A federal judge ruled last week that South Carolina's "I believe" license plate, splattered as it was with that faux stained glass window and the Xian cross, violates the separation of church and state.
Here's a shout out to Judge Cameron M. Currie of Federal District Court for her heroic nerve to stand up to the Religious Right and for upholding our First Amendment rights, saying out loud in open court that the case presents "a textbook example of the need for and continued vitality of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment."
Amen to that, Judge Currie.
One Andre Bauer, the lieutenant governor of SC and a prime mover behind the drive to add the license plate to the DMV lineup, of course disagrees. Apparently he was such a dick about the whole thing that the judge felt compelled to single him out in her decision:
Currie further noted that Bauer – in rallies leading up to the passage of the legislation – had characterized the issues in the case as a dispute between atheists, who were able to obtain a special plate, and Christians, who could not. That suggested the measure's aim was to foment political division along religious lines – "one of the principal evils against which the First Amendment was intended to protect," the judge said.And also a big "good on you" to my friends at AU, who was involved in this case from the beginning. Way to go, gang!
Bauer responded Tuesday, saying he was personally offended by Currie's ruling.
"For those who say proclaiming 'I believe' violates the constitution by giving preference to Christianity, I think this lawsuit clearly discriminates against persons of faith," he said.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State pushed back, arguing that the lawsuit actually prevents discrimination against persons of faith. The Washington, D.C.-based organization cited previous interviews when state lawmakers told media they would not support a Wiccan, Buddhist, or Muslim tag.
"The passage of this license plate made adherents of other faiths feel like second-class citizens," the group stated.
It always floors me when the Religious Right insists on displaying their beliefs in public, anywhere and everywhere they can, especially in light of those pesky admonitions of Joshua Bar Joseph (aka Jesus) on the subject (KJV Matthew 6:5 through 6:8):
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their rewardHypocrites. Their god and savior called them out on their bullshit two thousand years ago, but as I've said before, the so-called "Christian" Right really doesn't want much truck with that proto-hippie love-thy-neighbor forgive-thy-enemies wimpy-assed Jesus. It's all about Old Testament wrath for them.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
[Of course there are other versions of this, depending on which translation you rely on, but I intentionally used the KJV, since that is the only "one and true" translation that the RR follows...]