Monday, January 12, 2009


A license plate that would have become the first in the nation to prominently feature a religious symbol is unlikely to be on the road any time soon after Florida state lawmakers did not include it in a bill last Tuesday. The plate, which included an image of a Christian cross, stained-glass window and the words "I Believe," is not in legislation passed late Tuesday that's now headed to the governor.
Opponents of the plate said approving it would result in a court challenge because it violated the separation of church and state and gave the appearance the state was endorsing a particular religious preference. This is especially interesting when you consider that Florida is home to the third largest Jewish population in the country, and the numbers continue to rise, a population which may take a rather dim view of a state organisation cranking out license plates baring the cross.

It should be noted that this is not Florida's first venture into religious waters in the design of its license plates. Pictured below is a pro-life license plate currently in use. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Department of Motor Vehicles, it was the tenth most popular license plate issued in 2007; coming far behind the most popular versions, The University of Florida, "Protect the Panther," "Save the Manatee," and the ever popular "Help Sea Turtles Survive."

As for the "I Believe" plate, it should be noted that the South Carolina legislature is also considering the same license plate for its drivers, and it won key approval in its state Senate Tuesday.

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