Licensed Message

April 29, 2008

Florida legislators are considering a proposal to create the first license plate in the country that would send a sectarian message by promoting a specific religion. The plate shows a cross and stained-glass window and reads "I Believe." There are two important issues to remember here besides concerns about a state endorsing a religion. First, if this plate is approved--probably a big if--Christians should think carefully about their driving abilities before getting one. If you are a bad driver, especially one who gets road rage or cuts people off, do not get it! This is the same standard to apply when considering getting a bumper sticker. These items send a clear message, but so does your driving. It would be sad if the message of your driving hurt the reception of the message of your plate or sticker. Second, these specialty plates include an extra fee to be paid. This fee--often about $25--seems to run counter to the message of the plate. If I believe, then I prove that with my spending. How does spending an extra $25 on a piece of metal to hang on my car show a sense of priority? With all the people who are dying due to a lack of food or water, or all the people who have never had a Bible to read, it seems there are better ways to spend our money.

6 comments

  1. You seriously think these are the only problems posed by this proposed plate? No questions of its Constitutionality, or implications regarding the validity of other religions as seen by the State of Florida? Really, if this plate is allowed (and it should not be) then every other religion followed by citizens of Florida should also have its own plate.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We should not be having this discussion right now - with the issues that are going on all around us the last thing ANYONE should be concerned about is the design of a liscense plate. Shouldn't our legistlature be dealing with more important issues?! How bout taking that few extra dollars and donating it to your favorite charity instead of to the government? Come on people - there's other issues out there worth much more attention than this one:).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Over at my blog--pardon the plug--I suggested some ways that FL drivers could use personalized plates to get their message across. All in fun, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous9:11 AM

    Other than vanity plates "personal numbers" that you pay for. I dont think there should be anything else on the plate. Its reserved for official goverment buisness. If you want to promote your team, deity, or personal beliefs, there is nothing illegal about bumper stickers.
    And not putting something on a plate dont restrict personal speach, since the purpose of the plate is to identify drivers, and nothing else.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Actually, an earlier article from a local newspaper (http://www.bradenton.com/local/story/526471.html) mentioned that the money on the plates would be going directly to faith-based charities.
    "The extra money earned from the sale of the "I Believe" license plate would go to an Orlando based non-profit called Faith in Teaching that says on its website that money from the plates would be used for grants to "continue faith-based education for the youth of Florida." "

    And I agree with Hrafnkell... There are really much more pressing issues than being a good driver here.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for all the comments!

    hrafnkell: I agree with you that the church-state issue here is a serious problem (you might notice that I hinted at that). But that has been dealt with in a lot of places and I figured this plate would never see the light of day (the bill has since died), and therefore I would to think about this from some other angles.

    tlea: Amen! I wish our legislators would learn to focus on more critical issues.

    Mike: Those are some good plates you put together; thanks for pointing them out.

    anonymous: Yes, if someone wants to send a message on their car, then they should put up a bumper sticker.

    Ezri: You are correct that most of the money goes to a charity, but people who want to give should do so directly.

    ReplyDelete