Americans United for Separation of Church and State today announced the settlement of a lawsuit that will give a New Jersey resident the right to receive a personalized license plate that reads “8THEIST.”
A New Jersey woman who was denied a vanity license plate that reads “8THEIST” may proceed with her lawsuit, a federal court ruled recently.
In a suit filed by Americans United in April 2014 on behalf of Leesburg, N.J., resident Shannon Morgan, AU said the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission demeaned atheists, like Morgan, and favored religion over non-belief when it rejected the specialized plate.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today that Texas is permitted to broadly control the messages on specialty license plates is disappointing, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Texas has a license plate program that allows private organizations to design specialty plates, subject to state approval. State officials refused to issue members of the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans a plate depicting the Confederate flag on the ground that “many members of the general public find [it] offensive.”
The state of Texas cannot broadly censor the messages on specialty license plates, Americans United for Separation of Church and State argued in a brief filed before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.
This July 4, the Rev. Dr. Neal Jones, a plaintiff in AU's lawsuit involving the "I Believe" license plates, reminded South Carolinians of our Founding Fathers' hope to preserve religious liberty for all.
Along with ensuring religious liberty, the First Amendment protects the freedom of speech. Thanks to the Internet, people can exercise their freedom of speech faster than ever, and Americans United heard from a bevy of them yesterday after we filed a lawsuit in South Carolina against the state's new "I Believe" license plate.
I frequently see people driving around in cars, trucks, SUVs, etc. who want me to know about their strong Christian faith. Their bumper stickers proclaim it, as do their little Christian fish symbols. I even saw a guy this weekend who felt compelled to make a giant fish symbol out of reflective tape for his door.
It's fine with me. It's your car, so go ahead and use it to spread whatever message you like.
But understand that the government can't help you. Thus, putting a cross on a state license plate goes too far.