Don’t Let This Become a Texas License Plate

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is looking for input on a couple of proposed “specialty license plate designs” and this is one of them:

Can’t let that happen. Go here and tell them you “don’t care for it.”

While you’re at it, CNN would like to know if you think Texas should “allow the Confederate flag on specialty license plates.”

Right now, the No side is winning (63-37), but you can always nudge it a bit more…

(Thanks to Joe for the links!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Mr Thing

    63% of CNN poll voters don’t understand freedom of speech :(

    • http://twitter.com/Grikmeer Rob Grikmeer

      Or 37% don’t understand Separation of Church and State… ;P

      • Lilla Bertalan

         No, that comment referred to the Confederate flag poll. That has nothing to do with religion. I’m not even an American but as a white woman I understand why some people hold to their Confederate heritage and it is truly their right to express that view.

        • Cindy

          Then they can buy  a sticker and put it on their car. The state government should not be producing license plates that are representative of a traitorous group in our history.

          • Anonymous

             Exactly. Here in Arizona a short while ago, some teabagger in the state legislature put forward a bill to provide for tea party specialty plates – at taxpayer expense. Yes, this from the same group that is constantly screaming about taxes and big government. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so disgusting.

        • Anonymous

          Sure, they can say anything they want with a bumper sticker, but not a license plate.  Putting something on a license plate intersects with questions of government speech and public forum doctrine.   It would be better if license plates included nothing more than the state nickname in order to avoid this entire can-of-worms.

        • Annie

          “That has nothing to do with religion.”  Not true, Lilla.  The St. Andrew’s cross on the flag is a Christian symbol, and one that southerners (in the US) love to put on their flags. 

        • Reasonbeforefeeling

          THIS is the symbolism behind the Traitor’s Flag that people find “objectionable”. If it gives you “cultural pride” that pride is in fact unquestionably based on bigotry:

          We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.
          —Secession Convention, “A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union”

          • Anonymous

            See also the famous Cornerstone Speech:

            The prevailing ideas entertained by him [Thomas Jefferson] and most of the
            leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution
            were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws
            of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally and
            politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with; but the
            general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in
            the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass
            away… Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon
            the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a
            sandy foundation, and the idea of a Government built upon it—when the
            “storm came and the wind blew, it fell. Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its
            foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that
            the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to
            the superior race, is his natural and moral condition.

            The confederate battle flag is the flag of a political entity that was opposed to everything the US stood for; that seceded from the US; that launched a sneak attack on the US; and that was finally defeated at a huge cost of lives and resources to the US; and that hasn’t existed for almost 150 years. Why are southerners so desperately clinging to the past, and to such an evil and loathsome past?

            Let’s face it, the confederate flag is the American swastika. You can no more separate the confederacy from slavery than you can separate Nazis from the Final Solution.

            • Justin

              All contention in this thread aside, the fact still remains that the CSA and Nazi Germany were not analogous.  

              It is also worth pointing out that there is not a single sovereign flag in the history of these United States that one may point to and claim that it did not fly over the wholesale oppression of one minority or another.  Not one.

            • Justin

              Also, wtf, sneak attack?  Are you confused?

