"I Believe" - Florida's Christian License Plate

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MIAMI - Florida drivers can order more than 100 specialty license plates celebrating everything from manatees to the Miami Heat, but one now under consideration would be the first in the nation to explicitly promote a specific religion.

The Florida Legislature is considering a specialty plate with a design that includes a Christian cross, a stained-glass window and the words "I Believe."

Rep. Edward Bullard, the plate's sponsor, said people who "believe in their college or university" or "believe in their football team" already have license plates they can buy. The new design is a chance for others to put a tag on their cars with "something they believe in," he said.

If the plate is approved, Florida would become the first state to have a license plate featuring a religious symbol that's not part of a college logo. Approval would almost certainly face a court challenge.

The problem with the state manufacturing the plate is that it "sends a message that Florida is essentially a Christian state" and, second, gives the "appearance that the state is endorsing a particular religious preference," said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

The "I Believe" license plate still has a way to go before it reaches the roads. The proposal is part of a package of license plates being debated in the Senate and ready for a floor vote. In the House, the bill that would authorize the plate has passed one committee 8-2. The Legislature's annual session ends May 2.

Some lawmakers say the state should be careful. Rep. Kelly Skidmore said she is a Roman Catholic and goes to Mass on Sundays, but she believes the "I Believe" plate is inappropriate for the government to produce.

"It's not a road I want to go down. I don't want to see the Star of David next. I don't want to see a Torah next. None of that stuff is appropriate to me," said Skidmore, a Democrat who voted against the plate in committee. "I just believe that."

Florida's specialty license plates require the payment of additional fees, some of which go to causes the plates endorse.

One plate approved in 2004, displaying the motto "Family First," funds Sheridan House, which provides family programs but also sees its purpose as "sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Bible" and "information about the Christian faith."

The bill creating the "I Believe" plate would also create an "In God We Trust" plate to benefit the children of soldiers and law enforcement officers whose parents have died. It also could face opposition as a violation of the separation of church and state.

An Indiana plate with the same "In God We Trust" phrase has been challenged by the ACLU, but the courts so far have deemed it legal, arguing that it is comparable with other specialty plates.

This isn't the first time a Florida license plate design has created religious controversy. In 1999, lawmakers approved a bright yellow "Choose Life" license plate with a picture of a boy and girl. It raises money for agencies that encourage women to not have abortions.

That generated a court battle, with abortion rights groups saying the plate had religious overtones. But it was ruled legal, and about a dozen states now have similar plates.

A "Trust God" license plate was proposed in Florida in 2003. It would have given money to Christian radio stations and charities, but was never produced.

Earlier this year, a legislative committee was shown an image of a "Trinity" plate that showed a Christlike figure with his arms outstretched. It and two other plates were voted down.

The group asking for the "I Believe" plate, the Orlando-based nonprofit Faith in Teaching Inc., supports faith-based schools activities. The plate would cost drivers an extra $25 annual fee.

Approving the plate could open the state to legal challenges, according to Josie Brown, who teaches constitutional law at the University of South Carolina. And it's not certain who would win.

"It would be an interesting close call," Brown said.

Simon, of the ACLU, said approval of the plate could prompt many other groups to seek their own designs, and they could claim discrimination if their plans were rejected. That could even allow the Ku Klux Klan to get a plate, Simon said.

Bullard, the plate's sponsor, isn't sure all groups should be able to express their preference. If atheists came up with an "I Don't Believe" plate, for example, he would probably oppose it.
Source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news...icense-plate-042408,0,7816236.story?track=rss

Here's a picture of it:

 
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Don't see why it's a big deal, its a personalized license plate, so what. I read the article and understand why it would be something of a deal, but still, is it really? It's PERSONALIZED thus meaning it carries the opinion of the PERSON who got the plate, not the state that issued the style of plate.

Not really a big deal in my eyes
 
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That last part made me chuckle. Agnostic's plate: "I don't know"
 

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Sign me up for a flying spaghetti monster plate, please.
 
