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Oh No You Don't

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A United States District Judge has struck down a Christian-themed license plate that had been approved by the South Carolina Legislature, reports the BBC.

Judge Cameron Currie ruled that the plate was a violation of the First Amendment, which prohibits Congress from making a law “respecting an establishment of religion.” The South Carolina plate featured an image of a cross in front of a stained-glass window, accompanied by the words “I Believe.”


(tip to Justin)


 

Comments

I'm assuming these plates are optional.

On the one hand, I don't give a toss what someone displays on their vehicle.

On the other hand, if the government provides Christian plates, and not plates with the Star of David, or L. Ron Hubbard shooting psychic rays out of his eyes, or a chart of the cosmic microwave background on them... well, looks like the judge made the right call. The state can't treat one belief system preferentially over all the others.

Separation of church and state for the win.

The chart would make a nice bumper sticker.

Except for a brief mention about a similar unsuccessful attempt by the Florida legislature last year, this is all about South Carolina. Why the Florida plate?

NYT is cutting research staff.

No kidding, they're now "reporting" on what The Daily Show actually discovered about Hannity's lying liar footage.

Mainstream Media: letting you know what Jon Stewart discovered last night.

Stewart and Colbert have made satire into the fifth estate.

@andyo- interesting point. if it's about the numbers, though, nyt still has a larger research staff than the daily show- by far, i would guess.

maybe it's because tds staffers are paid better?

really, just wondering.

Daily show has a smaller focus and likely looks at a lot more video then a print medium based news org.

That said, it seems no one else was watching.

I find it really depressing that NYT is cutting staff. Even though they haven't been the liberal paper the right wing likes to complain about - Judith Miller being a prime example - they still are one of the only news organizations around. It's funny - I used to love reading the Wall St. Journal, too - really well written newspaper but...even before Murdoch took charge, I'd lost faith.
I love so many things about the internets but the NYT's being in trouble isn't one of them.

Rupert Murdoch and the corporate takeover of media in the 80's and 90's is the reason for the death of the media, the internet is just there to take up the slack in a lot of cases.

Look back on how the media covered the last healthcare debate, both Gulf wars, Ronald Reagan's loss of mental faculties while in office. NYT sometimes dissented, but often did not. The corporate hardliners has worked to discredit anyone that poked their head up. NYT has been hiding rather than fighting.

There are so few papers that don't require you to be a literate moron to read.

about the plate: i couldn't figure out from the article if the design was supposed to be mandatory. if not, than of course the l.ron hubbard plate that frenetic mentioned should also be fair game. i might order one of those myself. if i were in an accident and tom cruise was around, i'd be set. (he's done the heroic rescue thing before in real life, can't be bothered to find a link).

1) Are these license plates optional in some way or are they to be given out either universally, arbitrarily or on an opt-out basis? If the latter of the two disjuncts then it is a violation of the establishment clause. If not, go to 2.

2) Does the funding for these license plates come from the government (e.g. ultimately from taxaion) or do citizens pay for it privately? If they pay for it on a private, opt-in basis then it is not a violation of the establishment clause. Otherwise go to 3.

3) Are there provisions in place such that someone could adopt an alternative license plate from the standard ones offered by the state? If so then paying for these license plates through government monies is a violation of the establishment clause. Otherwise, if they aren't able to adopt a non-standard alternative, then freedom of expression might trump the establishment clause here.

The reasoning is and ought to be the same whether the plate had a cross or a bit 'there is no god' sign on it.

And, BTW, thank goodness for the judge. I know it isn't mandatory but, as Frenetic said....And, think, then if everyone got their religion on there....yikes. But maybe people should be identified. Jews could start wearing yellow stars on all their clothes and we could pick new colors for the others...

Good point. The whole reason for separation of church and state was because not everyone believes the same thing, even those within a single religion. To be forced into any kind of uniformity by the government is very dangerous. The last thing we need is a government that is allowed to divvy us up using crosses and stars and little red A's.

I don't know, maybe if they did allow every conceivable "belief" out there, it could be a good, if not hilarious, thing. Remember that state building case (don't remember where it was) where there was a religious symbol and everybody just started putting up their own signs, including atheists? It got so ridiculous that they had to take them ALL down. But it was funny.

Washington State capitol I believe.

Flying spaghetti Monster had a nice holiday display.

Festivus for the rest of us! That was it. I'm not sure if they did put the aluminum pole though.

How would you feel if the plate had no religious symbols and all it said was "I believe"?

The question is not about how it makes one feel but whether or not it promotes religion. Doing so in code doesn't make it better. Saying one "believe"'s might be open for some interpretation but probably wouldn't work.

I believe I can fly

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