Saturday, June 07, 2008

SC approves Christian license tag

In April, The Burning Taper reported on an attempt in Florida to introduce state license plates with a Christian cross and the words "I Believe."

The measure failed in the legislature.

But like "Whack-A-Mole," the idea popped up somewhere else. Flying below the radar until Thursday, the idea became law in South Carolina as Republican Gov. Mark Sanford let it take effect without his signature. The S.C. tag uses the exact same design as the proposed Florida tag did, with a Christian cross superimposed onto a stained glass window, proving (not that it was any secret) there is a particular organization behind the movement, namely, a fundamentalist Christian group known as "Faith in Teaching" based in Miami, Fla.

Prior to the Christian-themed license tag's approval, South Carolina politicians apparently learned a lesson from the tag's failure in Florida, and hatched an idea to create a tag for "atheists" so they could say, "See? We let everyone have a voice."

The "tag for atheists" consists of a white tag sporting an American flag, with the motto "In Reason We Trust." While it might make a great tag for Freemasons and fans of The Enlightenment, I'd hardly say that the state should be speaking for atheists as if they all "believed" or "trusted" in Reason. Being an atheist means not believing in a god, not that you believe in something other than a god. Even the name of photo of the S.C. "atheist" tag — "humanist.jpg" — shows its very existence is just sleight of hand and has nothing to do with atheism, as "[humanism] is generally compatible with atheism and agnosticism but doesn't require either of these," according to Wikipedia.

Just as Freemasonry has devolved into a "my version is better than your version" argument, so has our entire nation. Once a melting pot with the motto "E Pluribus Unum," which means "Out of Many, One," the United States of America has become divided and subdivided into cliques, sects, denominations, political parties, teams (and fans of teams) and gangs, all loudly, shrilly shouting "My way is the right way, and yours isn't!"

Out of One, we have again become Many.

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  1. Every other group, from colleges to teachers, have a specialty tag that puts money into the coffers of the government. Why not Christians?

  2. Some many answers, so little time.

    * The government should not be endorsing any one religion.

    * The government should not be creating legislation that is being pushed by a religious enterprise, namely, "Faith in Teaching," an organization that stands to reap financial benefits from "faith-based initiative" government handout programs.

    * If "why not Christians?", then why not tags and symbols for Jews, ping-pong enthusiasts, nudists, the Klan, astrology buffs, Alcoholics Anonymous members, Satanists, MENSA members, Democrats, people who like to have sex with animals, and any other groups you can imagine? What's next, tags for religious denominations and your favorite country music act?

    * Segregating ourselves with motor vehicle tags may let someone "show their pride," but it's just as likely to increase episodes of road rage. A few years ago, when I moved to a neighboring county, I had to go to the tag office to re-register my car and get a new county sticker for my plate. While chitchatting with the clerk, she said, "Yeah, you better get this new sticker on your car soon if you now live in Gilmer County." It had nothing to do with the law, she explained. She told me that people inside Gilmer County with Pickens County tags often get their cars vandalized. Why? Because the county high schools are rivals.

    — W.S.

  3. You have actually helped to prove my point. There should be no specialty tags. But, if there are, why should Christians be excluded.

  4. You give the SC legislature too much credit--They only saw $$$$.

    Christian or Atheist--your money is still green.

  5. "E Pluribus Unum" makes a great statement and could also be translated for those who don't know or won't learn a little Latin.

    It could create a social atmosphere of unity instead of encouraging differences which have turned into the situation that W.S. explains as "my way is better than your way".

    How about "We are all Americans".

  6. "Out of One, Many" is nothing but a natural outgrowth of our politicians, encouraged by $$$$ from special interest groups, spending decades engaging in and promoting identity based politics and issues.

    Even in those cases where it may have been warranted to an extent, it was never allowed to heal, but instead became an infection that was encouraged to fester and spread. Now we see the results of it.

    Who you have to thank for it are the Jesse Jackson, Al Sharptons, James Dobsons, and others of that ilk.

    The vanity license plates are just a minor manifestation that in themselves aren't even important. The Constitution actually only guarantees that the Federal Government won't promote any one particular religious group over another, nor try to establish a state religion like Britain's Anglican "Church of England" and force the states and their people to adhere to it.

    It did not specify any such limitations on the various individual states, although the Fourteenth Amendment might be considered a clarification in that regard.

    If the states can make needed extra money by selling vanity license plates, why not? It beats the hell out of raising property taxes or sells taxes, etc.

    Under that reasoning, then a Christian organization has as much right to promote their own vanity plates as any other group.

    After all, no one is being forced to buy any specific vanity plate, that's solely a matter of individual choice.

  7. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

    Exercise yes but to use PUBLIC funds to promote "A" religion NO.

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  9. Key of C,

    I do not know how they run Freemasonry in your state, but my Free-Masonry is secular and non-religious. The point here is that religious endorsments from secular political institutions is wrong. The politicians are elected by all the people not some of the people. Especially not some little fringe group trying to push them toward a Theocracy in the key of Christianity.

  10. I'm not certain it's an endorsement as long as someone else is paying for the item in question and it is not used on government vehicles. Say you pay your taxes on your house-is it an endorsement of a religion to put a Buddha statue or a cross on your lawn? The house is not the property of the government, we like to think at least. Granted, the license plate is created by the government, but is it really a government endorsement of the Girl Scouts that there's a plate available for purchase? Government and religion should remain separate. On the other hand, so should a person's property remain theirs and not the governments. An interesting 'thought' on Wiki:

    "At first, plates were not government issued in most American jurisdictions and motorists were obliged to make their own."

    Being a form of identification, perhaps people should be able to go to another producer for their plates, as UPS provides an alternative to the USPS. Of course, wasting tax-payer dollars to debate the issue is ludicrous. It's about as bad as arguing about steroid use by sports professionals in our nation's capital.


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