License plates can be great ways for states to show off their history, but as Oklahoma has realized, they can create some drama, too. In this case, Keith Cressman is attempting to sue the state over the depiction of the "Sacred Arrow Rain" sculpture used on the official Oklahoma license plates.

This sculpture shows a Native American warrior shooting an arrow at the sky in the hopes of a rain god bringing rain, and Cressman, who is identified as a Christian, feels this is a violation of his First Amendment rights because he is forced either to display an image he finds offensive or pay extra money for a plate he finds more acceptable. The state does issue an "In God We Trust" license plate, but at an initial cost of $18 and an annual renewal fee of $16.50).

Cressman's case was originally dismissed in 2012 at the district court level, but that dismissal was reversed earlier this week by the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals because it felt the license plate constituted an act of compelled speech. Thus, the case itself is far from decided, but Mr. Cressman has now been granted permission to pursue it.

Of course, license plates are no stranger to controversy, particularly when it comes to people being offended by what's on them. Offense is most often generated by vanity plates that display something others don't want to read, like the case of this bean-curd-loving Tennessee woman who wasn't allowed to display a plate reading "ILOVETOFU," or this Georgian man whose gay pride was too hot for the state to handle. Rarer, though, are cases like Cressman's in which the state itself comes under fire for what's on a license plate, but it's not unheard of – Mississippi came under fire in 2011 for just considering a license plate honoring controversial KKK leader and Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 1160 Comments
      CC
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anything for 15 minutes of fame and some chump change. Maybe there should be a counter suit for him being a dumb arse.
      Cut
      • 1 Year Ago
      In the inevitable settlement, the State of Oklahoma should require Mr. Cressman to go stand out in the rain for an hour.
        nf1stinks
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cut
        Driving is a privilege, not a right.. . If he is not happy with the plate. Then go ride a horse or get the hell out of America.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @nf1stinks
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        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cut
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      carmpence
      • 1 Year Ago
      omg people sue for anything these days. They spend more time coming up with excuses so they don't have to work. pathetic. This case should be thrown out. morons
      Andrew B
      • 1 Year Ago
      When I see this plate, I would never suspect or come to the conclusion that it was somewhat religiously themed. It looks like it honours some sort of history of the state. But of course, peoples' entitlement and need to make an issue of things will cause a ruckus for something so asinine.
      yo
      • 1 Year Ago
      I object more to being forced to have "IN GOD WE TRUST" on a plate. Leave religion for sunday. Not for plates.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @yo
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        geronimo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @yo
        the "sacred rain arrow" symbolizes a religious act.... where are the advocates for "separation of church and state"???
        John Shaw
        • 1 Year Ago
        @yo
        Religion for Sundays?? lol Being a Christian is not a ( Religion )....people like you make it a religion because you are too silly to know the difference - And us Christians don't wait until Sunday to be a Christian....we are Christian 7 days a week...24 hrs a day....get a clue -
        JC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @yo
        The The "In God We Trust" plate is optional and costs an extra fee.
      dicktaylor97526
      • 1 Year Ago
      what a total crock. Love the plate....
      jl7503
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't think there is anyone on this God-forsaken planet that worries in the least about offending Christians and the disgusting part is, everybody and his Mother feels that it is perfectly OK to do so....but heaven forbid that any other religion or anyone else be offended by any slightest hint of affront.....
      Bill
      • 1 Year Ago
      i should sue him over this stupid story
      chevydon8
      • 1 Year Ago
      this has less to do about this pastor suing and more about our pathetic justice system that was designed to show us right from wrong, but now is just a money making system for filthy rich judges and lawyers. they only look for something to make a buck with. every law they pass takes away one of our rights. i love america , but i am ashamed of what we have allowed it to become. so sad.
      Daytonasunfun
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't like the letter "L" and want it removed from the alphabet and all words containing it Bet I can find some freaking lawyer who will take the case. Remember ( according to Johnny Cockran " you are innocent until your money runs out" ) So I am sure there is some lawyer, that if I have the money will take the case until I am broke. When America falls our tombstone will read that we were politically correct until the last breath. How stupid have we gotten ???? We will be the first species to go extinct through our own greed and stupidity.
      BC
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, if I had not been told the story behind the statue, all I would see is a depiction of a native American with a bow, in keeping with Oklahoma's origin as the "Indian Territory" before the US decided to open it to all settlers. If there has to be a detailed explanation of the symbolism, does it really qualify as government endorsement of religion? It seems to me that the motto "In God We Trust" on the coinage is a lot more blatant. And the courthouse where his suit will be heard will no doubt have some sort of depiction of the Roman goddess Justitia (or Greek goddess Dike if you prefer)--will he refuse to attend or complain about the court's anti-Christian bias?
      • 1 Year Ago
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