Earlier this week, American Atheists president and New Jersey resident Dan Silverman applied for a custom license plate that read “ATHE1ST” … since the version with the “I” was already taken. His application was rejected by the DMV on the basis that it was considered “inappropriate” and “offensive”.
Silverman sent an appeal … but not before the entire story went viral on Twitter and Reddit, with a bump from Richard Dawkins himself about the incident. Strangely enough, his request was approved this time, with the entire unfortunate incident blamed on a “clerical error”.
Huh. I wonder if this incident would have been attributed to a clerical error if the story didn’t go viral and result in some bad press for the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Services. I can’t say with certainty that I’ve seen any specifically from New Jersey over the years, but I’ve regularly run into “inspirational” Christian license plates ever since I started driving. Hell, I saw one today when I was on the coast with Miss Pink. I forget what state it was, but it said something like “LUVNGOD”.
Is that like Pop ‘n’ Fresh?
Stuff like that doesn’t offend me; it honestly just looks a little silly. If you want a vanity plate that tries to show everyone on the road that you’re just that much more Christian than other people, then I’m not going to stop you … as long as non-believers are given the same access to that method of expression. Personally, I could never do it. I would never put something on my car that identifies me as a group that is so distrusted, especially for reasons that are based on nothing more than ignorance, fear, and prejudice.
Still, I’m glad this got sorted out. If Silverman wants to put a bullseye on his car, that’s his right and his business. I’m keeping my beliefs – or lack thereof – off of my personal possessions.