Georgia To Revote on License Plates Because of ‘In God We Trust’ Kerfuffle

Quick recap of the Georgia license plate story:

1) Georgia wanted people to vote online for the next state license plate. There were 8 options to choose from.

2) Three of them had “In God We Trust” written on the bottom… (Images aren’t working on this link)

3) State officials told the media that IGWT was NOT going to be on the plates. They were just an optional sticker people could buy for $1. They didn’t change the images on the voting website.

4) Surprise, surprise, the three license plates with IGWT on them were chosen as the three finalists!

Now, people are complaining. The voting website has removed the phrase from the plates, but confusion remains. And, apparently, I have moved from Chicago to Atlanta:

More than 400,000 votes were cast and this week, Revenue revealed the three finalists — all of which feature IGWT. Again, the agency did not explain that the phrase won’t be pre-printed on all plates. An agency spokesman would not say how many votes each design received. But at some point, a message must have gotten through. The proposed designs on the department’s website no longer show IGWT.

The tift has, however, gotten individuals on opposite sides of the issue to agree on one thing: The Department of Revenue should have done a better job communicating its proposal.

Hemant Mehta, an Atlanta atheist who runs the “Friendly Atheist” website, said the department’s failure to communicate appeared intentional.

“It seemed like state officials were using a ‘bat signal’ to get people to vote for those [plates with IGWT] and they clearly did,” he said. “This is a problem of their own making.”

Mehta also doesn’t object to the state selling the IGWT stickers at local tag offices, although he believes other stickers ought to be available, too. The American Humanist Association agrees and on Thursday called on the state to also offer a sticker that says “E Pluribus Unum,” the Latin phrase meaning “Out of Many, One,” the original U.S. motto.

I’ve been told by local sources that the state will have a three-day revote from Monday through Wednesday. (I haven’t found an article reporting that yet.)

Kudos to state officials for correcting their own mistake, although they could’ve done it a long time ago and saved the state a lot of unnecessary hassle.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Matto the Hun

    yay Georgia! Can we fuck up the dumbest things or what!

    Also, welcome to ATL Hemant, you can’t avoid me now…. bwa-ha-ha-ha!

    ha

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Yea Hemant is probably still mad at you for saying he couldn’t move his blog to a new site.  ;)

      • Matto the Hun

        lol. I still don’t understand why that didn’t stop him!

      • Matto the Hun

        lol. I still don’t understand why that didn’t stop him!

  • Anonymous

    Hemant is in two places at once… Is Hemant God?

    • Anonymous

      Not until he levels up. There’s a difference between multipresent and omnipresent.

    • Parse

      No, just very, very, very aware of his velocity.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, Hemant. I have a truck, and if you’d called, I would have helped you move.

    Here in Alabam-uh, we have tags that say “God Bless America.” I got the alternate tag, which doesn’t have this slogan on it. The alternate is available at no extra cost, and believe it or not, the lady at the tag office said a lot of people are asking for the “godless” tag.

    • Rich Wilson

      I just luv y’all’s motto.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, I prefer “Heart of Dixie,” but “We Dare Defend Our Rights” is pretty cool. I like it better than “Womanly words, Manly deeds” which I think is Maryland’s motto.

        I think New Jersey’s motto is “It looks like the back of an old radio.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dj-Nash/100000103380335 D.j. Nash

    Oh Hemant we wish you did live down here, we need all the sane people we can find! Yes, in fact, another Georgian had posted about that, and none of us were at all aware that the igwt part was just an optional sticker. I was ranting and raving about it, lol, as you might expect. While I’m glad to hear that the igwt will not be standard issue, I’m not surprised to hear that those three won. All these people haven’t got the foggiest clue what it was that made America so special in the first place.

  • Dan Dorfman

    @Bones2112:disqus ,Let’s hold off on giving him that label until he shows up on a grilled cheese sandwich or in a bag of cheetos.

  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    Great.  I don’t see why they should be selling it as an optional extra…it’s not like people don’t have plenty of space on the back of their car to exercise their religion if they choose.

    Speaking of votes…  The Ohio voting sticker vote is now showing that one of the ‘With God All Things Are Possible’ designs is winning.  You can vote once a day until Aug 8th.

    • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

      BTW…does this new commenting system support HTML…  Ohio elect your sticker sitebold, Italics, H<sub2O, E=mc2, Happy τ day.

    • Northlander

      For example, it’s possible that all Christians are going to hell.

    • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

      So long a that’s not the only modification available, I don’t see it as being a problem.  If they’re offering space on the license plate for people to endorse something that they see fit to endorse, that’s fine, but if the only thing people are able to endorse is religion, then it’s a problem.

  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    oops…did I forget to close the sup… H2O.

  • Anonymous

    I voted for the horse’s behind one… and I’m not a Georgian.  Hopefully, it might have a chance at winning now!

  • Marguerite

    I’m glad they’re not putting IGWT on all those plates.  The prettiest one had it on the original image, and now that I know it isn’t part of the image, I hope it wins!

  • C High

    I’m pretty sure that the mass population of my state will vote for the ugliest one on the page. 

    I don’t know why they’re selling that as an option. Taking that option, you have IGWT instead of the county sticker. I didn’t realize IGWT was a county in Georgia; I wouldn’t be surprised. 

    • Chip L

      Why are we voting for this nonsense anyway?  OK, let’s say I disagree with the plate design (whichever is “elected”).  Will I be able to refuse this type of plate? NO.  So, just choose a design, tell us what it is, and let’s get on with it.  This is just another example of politicians diverting our attention from REAL issues that need leaders to address.

      How much time and taxpayer dollars have already been wasted on this?  And can we get some surveys/voting on the real issues in this state? 

