A group of Georgia state senators wants your car’s license plate to carry the nation’s motto -- “In God We Trust” -- in place of a county name.
Drivers can currently put the motto on their license plate by purchasing a sticker that goes in place of the county name. A bill pre-filed in the state Senate would flip that and make “In God We Trust” the default, with county-name stickers available for purchase.
Sen. Bill Heath (R-Bremen) said the motto reflects the nation’s founding Christian principles.
“The only potential challenge here is the fact that you charge someone for a county sticker,” Heath said. “A potential solution for that is to simply not charge for the county sticker if someone wants to put that on their tag.”
Church-state separation advocates said the motto has no business on a car tag, even if the county sticker to cover it is offered for free.
“Americans are not myopic in their faith,” said Jeffrey Selman, one of the Georgia presidents of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “Just because most may believe in a monotheistic faith doesn’t mean that the government should promote that kind of approach to understanding the universe. I’m Jewish myself, so I do have that faith, but other Americans don’t.”
Last summer, a contest for the new plate design generated controversy after several designs included “In God We Trust” and won overwhelmingly.
People complained that the new design included the motto and officials failed to make clear that the motto was optional, so the vote was re-opened.