Attorney general deems new 'I Believe' license plates legal

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COLUMBIA --- South Carolina drivers might be able to buy a license plate with the words "I Believe" and three crosses, despite a federal judge's ruling against a previous attempt to make similar tags.

Nine months after a federal judge barred the state from making legislatively approved plates with the religious message, Attorney General Henry McMaster says a similar plate designed by a nonprofit group is legal. The plate under review at the Department of Motor Vehicles reads www.IBELIEVEsc.net along the top. It features a golden sunrise and three crosses symbolizing the site where Jesus was crucified.

The nonprofit group applied for the plates in February under a state law that allows private groups to create specialty plates if they pay a $4,000 deposit or collect at least 400 prepaid orders before production. The group officially changed its name to the Web site address in hopes of meeting new DMV rules that require tags bear the sponsoring group's name.

"The specialty license program has a secular purpose: allowing all nonprofit organizations to identify themselves by a logo or symbol," McMaster wrote in his Aug. 16 opinion. "It is our opinion that the Establishment Clause would not be violated by approval of the plate. Indeed, it is our opinion that denial would infringe upon the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment."

DMV spokeswoman Beth Parks said agency officials are reviewing the opinion.

A group that advocates separation of church and state sued in 2008 after a bill creating the previous "I Believe" plates -- featuring a Christian cross superimposed on a stained glass window -- sailed through the Legislature. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer took the idea from Florida, but the proposal failed there.

Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed that lawsuit on behalf of two Christian pastors, a humanist pastor and a rabbi in South Carolina, along with the Hindu American Foundation.

They successfully argued that legislative approval amounted to the government promoting one religion over another, noting that if private groups wanted the plates made, state law provides them a way to do that.

McMaster said the new plates involve no government endorsement.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, the director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said he wouldn't have a problem with the proposed tags as long as the group's application gets no special treatment.

Comments (29) Add comment
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datarelease
2
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datarelease 08/24/10 - 12:15 pm
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are these in reference to

are these in reference to santa?

crackerjack
150
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crackerjack 08/24/10 - 12:23 pm
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No, it's a way to get around

No, it's a way to get around the hateful people in Unamericans United for the Destruction of the Church, State and Country.
Much like they did with the Invisible Monkey in the Elvis Costume on the commercial on TV, in response to PETA.

datarelease
2
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datarelease 08/24/10 - 12:45 pm
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Are these in reference to

Are these in reference to Hanuman?

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 08/24/10 - 01:06 pm
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No datarelese, this is in

No datarelese, this is in reference to the great "I AM".

justus4
105
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justus4 08/24/10 - 01:16 pm
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The state referenced in the
Unpublished

The state referenced in the article has a history of failures in addressing matters of religion,equality & race, government corruption, and holding elected officials accountable. In view of those historical facts, the AG will again fail to correctly identify the constitutional violations associated with the production of such offensive religious propaganda. If u "believe", don't use your government job to violate my constitutional rights by putting your silly beliefs on government property (license plate) - keep it in the privacy of your home. Oh, and what beliefs do that AG have on the Confederate Flag and the provocation of people of color by having to see that symbol of murder and violence?

dominionfs
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dominionfs 08/24/10 - 01:16 pm
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As long as the cost of these

As long as the cost of these plates is borne by the applicant like other specialty plates, there should be no problem.

However if I have to stick a fish on the back of my car, an 'I Believe' license plate and a "Real men love Jesus" bumper-sticker to inform others I am a Christian, then I am probably not doing a real good job of living up to the tenents of the religion. Just a thought.

chucktoons
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chucktoons 08/24/10 - 01:30 pm
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justus, There are 49 more

justus, There are 49 more states in addition to the one you referenced and a federal gov who are all lousy at everything they do except road building and national defense. I say throw all the sorry bums out of office, get the gov out of everybodies life except for the 2 things they do that are worth something, and start over again.

fishburn
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fishburn 08/24/10 - 01:43 pm
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justus4 if you bothered to

justus4 if you bothered to really read the contitution No where in there does it state seperation of church and state. It says you will have the freedom of religon. the liberal judges over the years and even today put their on slant on things to make it do what they want. Im tired of the anti religon people saying dont push your stuff on us but then they turn around and dump their non beliving on us. that isnt fair at all.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 08/24/10 - 01:48 pm
0
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"However if I have to stick a

"However if I have to stick a fish on the back of my car, an 'I Believe' license plate and a "Real men love Jesus" bumper-sticker to inform others I am a Christian, then I am probably not doing a real good job of living up to the tenents of the religion."

Fish emblem, "I Believe" license plate and religious bumper stickers are not placed there in most cases to inform anyone that you are a Christian. It is usually a statement of your faith in Jesus Christ, just as someone might were a cross necklace or religious tie-tac. Much the same way if someone is proud to be an American they might wear a flag pin, hang an American Flag, etc. These symbols are not a reflection of what kind of job you are as a Christian or a patriot.....just a thought.

