New Jersey, like every other state across the nation, allows motorists to buy vanity license plates for an additional fee. You see them all the time — people using their name, their love of a certain sport, or even their religion to come up with a cute saying on their license plate.
One New Jersey driver wanted to have “8THEIST” printed on their plates. The State of New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission refused.
In her lawsuit filed today, Shannon Morgan says the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission refused to issue her the 8THEIST plates because the message “may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency.” The lawsuit notes Morgan attempted to obtain a religious license plate that read “BAPTIST,” and it was “deemed permissible” in the Garden State.
“The state of New Jersey is favoring religion while disparaging non-belief,” says Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “It simply has no right to do that.”
“This license plate issue may seem like a small matter but it is indicative of a much larger problem – atheists are often treated by the government as second-class citizens.”
Morgan’s lawsuit noted that David Silverstein, the president of American Atheists, attempted to obtain a New Jersey license plate that read “ATHEIST” and was also denied.
Image: State of NJ
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