      And the folks getting their briefs all sweaty over a license plate… grow up!

  • http://ladyatheist.blogspot.com/ Lady Atheist

    I was utterly shocked when I moved to Indiana and found out that there’s an IGWT license plate that is offered on equal footing to the one with the bland state logo (i.e. no extra fee):  http://www.in.gov/bmv/2695.htm

    • Anonymous

      I had to deal with having one on my car for the past year (mom took care of license plates). Thankfully, as I moved to Northern KY, I replaced it with an Autism plate. However KY also has a plate with the IGWT as a basic option.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristopherTK ChristopherTK

       I see these Indiana IGWT plates all the time here in Chicago. Is the non-IGWT plate a special request in Indiana because I never see them?

  • Csloomis

    Here is an additional article on the story.  http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/state-to-reopen-license-1018456.html

  • Csloomis

    Here is an additional article on the story.  http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/state-to-reopen-license-1018456.html

  • Annie

    While looking up what options my state (Florida) has, I found this one.  I have never seen it on a car, but apparently, it was approved in 2009.  Maybe I need to head over to Terry Jones’ parking lot and see it there are any there.

  • Gus Snarp

    I miss the days when we just had license plates. Plain background, numbers, end of story. Maybe we should go back to that.

  • Gus Snarp

    I miss the days when we just had license plates. Plain background, numbers, end of story. Maybe we should go back to that.

  • frizzlefrazzle

    “Atheism with Positivity” – why this new tagline?  I don’t mean to hijack this story, because as a native Georgian, I find this of interest, but this new site frightens and confuses me.   Are they (was it a “they” decision) saying that atheism is not typically positive?

  • frizzlefrazzle

    “Atheism with Positivity” – why this new tagline?  I don’t mean to hijack this story, because as a native Georgian, I find this of interest, but this new site frightens and confuses me.   Are they (was it a “they” decision) saying that atheism is not typically positive?

    • Darwin’s Dagger

      There is an unfortunate tendency among atheists to dwell on negation. No, your god doesn’t exist. No, we don’t want to see your commandments in our court house. No, you can’t put In God We Trust on your license plates. And our efforts that are positive are not really connected to atheism. There are theists who defend the integrity of science and marriage equality. The only thing atheism largely says to society is no.

      • Guestpest

        You say that like it’s a bad thing. No, you can’t steal my car. No, you can’t burglarize my home. No, you can’t rape my daughters. No, you can’t murder my family. On and on and on with all these negative laws in this country. Should they be abolished?

    • Darwin’s Dagger

      There is an unfortunate tendency among atheists to dwell on negation. No, your god doesn’t exist. No, we don’t want to see your commandments in our court house. No, you can’t put In God We Trust on your license plates. And our efforts that are positive are not really connected to atheism. There are theists who defend the integrity of science and marriage equality. The only thing atheism largely says to society is no.

    • http://twitter.com/hippiefemme Amber Surface

      Or it could refer to positivism, which suggests that the scientific method is the best way to understand the world.

  • Www.eselby.com/Ed

    Welcome to Atlanta! :)

  • Steve Bowen

    Does having “In God We Trust” on your licence plate mean you ca ignore traffic lights? just askin’

  • Scott

    Atlanta eh? Howdy, my new neighbor! haha.

  • Scott

    Atlanta eh? Howdy, my new neighbor! haha.

  • Curt Cameron

    Last week I drove from Texas to Florida and back. It was disheartening to me to see all the license plates that said “In God We Trust” or “God Bless America.” And not just from the southern states – I saw one or two “IGWT” plates from Indiana.

  • Guitaristfromhell

    if you feel that IGWT is so bad, move to mexico, canada, ussr, anywhere that doesn’t have it on currency. bye!!

    • Guestpest

      and if you want god beliefs in government so much, move to iran, iraq, pakistan, afghanistan or the vatican. don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  • SecularLez

    May I suggest putting A LOT of this content under a cut or something?

  • Secular1

    Nevermind, that comment was meant for the giant “big amazing meeting” post.

  • Anonymous

    Why is “Friendly Atheist” in quotes?  Am I just being oversensitive?

  • Lynnette

    Oh, wow. I don’t see why people are getting their feathers ruffled over this. Guess what– your money ALSO has ‘In God We Trust’ printed on it. The US treasury isn’t going to reprint and distribute different bills just because someone doesn’t like the nation’s logo. The state department has already said that the IGWT is not going to be printed on the plates but will be sold as stickers for those who would like to purchase them. However, I think the posters of this thread are showing ignorance beyond their years because whether you believe there is a god or not, this nation was founded on the basis of Christianity and even in places where it was not religious such as New Amsterdam (now NYC, for those who don’t know their US history), there was religious *tolerance.* Quit your whining. Your license plate does not define your character. 

    • Anonymous

      The USA was not “founded on the basis of Christianity”.  Whatever gave you that idea?

    • atom the atheist

      Really?know our history? Well its apparent that you do not. America is a rather young nation, and “in god we trust” is a fairly new tag, that is failing, as are christians (or as i like to call 95%)the god hypocrites.

  • True Christian

    We are working to vote out every georgia politician who moved to change the license plate to not have In God We trust.  We voted on it and it won.  I have over 64k team leaders in Georgia who are working hard to remove every politician in every office that has supported the change to remove it.  The lied about it being a mistake.

    • Anonymous

      That is exactly why religion and politics don’t mix.  A few principled policy-makers stand up for the first amendment and some God botherers decide that they can’t possibly keep their jobs.  They’d rather have dishonest sycophants pandering to the religious right than those who uphold the law.  If that’s the kind of nation that you want then good luck to you.  You need it.


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