Friday, April 18, 2008

Another Loss for the ACLU

Another Loss for the ACLU

I mentioned several months back my surprise at seeing an Indiana license plate with "In God We Trust" on it--and that I was surprised that the ACLU hadn't filed suit. There is nothing quite as predictable as the ACLU's willingness to file suits over trivial matters. From the April 18, 2008 Indianapolis Star:

A judge has halted a lawsuit over Indiana's popular "In God We Trust" license plate, ruling the state can sell it without charging an extra $15 fee.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana argued that without the fee, the plate was elevated above others bearing messages supporting the environment, education and other causes.

Introduced last year by state law, the "In God We Trust" plate is carried by more than 1.6 million vehicles.

Marion Superior Court Judge Gary Miller's ruling, issued Wednesday, says the plate is different from special group recognition plates that carry the administrative fee. Those often require a contribution to a group or university and require special handling by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

The "In God We Trust" plate, the ruling says, "was designed by a process similar to the Standard Plate, mass-produced like the Standard Plate, and widely distributed like the Standard Plate based on consistently high sales."
Aside from the points that the judge made, I would also point out that if the ACLU chose to sue on the basis that "In God We Trust" doesn't belong on state license plates because it shows a preference for religion, they have a somewhat larger problem in their wallet.

As I have pointed out before, the First Amendment's establishment clause was intended to prevent special preference given to a particular church or denomination. There is simply no historical basis for believing that the intention was to create a separation of church and state, and the evidence is clear that the goal was not to put religion and irreligion on an equal footing.

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