          • Nude0007

            Great! You pick one quote from some anonymous source and want to claim that is how all southerners felt at the time. and you have the gall to call them bigots. Hilarious.  Living in the south all my life, I learned early on that  the racism and slavery that most people attribute as the main cause and thrust of the war was NOT.  The main issue and thrust of the war was STATES RIGHTS. I figured that even in the 70′s, there could have still been some bias, so I looked up civil war sources on google and they agree.  This is not to say slavery wasn’t a very contentious issue, but the flag does NOT represent the bad things, it represents the good things about the south. Less than 7% of the south owned slaves back then, all rich landowners.  The rest of us were mostly poor sharecroppers, not far removed from slavery ourselves.  Racism has never been as rampant as it always gets portrayed.  If it were that prevalent, then change would have been impossible. A majority of us had to agree slavery and bigotry was wrong or it would still be here.  People also forget that the north owned slaves too, some states continuing to do so during the war.  
            Flags are symbols. We can attribute to these symbols whatever we want.  As long as you keep forcing bigotry onto that symbol, you keep bigotry alive.  I bet most of the people who want to fly that flag are just proud to be southerners and do not ascribe to any bigoted agenda. There will, however, always be that small percentage that do, hoping to legitimize their beliefs by claiming that all the others who fly that flag agree with their fringe hate  agenda, but that is not a reason to chastise the 99% who don’t.
            You don’t live down here, probably, so let me tell you; I am constantly cheered up by the number of interracial marriages, dating and friendships I see, and although there are pockets (usually small towns  that stick to themselves) who may still cling to the foolishness of race hate, it is mostly gone.  Now if only northerners would treat native americans and  hispanics decently , we’d have it licked. (oh yeah, and muslims too.)

            • Daniel

              As a southern-raised man, I can safely say: bullshit.  The confederate flag is a symbol of violence and hatred and should not be celebrated by any US state.  You can fly the confederate flag on your property all you like; it’s your right as an American.  If you want to remember with fondness that time your ancestors took up arms against your country, committed high treason, and lead to tens of thousands of dead american citizens, then you go right ahead and fly that flag.  A US state should not celebrate the battle flag of an enemy of the US.  Even if you want to pretend that slavery wasn’t a big deal during the civil war, you are still celebrating an entity that took up arms against your country.  Do you support Nazi flags?  Do you accept all the apologists who believe the Nazi plan was primarily economic?  

              Also, not many people realize this (even self-described historians such as yourself), but the well-know “confederate flag” was the battle flag of the confederacy.  The battle flag stands for the armed conflict against the United States.  It stands for treason and war.  If you want to claim the political flag is a symbol of states’ rights, then at least that’s a tenable position.  The battle flag is no such thing.

              • Annie

                So true, Daniel.  Thanks for your response.  I moved to the South 23 years ago.  Luckily, I live in a little liberal university town pocket, but if I drive just 20 minutes north I can be in a town that is known for having more KKK members per capita than any other place in my state.  I once had the nerve to ask a man who had a confederate flag sticker on his truck (next to his Jesus fish) what the flag meant to him.  His response was, “I reckon it means those N-word (sorry to seem childish, but I can’t bare to say or type it) didn’t win after all, did they?”  Granted, he had a poor understanding of American history, but I imagine he is not alone in what this symbol represents to him.  I disagree with many people, but there is no person or group that I could say I truly hate.  To see this hate displayed on a flag, t-shirt, or car sticker really disturbs me. 

                PS- The South is not the only region of the US that continues to demonstrate racism.  I moved here from the midwest and racism (granted it was a while ago) was still rampant.  We haven’t truly won the civil rights fight yet, in my view.  The fact that anyone would even entertain the notion of displaying a confederate flag is proof of this.

              • Nude0007

                I don’t fly it, but the red flag with the stars and bars stands for peoples ancestors who died fighting for good things they believed in, NOT the slavery and bigotry.  As I said, sure, you can easily find pockets of people spouting that crap and waving that flag, but you can find some  waving the American flag spouting the same and worse.  Should we ditch that too?  Indeed, the American flag has waved over horrible actions and policies time and again.  From the trail of tears to backing dictators in other countries to further our own agendas.  So don’t get all holier-than-thou on me with that ridiculous argument.  It doesn’t wash!
                PS: I didn’t claim I was enough of a historian to make these claims, I got them from serious historians who know their stuff.  All I want is for you, my fellow humanists, to look it up and read the truth.  Isn’t truth and evidence what we are after?  
                We were all taught wrong. I just looked.

