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‘Christian’ License-Plate Controversy Moves Toward Federal Court Showdown

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Political Tiger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:08 AM
Original message
‘Christian’ License-Plate Controversy Moves Toward Federal Court Showdown
‘Christian’ License-Plate Controversy Moves Toward Federal Court Showdown In South Carolina

Americans United, Religious Leaders Argue That ‘I Believe’ Plate Shows Unconstitutional State Preference for Christianity




A federal district court ruling is expected soon in a South Carolina controversy over a “Christian” license plate commissioned by the state legislature.

On Dec. 11, U.S. District Court Judge Cameron McGowan Currie will hear arguments in Columbia, S.C., on whether the state should be allowed to issue license plates that feature the words, “I Believe,” accompanied by a depiction of a yellow Christian cross superimposed on a multicolored stained-glass church window.

State authorities have indicated plans to start issuing the plates in mid December.

Earlier this year, Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a lawsuit on behalf of several religious leaders and minority communities whose First Amendment rights are infringed by the proposed plate.

The Summers v. Adams lawsuit charges that the Christian plate gives preferential government treatment to one faith in violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Plaintiffs in the case include four South Carolina clergy, the Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Summers, Rabbi Sanford T. Marcus, the Rev. Dr. Robert M. Knight and the Rev. Dr. Neal Jones, as well as the Hindu American Foundation and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

The measure authorizing the special plates was passed unanimously by both houses of the legislature, with the active support of Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer.

As Americans United notes in its motion for preliminary injunction, some legislators candidly admitted that they would not vote for similar plates for minority faiths.

Asked by a reporter if he would support a license plate for Islam, Rep. Bill Sandifer replied, “Absolutely and positively no…. I would not because of my personal belief, and because I believe that wouldn’t be the wish of the majority of the constituency in this house district.”

Oral argument on Americans United’s motion for a preliminary injunction stopping issuance of the plates is scheduled for Dec. 11 at the federal courthouse in Columbia, S.C.

http://www.au.org/site/PageServer?pagename=our_efforts_...


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hobbit709 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:26 AM
Response to Original message
1. The thumpers just don't get it
Mainly because they don't want to get it. They claim that their belief is so strong that they need to proclaim it to one and all but that to me shows their insecurity. It's like they're constantly having to tell the world or everything will fall apart.
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66 dmhlt Donating Member (935 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:36 AM
Response to Original message
2. Time for the Courts to reinforce Jefferson's Wall
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hobbit709 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:43 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Tax the churches
As far as I see it, giving the church a tax exemption is giving them special treatment.
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HillbillyBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:49 AM
Response to Original message
4. Too bad these kreestians don't ever really read and comprehend
that book they use to beat others with.
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Obamanaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:25 AM
Response to Original message
5. If the xians want to proclaim stuff, why can't they simply go to a
window tinting place and get words put on their rear windows - and thus leave the legislature out of it.
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moose65 Donating Member (525 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:34 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. That's what I can't figure out
I just don't get this need to have Jesus plastered all over every government document, publication, or in this case, license plate. They really ARE asking the government to endorse their religion. Why not get a regular license plate, then plaster the back of their car with Jesus bumper stickers and little fish emblems? They can put as many God is my Co-Pilot stickers on as they wish. WHY do they have to have it on the only government-issued item that they have?
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Political Tiger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:45 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Because it's about them, and power
Not Jesus or God, but their overriding lust to control and dictate.
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Veritas_et_Aequitas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 08:03 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. Absolutely right.
The dominionist movement is active there. I remember reading a few years back of a nationwide evangelical/fundie movement to move to SC en masse in an attempt to establish a Christian theocracy.
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Obamanaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #11
18. Xians are a weird group. A few weeks ago they were "laying hands"
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 09:31 AM by usnret88
on the Wall Street Bull; this weekend in Detroit one of the churches had three SUVs at the altar whilst the xians prayed for the Big 3 bailout. Now, xians all over the country are telling their pre-schoolers that a jolly old elf is gonna fly in a reindeer powered sleigh with enough toys for all the children in the world, all in one night (not telling them that he gives more stuff to rich kids than to poor) and then they will beat the kids for lying about stuff because one simply cannot have spoiled kids who have been spared the rod.

Just weird, and they don't seem to see it.
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:12 AM
Response to Original message
6. What ever happened to rendering unto Caesar? ...license plates
are a means of identification & a tax on registered vehicles which is purely the work of government not the church. I think the states have catered to long to making license plates for too many groups. The purpose has gone beyond what they were intend for to identify a legal car. Perhaps its time to start making plates that identify the state not the cause.
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UnrepentantUnitarian Donating Member (887 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:15 AM
Response to Original message
7. Been following this case closely.
Here in the Charleston area, this has been getting television coverage, and we had a "public debate" over it last week. In addition to AU's leading role in this legal action, Unitarian Universalist minister Neal Jones of Columbia is also involved in it. I call it "in yer face" religion, and the idea of doing that in the name of "popular support" is just another way of saying "majority rule in matters of conscience" (which I couldn't be more thoroughly against). We already have "In God We Trust" license plates here, and this is just another effort to get their nose under the tent a little more, pushing the matter just as far as they legally can.

I might add that this is what a society gets when people put themselves and their own beliefs up as "the standard" by which everybody else should be judged. Whether they admit it or not, they consider themselves the "gatekeepers" over matters of morality and conscience. To me, "in yer face" religion is about as unAmerican as you can get.
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Political Tiger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:52 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. These religious fascists need to be reminded
of the words of James Madison:

"Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

or Thomas Jefferson:

"In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty; he is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."

and John Adams:

"Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:17 AM
Response to Original message
8. I just found a plate holder that will piss the fundies off and make Firefly fans happy
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 07:17 AM by shadowknows69
Top: Leaf on the wind

Bottom: Wash is my co-pilot.
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TlalocW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:45 AM
Response to Original message
10. Oh, you laugh now
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 07:45 AM by TlalocW
But wait until you die and go up to the Pearly Gates, and you find out that they only let a thousand people in every day, and getting in is between you, a person who helped and loved his fellow man and tried to bring some justice to the world, and a guy who paid a couple bucks extra for a special Christian tag. You'll be laughing about it... IN HELL! :sarcasm:

TlalocW
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:50 AM
Response to Original message
12. This should be a no-brainer for the Court
But who knows any more? Since the SC legislator said point blank he wouldn't allow a Muslim plate, you know there's no way he would allow an atheist plate (which, I assume, would say "I Reason" with perhaps a symbol of an atom or something similar). And therefore that would constitute discrimination. No, far better NOT to have plates that carry any sort of religious message.
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 08:09 AM
Response to Original message
15. But but but, I just heard Michael Medved tell me that this is a Christian Nation!
:puke:
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marshall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
16. SC also has a plate for "secular humanists"
http://www.scdmvonline.com/VehPlateSpecialty.aspx

To apply for a Secular Humanist plate, you must present a current organizational membership showing that you are a current and active member of the organization. The fee for the plate is $30.00 every two years in additional to the regular registration fee. As a non-profit organization, the Secular Humanists of the Low Country do not receive any portion of the funds generated from the license plate sales.
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Pryderi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:17 AM
Response to Original message
17. I hope they'll commission the license plate below:
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 09:19 AM by Pryderi
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