The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has sent an Oklahoma minister's lawsuit against the State of Oklahoma regarding an image on the state's license plate of a Native American shooting an arrow into the sky back to the trial court.
When Oklahoma looked to redesign its license plate five years ago, the iconic image of a young Apache warrior shooting an arrow skyward depicted in Allen Houser's "Sacred Rain Arrow" statue was a clear choice of a public that looked at more than 40 designs that featured Native American art, cowboy images and western and wildlife themes.Proceed below the orange snogging snakes for more.
But a Methodist minister claims the plate is an affront to his Christian beliefs, and a federal appeals court ruled last week that the minister's case can proceed. -- Fox News
(Disclaimer: My great-grandmother was Seminole, so I may have a bias toward Native Americans and against Stupid Americans.)
Native American attack on Christianity? Or just a license plate?
Keith Cressman, pastor at the St. Marks United Methodist Church in Bethany "simply wants to avoid placing the tag with the objectionable image on his car," his lawyer, Nathan Kellum said. "Whether that is through an alternative plate without an additional cost, or just some method in which he would not have to be a mobile billboard for the state's message against his will." (Same source.)The minister's attorney assures us this lawsuit is in no way meant to criticize Native Americans but is instead an expression of freedom by the minister. He does not want to be forced to communicate a religious belief he doesn't support. Also, the minister does not want to pay an extra $18 to $35 fee for one of the more than 200 alternatives to the standard plate such as the "In God We Trust" specialty plate.
Part of me hopes the minister prevails in his lawsuit. After all, if we have the right to not communicate religious beliefs we disagree with, I want all references to religion of any denomination removed from my money, my public places, and my daily life. If it's good enough for the minister, it's good enough for me.
UPDATE: (H/T to Lady Libertine) : The statue depicted on the plate is Allen Houser's Sacred Rain Arrow, which is described as follows:
This monumental piece depicts a young Apache warrior shooting his arrow towards heaven with the hope of carrying a prayer for rain to the Spirit World. Houser represents the strength, dignity, beauty and spirituality of his people.