  12. OS,

    Thanks for pointing out Wooley v. Maynard. I would have included it in the post if I’d have known about it. Except for the state versus national motto, it seems on point. Maybe there is hope.

  13. Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U.S. 705 (1977) was a lawsuit brought against the state of New Hampshire by a Jehovah’s Witness.

    The SCOTUS ruled that New Hampshire could not constitutionally require citizens to display the state motto upon their vehicle license plates when the state motto was offensive to their moral convictions. The New Hampshire state motto is “Live Free or Die.”

  14. I’m getting pretty damned sick and tired of these fundamentalist Christians who keep trying to force their radical Taliban-esque agenda on America in un-Constitutional ways and then whine that their being persecuted. In our Constitution We Trust.

  15. Ah…Not an endorsement…Yeah…..right….1$ you say…Do you know if atheist get a break…..

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