Jackson, Mississippi, April 5, 2019 – The Mississippi Humanist Association (MHA) is pleased to announce the American Humanist Association (AHA) has sent a demand letter to Mississippi state officials requesting a free alternative to the standard license plates that display “In God We Trust.” Currently, MS residents who do not wish to display the phrase “In God We Trust” on their license plates must purchase specialty plates at an additional cost.
The MHA, the local chapter of the AHA, first reached out to the national organization regarding this issue on May 11, 2018, and the AHA immediately sent a letter to Governor Bryant. The state moved forward with the new plates in January 2019, and the MHA quickly began gathering potential plaintiffs in case a legal challenge is necessary.
The MHA and AHA believe the “In God We Trust” license plates are a violation of free speech for secular Mississippians. In the demand letter, the AHA cites the 1977 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Wooley v. Maynard. The case involved the phrase “Live Free or Die” that was on New Hampshire’s standard license plates. Jehovah’s Witnesses sued New Hampshire because the phrase was “repugnant to their moral, religious and political beliefs.” The high court ruled that citizens cannot be required to display the state motto on a license plate when it is offensive to their moral convictions.
Mississippians who are concerned about the current license plates are encouraged to contact the MHA.
About the Mississippi Humanist Association
The Mississippi Humanist Association is the MS chapter of the American Humanist Association. The MHA’s motto is “We believe in good,” and it lives that motto daily through volunteer efforts, educational endeavors, and legal challenges to ensure that everyone in the state of MS has the same rights and opportunities. To learn more about the MHA, visit https://www.mshumanists.org/.