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I'm not really seeing an issue either. Even if it comes down to kkk members wanting their own personalized plate(even though that's slippery slope logic). I mean if someone wants to advertise that they're a part of a hate group, more power to them and more power to the person that keys their car, busts their headlights, or such because of it.
 
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I don't see the issue either. I think it's fine if people want to have a license plate like that. o:
 
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That's a pretty horrible-looking license plate. I'm all for a "I LOVE GOD!" license plate, but at least do other drivers the courtesy of making it look snazzy.
 
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I don't think they should allow any one specific religion to have its own license plate unless options for all major religions and non-religious are also available.
 
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Well I'm guessing this is on the table because enough christians in florida came to the BMV and said, I want an I heart Jesus plate. That's how **** works. If enough Muslims went and said they wanted Mohamed is my Homeboy plates, I'm sure there would be the exact same issue. No need to make plates if no one wants them
 

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That doesn't matter, all major religions should be included as well. Let's not **** the minority just because their the minority.
 
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Meh, let people decorate their cars as they please. I can't believe how up in arms people get when you say anything religious in public. It's like they're "all, or none" when it comes to celebrating a religion in public.

I think this speaks for itself:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=lmfjfFintOY&feature=related
 
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Brim said:
Well I'm guessing this is on the table because enough christians in florida came to the BMV and said, I want an I heart Jesus plate. That's how **** works. If enough Muslims went and said they wanted Mohamed is my Homeboy plates, I'm sure there would be the exact same issue. No need to make plates if no one wants them
This is a controversial issue specifically because that's not how the US works. The US is not a democracy; it is a democratic Republic, specifically designed to protect the minority from the majority.

This country was founded by religious minorities who were persecuted in their homeland; fled, and started anew in a dangerous world and (eventually) flourished as a result.

The government is not and should NEVER be a vehicle for the majority to impose their religion on the minority. The influence of the super Bible thumping "Christian Right" is already far beyond what it should be--they inserted "Under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance in 1951, "In God We Trust" became the National Motto in 1956, the Ten Commandments are plastered on numerous court houses and other public buildings--Christianity is shoved down your throat so often most people aren't consciously aware of it.

Our culture is already heavily skewed in favor of those who believe in a deity over those who don't; it's a wonder agnostics and others ever manage to develop considering the overwhelming social pressure to conform to a religion through family, extended family and friends.
 
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@SAlea: Thing is, the only people who really feel it "imposes" so much on them are people who despise the very idea of religion.

Personally, I think it's fair trade. General majorities support and promote religionpeacefully, while the increasingly non-religious scientific body frown heavily upon and even ruin the careers of scientists who happen to be religious, or else support theories of Intelligent Design, even if their theories have legitimate merit.

Oh wait, actually, the latter is sorta' impeding on American Freedom plenty more than the words "In God We Trust" on the Dollar bill, seeing as it actively pursues and tries to eliminate certain degrees of free thinking to an extent no less fascist than the Catholic Church hundreds of years ago. Yeah, I'm going to have to say freedom is in far more danger from the suppression of radical new ideas than Christians putting religiously themed media in the public eye.
 

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@SAlea: Thing is, the only people who really feel it "imposes" so much on them are people who despise the very idea of religion.
Even if this were true, it makes no difference.

Anyway, intelligent design is pseudo science. If it had any merit, the scientific community wouldn't be so opposed to it.
 
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J-Dude said:
@SAlea: Thing is, the only people who really feel it "imposes" so much on them are people who despise the very idea of religion.
I don't think you can make this kind of assumption. I personally find that religion has been widely abused, and used as a vehicle to oppress others. But I have no problem with the theoretical, humble practice of a religion.

But it has no place on the money or civic buildings of a government. A government's purpose is what? To maintain order, provide for utilities and so forth. Not to say to everyone "you have to worship the God that a large percentage of our populace does."

