A federal judge ruled this week that South Carolina can't distribute license plates featuring an image of a cross and the phrase "I believe." U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie said the Christian license plates are unconstitutional because they violate the First Amendment ban on establishment of religion by government. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who pushed through legislation to create the tags, said Currie was just a liberal judge making laws instead of interpreting them. Who's right?
A Christian license plate is un-American: "Government must never be allowed to express favored treatment for one faith over others," says Americans United executive director Rev. Barry Lynn in Opposing Views. South Carolina lawmakers used religion as a "political football" by approving the Christian license plates in clear violation of the Constitution. Kudos to the judge for putting a stop to this "appalling misuse of government authority."
"Court rules against South Carolina's 'Christian' license plates"
Believers are being censored: Separation of church and state "makes sense," says Bill Belew in Examiner.com. But "what about freedom of speech?" The people who want to buy these "I believe" license plates are being denied the same right to express themselves that other drivers enjoy when they select one of South Carolina's 103 approved specialty tags.
"Judge bans Christian car license plate"
The ruling won't settle the question: This case was a fait accompli from the beginning, says blogger Allahpundit in Hot Air. No judge is going to allow a state to hand out Christian license plates. But now a private group of Christians is registering its organizational name as "I Believe" and, as the state allows, "applying with the DMV to produce vanity plates with that slogan—and, er, a cross." What does the Constitution say about that?
"Oh my: Federal judge finds Christian license plates unconstitutional"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
Subscribe to the Week