Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What Would Jesus Drive?

Introducing the Jesus license plate, courtesy of our friends in Florida. For those people who think a bumper sticker just isn't enough to spread their religious beliefs, Florida has you covered! I wonder how all those elderly Jews in Florida feel about a Jesus and his amazing pectoral muscles being on a state-issue license plate. Surely this has to violate the separation of church and state, right? Not according to Governor Charlie Crist, who says if you don't want one, you don't have to get one. Apparently the governor thinks these things just print themselves and they're not produced with tax dollars.

And really Governor, that's the can of worms you want to open, if you don't want one, you don't have to get one? Okay then, I assume that means Florida will soon be issuing license plates with the Star of David, an Islamic crescent moon, Buddha and various Hindu gods? What about a license plate with Zeus? Or how about one with Satan and a pentagram on it? Hey, if people don't want one, they don't have to get one.

For all my religious readers, would you even want something this offensive on your car? If I were a Christian, I would find this to be one of the tackiest things I've ever seen and I'd be furious at the genius who thought this would be a good idea. I don't think being screwed to the back of a Volvo is what Jesus had in mind when he died for our sins. Isn't this the very definition of using the lord in vain, exploiting his image while you make a trip to the mall?

I can't wait for this to become a huge embarrassment for Florida when someone gets one of these plates with the custom tag "ATHE1ST" or "STN_666."


Gabriel McKee said...

What's so offensive about it? Freedom of religion does not mean freedom religion as the cliche goes.

And I'd be perfect fine with people of other faiths having their own license plates.

Razor said...

Who is paying for these license plates to be printed? Taxpayers?

And I think you may not fully understand the separation of church and state. Read the Establishment Clause or any of the various Supreme Court cases on the subject. Here's one that's quite relevant to this story, from Everson v. Board of Education in 1947:

"No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion.... In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.'"

Gabriel McKee said...

It's not supporting "religious activities or institutions". So your point is moot.

People have every right to express their religious beliefs.

I don't know how it works in Florida, but I sure as hell have to pay to have a tag on my car...The government doesn't give it to me for free.

Razor said...

Jesus Christ on a state-issued license plate isn't supporting a religious institution?

Unless these are privately funded, the Florida government is using public money to print the image of Jesus Christ on said license plate, that's a clear violation of the First Amendment.

And the things are still incredibly tacky.

Jamie said...

Yes, you pay the government to have a license plate. A tax, if you will, to drive legally. Most states have special plates that you can pay more to purchase -- college logos, save the animals, etc. So the government in Florida (you know, the one supported by tax payers) is now making money off Jesus. How very mega-church of them!

Gabriel McKee said...

People get entirely too wrapped up in silly issues like this.

I'm sorry that the site of Jesus is oh so terrifying and traumatizing to you.

But really, get over it.

Gabriel McKee said...

I hereby declare license plates that feature college logos offensive. I just can't believe we let people flaunt their support of a college team!

Razor said...

There we go, reducing yourself to attacking the messenger instead of the message and completely avoiding the issue.

And I didn't realize there was a separation of sports and state? Want to point out that clause for me?

I'm sorry that I'm making an argument based on law and the constitution and you lack any sort of a legitimate counterpoint.

Gabriel McKee said...

I don't think you understand the seperation of church and state.

Jamie said...

Gabriel, if it's such a silly little issue, why do you keep commenting about it?

If you're going to troll, at least do it well.