TrukinRanger
1748
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TrukinRanger 08/24/10 - 01:53 pm
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More wasted money. Just buy
Unpublished

More wasted money. Just buy a dang bumper sticker and put on the back of your big SUV's & cadillacs.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 08/24/10 - 02:00 pm
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Not wasted money to the ones

Not wasted money to the ones who want to purchase these.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 08/24/10 - 02:26 pm
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ICL, thanking you this

ICL, thanking you this beautiful day for continously pursuing your love of Christ. If you haven't seen this yet, google "That's My King". You can get words or watch the sermon. It is awesome, one of my favorites.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 08/24/10 - 02:28 pm
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dominionfs, I shared your

dominionfs, I shared your letter last night to a group. It was beautiful, thanks again, for such a beautiful explanation. I am keeping a printed copy in my notebook.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 08/24/10 - 02:50 pm
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Thanks Willow. I'll check it

Thanks Willow. I'll check it out this evening when I have some quiet time. I do love the Lord and for so many years was afraid of what people thought. Not any more. If my Savior can take getting spit on, beat to a pulp, hang on a cross and die for me, then Praise God I can proclaim His righteous name. Hope you have a blessed evening.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 08/24/10 - 02:54 pm
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I have no problem with the

I have no problem with the plates as long ,as stated above, they pay the same costs as other specialty plates. Of course, they have now opened a hornets' nest since other private groups should now be allowed their own plates. I imagine the law will change when groups start requesting, 'I don't believe", "I'm gay and I'm proud", or other plates the powers that be don't like. They set themselves up for lots of lawsuits if they now try to deny groups their own specialty plates.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 08/24/10 - 03:05 pm
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Techfan, let the groups that

Techfan, let the groups that want to display "I don't believe' and "I'm gay and I'm proud" do so. I see no difference in letting homosexuals parade down the street proclaiming "I'm gay and I'm proud". If they can proclaim their proudness, why can Christian's proclaim their proudness?

curly123053
4951
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curly123053 08/24/10 - 03:30 pm
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The Lord said us Christians

The Lord said us Christians would endure persecution as we followed Him. That was part of my pastor's message last Sunday. What we are seeing here in these posts are part of the persecution Christ mentioned in the Bible. We will just take up His Cross and not worry about it.

JusticeForEva
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JusticeForEva 08/24/10 - 03:34 pm
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Well if Christians can have

Well if Christians can have their tags can myself and my Satanic worshiper friends have state made pentagram tags????

Brad Owens
4727
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Brad Owens 08/24/10 - 03:45 pm
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I thought that was the motto

I thought that was the motto of the folks who think Aliens are real...like from the 1947 Roswell crash...

JusticeForEva
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JusticeForEva 08/24/10 - 03:50 pm
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Yeah or the

Yeah or the X-Files...whichever :-P

poolmom
49
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poolmom 08/24/10 - 03:51 pm
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If they can put a mosque in

If they can put a mosque in NY city why can't we put a christian church there also.

mable8
2
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mable8 08/24/10 - 04:16 pm
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So how is "I believe" tied

So how is "I believe" tied solely to religion? I think the Judge was showing his bias when he made that ruling. All these damnable politically correct groups need to keep their ideologies to themselves. They are nothing more than a bunch of DISHONEST RABBLE ROUSERS (and other words the sitemaster would deem "inappropriate." But, you know, sometimes those expletives are the only description befitting those blokes).

disssman
6
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disssman 08/24/10 - 04:18 pm
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Chucktoons. Did it ever dawn

Chucktoons. Did it ever dawn on you that the government you want out of your life is sponsoring this legislation? In that regard I also say get the government out of my life and religion. Whats wrong with a simple license plate that has no logo or hidden meaning.

disssman
6
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disssman 08/24/10 - 04:21 pm
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ICL I haven't seen a parade

ICL I haven't seen a parade rolling down the street pronouncing that they were religious and proud. Wow I didn't know it was illegal. What city forbids such a parade?

disssman
6
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disssman 08/24/10 - 04:26 pm
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Curly. As you sat listening

Curly. As you sat listening to the preacher did you wonder? What would Christ think of me sitting here in a palace being talked to by a man who does this as a full paid profession, with full medical, dental and retirement? How is your medical and retirement coming along BTW. I surely don't think jesus wanted you to be taught by a person with a degree in christianity. Rather, I think he would prefer a man of the field who also had a profession, a family and a love of scripture. Has anyone ever in their life seen a poor preacher?

rockymckee
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rockymckee 08/24/10 - 07:48 pm
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Justiceforeva. This country

Justiceforeva. This country was founded on a belief in GOD. If you don't like it move and take the rest of the atheists with you.

GGpap
528
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GGpap 08/24/10 - 09:06 pm
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I wonder if a few atheists

I wonder if a few atheists decide to ask the state to make them a plate that declares "I don't believe" (with appropriate symbols) could they sue the state for discrimination if it refuses their request IF they (the state) does finally give in to the "I believe" group?

GGpap

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 08/25/10 - 06:36 am
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ICL: Reread my post. I'm all

ICL: Reread my post. I'm all for the "I believe" tag, as long as other groups are afforded the same priviledge. I don't, however, think the SC Legislators will grant that right to groups with whom they don't agree.

JusticeForEva
0
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JusticeForEva 08/25/10 - 01:54 pm
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Rocky please go read your

Rocky please go read your Constitution and take a Civics class or two.

corgimom
34062
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corgimom 08/25/10 - 06:19 pm
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"This country was founded on

"This country was founded on a belief in GOD."

This country was founded on a belief of religious freedom- which includes not believing if you don't want to.

The best part is when you see someone driving a car plastered with religious symbols flipping someone off and swearing at other drivers, cutting someone off, refusing to let someone in line- all shining testaments to their deeply held beliefs.

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