Indiana offers one license plate phrase added for no extra fee “In God We Trust” but here’s an atheist’s experience trying to get the words “NO GODS” for his chosen license plate:
I figured if it was okay for the state of Indiana to officially endorse religion (and specifically the Christian religion, no matter what they might say about “God” being ambiguous), then it would be okay for me to personally request my belief in no gods.
Having forgot about my application, I didn’t even think about it until I received a letter from the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles:
Dear Mr. B_______,
The personalized license plate (“PLP”) referenced above has been denied as inappropriate due to form or content.
There’s more, but it’s basically telling me I can ask for a replacement PLP or request an appeal via an administrative hearing. Obviously, you know which option I am choosing. I decided to look up the relevant text related to allowable PLPs on the BMV website.
Personalized license plates allow creativity; however, under Indiana Statue IC 9-18-15-4 (b) the BMV may refuse to issue a combination of letters or numerals, or both, that carry a connotation offensive to good taste and decency.
an objective, reasonable person would find that the customer’s proposed expression on the personalized license plate application is determined to carry a connotation offensive to good taste and decency, is misleading, or is otherwise prohibited. [emphasis added]The BMV will deny a personalized license plate request if
So either the license plate is offensive to “good taste and decency” or it’s “otherwise prohibited”—while “In God We Trust” license plates are routine.