Yesterday, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant introduced the 2019 Mississippi standard auto license plate design, featuring the State Seal of Mississippi as the center of the design. Please see the story as published in the Clarion Ledger. The Seal carries the national and state motto “In God We Trust”.
According to the available information, in order for non-religious Mississippians to avoid having this religious motto on their vehicles, they will have to pay extra for a variety tag; basically a penalty tax for not wanting the state’s religious motto on their vehicle.
Non-theists shouldn’t be made to display a motto that they do not believe in, or pay more than the standard fee in order to be free of someone else’s religious beliefs.
Not all Mississippians “trust” in the same god, and some don’t trust in any god at all. And this is what the authors of the Constitution’s First Amendment envisioned. Not everyone believes the same thing, and this protected diversity of thought is what religious tolerance and freedom look like.
That is why the Mississippi Humanist Association (MHA), a chapter of the American Humanist Association (AHA), contacted the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center regarding this issue.
This redesigned standard issue license plate is offered without an alternative license plate without a religious motto at the same cost. This raises constitutional issues as David Niose, Executive Director of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, describes in an e-mail sent to Gov. Bryant today.
The Mississippi Humanist Association works to build a strong humanist community in Mississippi, while doing good works and educating about humanism. As a chapter of the American Humanist Association, we also believe in protecting our First Amendment rights - the right to free speech and to the separation of church and state.
Please join the Mississippi Humanist Association, and let’s work together to protect our rights, and do some good here in Mississippi, for goodness’ sake. Donate, or join as a member – there is strength in numbers!
Mississippi Humanist Association - We Believe in Good!
(Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, AP)