Dave Silverman Will Get His ATHE1ST License Plate After All

Well, that was fast.

Yesterday, American Atheists President Dave Silverman tweeted this:

Terry Firma gave more details on what happened on this site earlier today.

Today, Silverman posted his letter to appeal the decision on AA’s website.

And just moments ago, he tweeted this:

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Blue Ridge Christian Academy, the School That Gave Fourth Graders a Creationism Quiz, Has Closed Down

Remember the infamous fourth grade “science” quiz that was circulating online?

Turns out God isn’t a big fan of their school. While they ended up raising about $15,000, it was a long way from the $200,000 or so that they needed to keep the place open.

This month, Blue Ridge Christian Academy announced that they would be closed for the school year.

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Introducing the Secular Safe Zone

In the past few years, even though surveys have shown that more young people are losing their religion, there are still many young atheists who choose to remain in the closet. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to lose their friends, or they want to hide the secret from their parents, or they’re worried about getting bullied and harassed by other students (it’s happened before).

In any case, it has a chilling effect.

Students are afraid to start secular groups where they can meet other atheists and explore their own (non-)religious identities.

Students stay silent even as they see illegal promotion of Christianity around them because they don’t want to rock the boat and draw any negative attention.

Students stop themselves from thinking too critically about religion out of fear that they may not like where the answers lead them.

Students are unable to help fix the untrue and unfair stereotypes about atheists — that we’re not trustworthy or electable. While things are getting better overall, there are still many pockets of America where it’s neither easy nor safe to publicly proclaim your atheism.

So taking a page from the LGBT playbook, the Secular Student Alliance has launched a project intended to help curb that problem. It’s called the Secular Safe Zone:

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Secular Coalition for America’s Edwina Rogers Featured in The Washingtonian

The September, 2013 issue of Washingtonian has a long feature on Edwina Rogers, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America:

Reporter Libby Copeland writes:

During one of several interviews for the job, the room was packed with staff and advisers who were, in the words of coalition bigwig Woody Kaplan, “flabbergasted” and “incredulous” at Rogers’s presence.

“My purpose was not to interview Edwina to see if she was right for the job,” recalls Kaplan, an adviser to the coalition, “but to destroy her.”

Yet Rogers “turned the entire room around,” Kaplan says. He’s been a civil-liberties lobbyist and donor for decades, school in the art of political sausage-making — but he’s still slightly awed by Rogers’s powers of persuasion: “She walked out and we voted 100 percent for her.”

Most of the information wasn’t new or revealing to me, though, until I came across this passage:

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New Jersey Nixes License Plate That Says ATHE1ST, Calling the Word ‘Offensive’

If you ever come across a passenger car with New Jersey plates that spell ATHE1ST (with a number 1 instead of the letter I), chances are that the driver is David Silverman, the president of American Atheists. Give him a friendly wave. Silverman will have earned it, because he will have prevailed in his current feud with New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission.

You see, the other day, the MVC’s powers-that-be decided to reject rather than rubber-stamp Silverman’s application, on the grounds that a license plate that says ATHE1ST is “offensive.”

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