        • Reed Braden

          I live blocks away from huge statues and monuments to CSA President Jefferson Davis and three CSA generals.  They should be torn down.  High Treason should not be celebrated, especially by the government to whom that treason was directed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.zamecki Joe Zamecki

    Thanks for posting this, Hemant! Teamwork! :) 

  • http://snigsfoot.blogspot.com/ Rob Crompton

    “There was a green hill far away
    Without a city wall…”
    Looks like it was in Texas that Rabbi Jesus was crucified. Well, fancy that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cyndi-Soderlund/100000514861261 Cyndi Soderlund

    I totally agree that both ideas are offensive, but neither one would be mandatory as they are “specialty” options.  I wish I could make many offensive options unavailable, but I can’t pick and choose who gets freedom of speech.  

  • Darkrise1357

    and the entire southern states of America will buy it… confusing generations in the future. as an atheist, i have no grudge against religious things, they’re good for people who want a divine reason for things happening, they can put it on their license, how big of a deal is it?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

      It’s state endorsed, that’s the problem. We have bumper stickers and magnets for cars. The car is a persons property, the license plate is state property. If the state actively endorses one religion it is a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution.

      That’s why its’ a big deal.

  • Anonymous

    Just when I thought Texas couldn’t get any crazier… :-(

  • Moss

    That license plate reminds me of when I used to type BOOBIES on my calculator.

  • Allyson

    I think we should allow Texas to offer a special confederate flag license plate.  Makes it easier to tell the crazies from the normal-esque ones.

  • August

    How about instead of condemning a Christian license plate, we push for Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Flying Spaghetti Monster, and Humanist license plates too? Freedom of religion and all that jazz?

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      Or how about we not allow our government to stick their noses in matters of personal religious freedom? Hm?

  • Cobo Wowbo

    Is it still to late to give Texas back to Mexico?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

      Please do. At least then I’d have health care.

  • benjdm

    I would think we would be in favor of this being a license plate. It shoots to hell the idea that ‘one nation/state under God’ is ceremonial deism and will aid in getting the Pledge changed. *shrug*

    • Anonymous

      That’s the challenge I have with it… part of me wants it to win because of that. Then turn around and re-file the lawsuit against the pledge to the state flag which as changed just a few years ago to add that “ceremonial deism” (Christian indoctrination)  We all knew it was a lie. This just let the mask slip enough that perhaps can be used. I’d first like to get a court order to seize all documents relating to this and the change to the state flag pledge.

  • God

    Your judgement day is coming sooner than you think for anyone who believes, listens or follows anything this idiot does or says. God is our savior and His Grace can save you all. Turn to God now and you can be saved His forgiveness, grace, and love is stronger then anything an atheist can offer you.

    • Anonymous

       Thanks for your concern, troll.

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      Poe’s Law in full effect here, folks! I’m willing to bet this guy actually thinks he IS God, yet… somehow… speaking about himself… in the third person? I am atheist and what is this?

    • Nude0007

      Dear god, 
      you first! turn from your wicked ways and embrace true freedom and the world might  one day forgive you for the centuries of degradation, abuse, and torture you have heaped upon not only your followers, but those that were smart enough to see through your nonsense. You should make amends to all those you have wronged.  If your crimes are any judge, we should all be able to live on easy street for 1000 years for a start. At the very least you could leave us alone and let us actually make progress towards a truly peaceful, caring,  and productive society instead of the fearful hypocritical one you are pushing.
      Thanks for reminding us that you still blame us for your stupidity and mistakes.  May you get well soon.

    • Reed Braden

      lolz… you’re imaginary!

    • God

      Nope not imaginary nor do I think that I am God speaking in third person, I’m just a perfectly well concerned Christian who spreads the good word of the Lord and try’s to help other see of their wicked ways. But not all is lost your day will come when you will call upon the Lord, and you know what because of His Grace He will answer you no matter how much you have disbelieved in Him, He will answer your last prayer and forgive you of your sins so that you may rest in eternal peace. Once you are called upon for you judgment day nothing this idiot says or does can give you that kind of peace or forgiveness the Lord can.

