Skip to main content

Taking a little break from all AG AG all the time for this tidbit that came across the homefront today:

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit today against the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles over the new "In God We Trust" license plates:

These plates are obscenely popular here in Indiana.  They became available the first of the year and they have already distributed over 515,000 of them.  And it's "distributed" that is the problem.

Unlike other plates, like say, those to support the troops:

or say, those who wish to support the environment:

there is no extra fee to get the "In God We Trust" plate.  Therein lies the crux of the lawsuit.  The ACLU argues that the state is giving preferential treatment by not charging any extra fees.  So before the hysterics begin from people whining about the 'persecution' of Judeo-Christian values please inform them of this important detail.  Anybody who has studied anything about the ACLU knows that their stand on religion is to avoid preferential treatment...not any goofy straw-men about eliminating religion.  In fact, just today they won the right for Wiccans to place a symbol on deceased veterans' headstones.

But, back to the case at hand.  Some comments about the suit itself from press reports:

"It amounts to a promotion of the plate. The plate is a statement," said ACLU-Indiana attorney Ken Falk. "There is a cost in Indiana to obtain a general specialty plate and to express oneself in that manner, but there is no cost for an ’In God We Trust’ plate."

{snip}

The complaint said Studler, to express his support for Indiana’s environment, pays $40 more than normal registration fees for an "Environment" specialty plate. Of the total fee, $25 goes to a state trust to buy land for conservation and recreational purposes and the remaining $15 goes to administrative costs.

The complaint said "it is not reasonable to charge Mr. Studler administrative fees that are not assessed against persons who purchase the ’In God We Trust’ plate."

It is not accident that the plates come with no extra charge.  This is not some bit player in the BMV system looking to slip a fast one by people:

The 2006 legislation creating the plates specified the state could charge no more for them than the cost of its standard plates.

Another, minor, ingredient to this fee structure is that the "In God We Trust" plates actually cost $.50 more per plate to produce...so the state is subsidizing the production of this plate.

Personally, if the state legislature wants to authorize a plate like this I don't have a huge problem with it.  My problem comes in when you put it under the same rules as the plates for "everybody".  If someone wants to fork over a few dollars for it, more power to 'em.  Not requiring extra fees is more than tacit preferential treatment for religion.

Originally posted to MLDB on Mon Apr 23, 2007 at 06:33 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site