• Nov 11th 2009 at 3:40PM
  • 196

The proposed South Carolina plate would have looked something like Florida's (pictured above)

Last year, the South Carolina state legislature approved a bill to establish a Christian-themed license plate depicting a cross in front of a stained-glass window and bearing the words "I Believe". The vote spurred public advocacy groups into action, decrying the move as a violation of the separation of church and state.

According to the Associated Press, a similar bill in Florida failed to pass into law, and now a U.S. district court has struck down the license plate in South Carolina as a First Amendment violation. In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie took specific aim at the state's Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, the driving force behind the initiative, calling the move "an effort to purchase political capital with religious coin."

In addition to banning the plate, Judge Currie also ordered the state to reimburse the legal expenses of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, two groups which fought against the initiative and were, if you'll pardon the pun, decidedly cross.

[Sources: The Associated Press; The New York Times]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Posts on religion and politics get a huge number of comments here.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If you're so keen to tell everyone what a big Jesus lover you are, then put a bumper sticker on your car. That's what bumpers were invented for!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here in South Carolina we've had an "In God We Trust" plate for several years at no additional cost. The design contains the U.S. and SC flags. AFAIK, it's still available.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The thing against the seperation of church and state, goes way back to when the church had the power to order kings around. They even literally had to power to dethrone a king. Also something I kick hard about, is the fact that I would bet that if it were some other religion than Christian, it would be accepted. I might hear that they would be offended if it wasnt used . Well sorry about that, but our country was based on Christian ideals and beliefs. I say tough. Unless you want to believe that our founding fathers were actually in a cult like the Masonic lodge, and that Benjamin Franklin was practicing satanic rituals while attending meetings with the Hellfire club. Yes, I do agree though that plates produced by the state should have a state theme. Privately bought vanity plates though, are another thing and should not be stopped.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The plate is just symbolic. God is alive and he doesn't need a plate, bumper sticker or anything else to be in existance. He also doesn't need us to cram Him down the unbelievers throat but if we're lucky He will use us to point the lost towards Him. He loves me, and He loves you unconditionally and He will meet us right where we are. Jesus was despised then, and He's despised now...but only by those who don't know Him. True freedom comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ!!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is the stupidest thing I ever heard. There is no separation of church and state anywhere in this country's laws. It was merely in a letter from Thomas Jefferson.

      This country is going down the hole...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ah if this one is going down the hole, then move to the Middle East or Afghanistan, where the laws are more Old Testament.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tony I suggested Google for you & your friends to show that Separation of Church & State is more than a letter from Jefferson (as you stated...). Its in the 1st Amendment & countless writings from our Founding Fathers.

        Religion was a big reason for them establishing the USA. No religion got favored status... choose anyone or NONE at all!!! England had issues with you NOT going to church & ask the Irish what the British thought of their religion.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah I am seriously considering it. It is such a tragedy what the socialists are doing to this country!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tony: Its more than an informal letter from Jefferson & if you don't grasp it try reading this:

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ... - a section from the First Amendment

        Google is your friend Tony!!!

        • 5 Years Ago
        Look at the context. It is not the same. Don't trust everything you google. Spend the time and do the research.

        "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" -- this was to prevent the government for *establishing a religion*. An optional plate or a cross in a cemetery is not establishing a religion. Look into the Church of England.

        In fact atheism is considered a religion by the government - and it is in fact being established - even though there is no such thing.

        "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" - isn't that what purchasing the plate was about?

        The problem, if you read the article, is that taxpayers were forced to pay for the legal fees of the groups that brought the suit. So I effectively had to pay for atheism to be the state religion.

        • 5 Years Ago
        You are right in that for a state which supposedly separates between the states and the churches business, american presidents and other manifestations of the state sure appear to involve religion as often as possible.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is just common sense. Meanwhile, just get one of those jesus fish or one of many religious bumper stickers to express what a hypocrite you are by the way you drive. :o)
        • 5 Years Ago
        way to judge a group based on stereotypes...bad drivers come in all faiths, even athiest!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hopefully they will continue religious plates. It allows me to give the nut jobs and pedophiles a wide berth. There is nothing better at identifying someone with psychological disorders, unless they have that stupid fish, or God is my co-pilot sticker.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Care to paint all Muslims with one brush, while you're at it? How about Jews?


        Then you're no better.

        As for this license plate, I agree that the state shouldn't be making money by selling religious symbols. It's silly and cynical and not appropriate.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it really hurting anyone to have a cross and the words "I believe" on a license plate? If this is the way it is, make it equal. No other religious group or fratenal organization may have their symbols or sayings on any license plate either. I'm sick and tired of seeing other religions portrayed in public, but mention the name of God or Jesus Christ and it's struck down. If God cannot be portrayed on a license plate, then no other religion, regardless of what they believe, or organzation may do it either. Make it equal, and allow it or don't allow it for anyone.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is so silly. Why does anyone care what one has on their plates? I have seen some very close to obscene plates on cars and nothing was said or done, so why not allow a person who believes to express it on their plates.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The constitution clearly states that "separation of church and state" was to keep the government out of religion, not to keep religion away from government. How much longer is God supposed to tolerate this nonsense? And God forbid that Arabs should be offended, why are we not offended when they encourage violence against Americans? Have you heard that the mosuqe that the Ft Hood terrorist attended was also linked to three of the 9/11 hijackers? Stand up America and think for yourselves, stop listening to the liberal media.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Do you understand where "separation of church and state" is found?
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