      • Xeon2000

        So…. I’m not getting my new iPhone? You suck! This is just like Santa Claus and Christmas of ’87.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

        Do you know what hubris is?

        I’m also pretty sure that pretending to be God, even to proselytize,  is taking your lord’s name in vain and spreading false idolatry. Either way you are violating your own religion, which is incredibly funny.

    • Xeon2000

      Dear God,
      I want an iPhone 4S (my 3GS is getting old). I want a new car, actually, two new cars. My old cavalier works but it’s boring. I’d like a new SUV for Michigan winters and a brand new Mustang SVT Cobra convertible for summer (metallic green please). I’ve also stopped going to the gym lately and my eating habits have declined. Please change fast food and pizza so that it provides all the health benefits of a proper diet, and make sleeping in a new sport. I’d like a six pack. Also, the relationship world has been rocky lately. Fix that immediately, but I’m back in school to finish my degree so it can’t be a serious relationship. Also, I need 4.0s for all my classes for the next couple years, and if I could acquire perfect memory retention, that’d be cool too. Finally, work sucks. I want to quit. Can you create a distant great aunt or something and have her die and leave me $2 million in her will. Also, my dad has Parkinson’s. Fix that. Finally, my brother is a fanatical Christian zealot. What’s up with that? Seriously, have a talk with him and convince him to knock off the religion stuff.
      Your Friend,
      Xeon2000

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

      So you want me to submit to a genocidal, vain,  abusive, megalomaniac?

      Last time I checked your god had his son murdered, committed a few genocides, views women as lesser, thinks rape and slavery is okay, and wants all people to worship him as mindless, unquestioning slaves.

      Yeah that sounds like love, grace, and forgiveness to me.

      Let your god try and judge me. I’ve never raped anyone (Mary), I’ve never committed genocide, and I’ve never had a slave or made rules for owning a slave. I’ve never threatened people with an afterlife of pain and misery if they don’t submit to me. I’ve never told my believers to go out and slaughter non-believers/non-Christians (Crusades, Missionaries, Inquisition, George Tiller etc.).

      So yeah let your god judge me. When push comes to shove I stand on the moral-high ground not your violent, vile, hate-fueled god. Thanks though.

    • Nude0007

      What “idiot” are you referring to?  Actually, atheism offers EVIDENCE, which is far more than your god does.  More evidence arrives constantly to prove that Jesus didn’t exist (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvleOBYTrDE), for instance.  Evidence that can prove it is true by being independently verifiable proves that many statements in the buybull are wrong, lies, or contradictory to itself or just to common sense.  
      Your god is not powerful at all. It has never done a single thing that any person or group of people couldn’t do without its help. You and your god deserve no respect whatsoever for all the pain and misery it has caused over the last 20 centuries or so.  
      I challenge you to read the evidence.  The truth will stand up to any criticism, so if your religion is true, there is nothing to fear.  At the very least you would understand our point of view better and could make intelligent comments instead of religious mumbo jumbo.  Most all of us have read the buybull, why don’t you meet us on equal terms?  You would at least gain some respect from us if you did.
      PS: threatening us with hell or judgement day only insures  a deaf ear to your bs. Neither have any meaning for us, because they don’t exist.  You might as well be threatening us with kryptonite.  We are SO worried.
      PPS: you should’a remained mysterious. It would have been so cool to say we atheists had talked to your god, and got to talk some sense into him.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ryurack Rebel Yurack

      Don’t feed the troll.

  • Ryan

    The current e-View is open until 5 p.m. (CST), October 24, 2011.

  • 59 norris

    I think all themed license plates are silly and should be done away.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

      I disagree. A lot of the specialty plates, live ones for the Humane Society, go to support government programs. They offer people the ability to show their support for valid, secular, causes. It’s a chance for people to give more to charity while fueling their ego and vanity.

      • 59 Norris

        That’s worse than silly.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

          How so?

          How is it a bad idea to let people buy a specialty plate to support a secular charity that the state funds?

