It’s New Jersey: not even the last notch in the Bible Belt
For years, Christians — the ardent, serious ones, not the “fruits, nuts, and flakes” cereal crowd — have espoused that the only legal prejudice left on earth is against them. Anyone is allowed to hate on the Church, but let someone hate on [insert your alternate house of worship here] and it’s national news.
Fair? Another topic for another day.
This story, however concerns religious freedom and the right to not care to exercise it. So, there’s this woman who wanted the license plate above, and was denied by the N.J. Motor Vehicle Commission. Concerned about that, she typed in “B-A-P-T-I-S-T” on the NJ MVC website, and it was accepted.
Annnnnnd then she called her attorney.
Meet Shannon Morgan, aficionado of the godless and hopeful buyer of an “8-T-H-E-I-S-T” vanity plate.
After the perplexing cyber-denial to buy said plate, she called the NJ MVC and was insurmountably “given the runaround” by employees. So, being the ever-diligent heathen, she “sent the agency a certified letter reiterating her desire to obtain the vanity plate and find out why it had been deemed objectionable.”
She received no response. Her concern was about the website not flagging “BAPTIST,” so now she has the Americans United for Separation of Church and State involved because apparently New Jersey favors “religion over non-belief.” Again, to the church folk, if you have a problem with this plate, then you have to understand others complaining about all the Jesus car garb out there.
This case is all too familiar to another New Jersey native, David Silverman, who had to petition for a vanity license plate announcing his atheistic views. After he was initially rejected for a plate reading, “ATHE1ST,” Silverman filed a formal complaint with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. He says that within three days, a supervisor at the commission issued him the plate.
Of course, Americans United wants to make this a case on principle. That’s the thing with the U.S. Constitution. If you fight to fly a U.S. flag overseas, then you should know that same fight is for some trolls stateside to burn that flag in protest. It’s a tough road to travel going both ways, huh? What do you think?