J-Dude said:
Personally, I think it's fair trade. General majorities support and promote religion peacefully, while the increasingly non-religious scientific body frown heavily upon and even ruin the careers of scientists who happen to be religious, or else support theories of Intelligent Design, even if their theories have legitimate merit.
This has nothing to do with separation of Church and State.. Science and religion is an entirely different matter. "Intelligent Design" is thought poorly of because the people who advocate it insist it is science, and yet makes absolutely no refutable claims or testable hypotheses. There IS no "merit."

J-Dude said:
Oh wait, actually, the latter is sorta' impeding on American Freedom plenty more than the words "In God We Trust" on the Dollar bill, seeing as it actively pursues and tries to eliminate certain degrees of free thinking to an extent no less fascist than the Catholic Church hundreds of years ago. Yeah, I'm going to have to say freedom is in far more danger from the suppression of radical new ideas than Christians putting religiously themed media in the public eye.
Again, you're confusing "Science vs. Religion" and "separation of Church and State."
 
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SailorAlea said:
This has nothing to do with separation of Church and State.. Science and religion is an entirely different matter. "Intelligent Design" is thought poorly of because the people who advocate it insist it is science, and yet makes absolutely no refutable claims or testable hypotheses. There IS no "merit."
That's an ignorant statement. Intelligent Design is as valid a theory of Earth-life origin as evolution. Even certain leading scientists outspokenly opposed to Christianity and religion have admitted that it is valid science. You should watch "Expelled" by Ben Stein. Really eye-opening.
 

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J-Dude said:
Meh, let people decorate their cars as they please. I can't believe how up in arms people get when you say anything religious in public. It's like they're "all, or none" when it comes to celebrating a religion in public.
I know this post was a while ago, but I just wanted to address this. So far, no one has posted here opposing this. They merely expressed the view that if this does indeed happen, there should be an alternate version for all major religions.
 
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J-Dude said:
That's an ignorant statement. Intelligent Design is as valid a theory of Earth-life origin as evolution. Even certain leading scientists outspokenly opposed to Christianity and religion have admitted that it is valid science. You should watch "Expelled" by Ben Stein. Really eye-opening.
Ignoring the fact that you're essentially de-railing the thread from "church and state" to "science and religion," do you even know what Intelligent Design is? Because the ignorant statement seems to be coming from you.

Scientific theory: theory that explains scientific observations; "scientific theories must be falsifiable"
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

The main proponent of "intelligent design," the Discovery Institute (a religious, creationist think tank) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_institute), argues that "intelligent design" is:

"certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection"

The unequivocal consensus in the scientific community is that intelligent design is not science but pseudoscience.[10][11][12][13] )

Read the article. Intelligent Design makes absolutely no testable claims, which are essential to a scientific hypothesis. Which is why it is religious pseudo-science.

It is not being rejected because it's a "scary, radical new idea which challenges our preconceptions." It's rejected because it isn't science.

Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District

Judge John E. Jones III said:
For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the religious nature of ID [intelligent design] would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child..

The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism..

The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory."
 
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I'm sorry, but the dismissal of Intelligent Design as pseudoscience is generally because the scientific community doesn't want any competing theories against the widely accepted, and flawed, theory of evolution. Intelligent Design doesn't have to refer to a deity, it may simply mean that life on our world was planted by a higher interstellar race, which is NOT nonsensical if you are truly open to ideas. And seeing as many scientists agree that life as we know it could not have spontaneously sprung into existence given Earth's primordial conditions, it's definitely a decent suggestion of how life ON OUR PLANET came into being.

You I see are one of the many who would do little else but go about your business if certain ways of thinking were legally prohibited.

On topic, it seems rediculous that we have to include every religion or no religion at all on something as miniscule as a license plate. I for one think political correctness has made freedom of speech and expression a mockery of what it was intended to be.
 

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