          • 59 Norris

            I was referring to “fueling their ego and vanity.”  Beyond that, one does not need a special plate to support a cause (unless one needs to fuel the ego and vanity of course).

  • Anonymous

    If you’re going to put an execution device on your number plate then surely Texans would prefer the electric chair to the crucifix?

  • Piet Puk

    Is there any way to view the results of the first poll?

    • Reed Braden

      Nope.  Government website.

  • Anonymous

    This is funny. I don’t fully appreciate the finer cultural niceties of the situation, but it is somewhat singular to me.

    In England, people who personalise their number plates tend to get their car paintwork scratched with a bunch of keys… not that I ever advocate criminal damage, but I just wanna give you an idea of how they are viewed…

    Every American claims to love the Constitution, right? So why not just get the courts to enforce it, rather than having these silly arguments about letting Christianity sneak past the document and into the sphere of Govt.?

    Sheesh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/edietzler Betty Dietzler

    http://www.ksrevenue.org/dmv-igwt.html

    Oh hey, Texas.  We didn’t see you down there.  You just catching up to us, now?
    Once again, my home state sets trends in all the wrong directions. 

    On the upside–  after being available for a few years now, I don’t notice a lot of these plates rolling around town (at least not around Wichita.) 

    Yes–  it’s ridiculous.  But I don’t have that much of a problem watching Brownback skim $40 a pop off the True Believers in this state that wind up buying this tacky nonsense.  I’m more concerned with how poorly he manages the money once it’s in the state’s hands. 

    On a completely unrelated note–  I look forward to seeing you speak at Skepticon, Hemant!  I really appreciate your blog.

  • 59 Norris

    I want a “Non-Stamp Collector” themed license plate.

  • Phyllisollari

    Yes, it was about state rights, the state’s right to have slaves. Read each confederate state declaration of secession  against the US and they mention the institution of slavery. Here’s a link to the S. Carolina one, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_scarsec.asp.

  • 2sknotty

    Here in the Hoosier State, we also have a plate that reads “In God we trust”. Worse, it costs nothing more than a plain plate. When I went to the DMV to get my new plate, I was offered a choice of blue or green. I shrugged and said “Blue”. The worker fetched a plate, and I glanced at it. I could not believe it read “In God we trust”! I said “I want the green plate” to which the worker replied, “oh, they are the same price”!!! I then emphatically stated “I WANT THE GREEN PLATE!”. I then received the green plate.
    Frustratingly, new plates can no longer be obtained at the DMV, but are sent through the mail. When my husband purchased a new car, he was not given a choice of plates. Which plate do you think Indiana sent him? Yup. “In God we trust”.
    In this way my freedom from religion is violated by others’ freedom of speech. Texas, how about just putting numbers on license plates?

  • Anonymous

    Where do people get this illusion that a license plate representing Calvary is “unconstitutional” in the US? Why do so many people continue to quote the  Constitution of the former Soviet Union to justify this mythological idea of “separation of Church and state” in the US? This term appears nowhere in the US Constitution only in the wishful thinking of secular radicals.

    US Constitution:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

    Soviet Constitution:Article 124. “In
    order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the church in the
    U.S.S.R. is separated from the state, and the school from the church.
    Freedom of religious worship and freedom of antireligious propaganda is
    recognized for all citizens.”

    Congress has made no law establishing a religion in this case, however, our laws are built upon a foundation of Christian principles and to ignore that is self-deceiving:

    “In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” — John Quincy Adams (Sixth President of the United States; Diplomat; Secretary of State; U.S. Senator; US Representative)”The great, vital, and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and the divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”8 — Congress 1854

    “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” 1. — John Adams (Signer of the Declaration; Judge; Diplomat; One of the Two Signers of the Bill of Rights, Second President of the United States)

    “Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle… In this age, there can be no substitute for Christianity… That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.”9. — Congress, U. S. House Judiciary Committee, 1854

  • TeaParty

    . This is an awesome plate and I’m gonna get them. liberals can kiss my backside.


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