“Under God” License Plate Is Mainstream Texas, Period

Texas_Flag One State under God

The “One State under God” plate is a reflection of Texas voters and Texas values, as well as Texas’ support for the private religious speech of all in this state.  A purchase and design of a specialty license plate is, after all, a private decision and a private endeavor that merely passes through the DMV as one of many private/public arrangements that Texas participates in with the public.  Approval of the “One State Under God” specialty plate is not controversial, as some media are now trying to spin the story (see the Statesman story and Fort Worth Star-Telegram story).

In the state of Texas, the phrase “One State under God” is, in fact, decidedly noncontroversial and widely supported.  The phrase was added to the pledge to the Texas Flag in 2007 by the Texas Legislature (HB 1034) and supported by Liberty Institute, with only one elected official voting against it.  The vote in the Texas Senate was unanimous.  In the Texas House, the vote was almost unanimous, with Democrat Donna Howard being the only Texas House member to vote against the phrase.

In 2010, the fifth circuit federal court of appeals upheld the phrase “One State under God” in the Texas pledge as constitutional, after it was challenged by a couple from Dallas.  Liberty Institute was also a part of this victory.

Further, the appearance of one or more crosses on a specialty license plate is not controversial.  The following specialty license plates are available in Texas with one or more crosses: El Paso Mission Valley, University of St. Thomas, and Southwestern University.  The University of Mary Hardin Baylor uses a church graphic for its specialty plate.  There over 130 specialty license plates in Texas that can be purchased by a private individual with a wide variety of messages and symbols.  I don’t remember any stories being written or any so-called “controversy” when those plates were approved.

What is controversial is how common place it has become for some activist groups to target and attack individuals and elected officials based on their personal religious beliefs, particularly Christians.  Texas Freedom Network is one group engaged in this type of behavior and they don’t even hide it, as their mission statement says they “counter the religious right.”  It’s also controversial that the media seems to give these types of groups a pass, because I guess us Christians should just turn the other cheek.

The reality is, the phrase “One State under God” is not controversial for Texas, at all.

The “Under God” plate is a reflection of Texas voters and Texas values, period.  An issue does not become “controversial” just because extreme liberal groups like Texas Freedom Network and Americans United for Separation of Church and State once again choose to attack a person’s private choice to express their strongly held religious beliefs, particularly Christianity, and see this as an opportunity to create division along political lines. These extreme liberal activist groups continue to lose at the legislature, state boards, and the ballot box, and the latest stinging loss over the “Under God” plate is just the most recent example of how out of touch they are with the mainstream and with Texas & American values in general.

See Liberty Institute’s press release on the Texas DMV passing the “One State under God” plate from yesterday here.

8 Responses to “Under God” License Plate Is Mainstream Texas, Period

  1. dougindeap says:

    The federal government’s inscription of the phrase “In God we trust” on coins and currency, as well as its addition of the words “under God” to the pledge of allegiance in 1954 and adoption of the phrase “In God we trust” as a national motto in 1956, and the Texas government’s decision to echo that phrase on license plates are mistakes, which should be corrected. Under our Constitution, the government has no business proclaiming that “we trust” “In God.” Some of us do, and some of us don’t; each of us enjoys the freedom to make that choice; the government does not and should not purport to speak for us in this regard. Nor does the government have any business calling on its citizens to voice affirmation of a god in any circumstances, let alone in the very pledge the government prescribes for affirming allegiance to the country. The unnecessary insertion of an affirmation of a god in the pledge puts atheists and other nonbelievers in a Catch 22: Either recite the pledge with rank hypocrisy or accept exclusion from one of the basic rituals of citizenship enjoyed by all other citizens. The government has no business forcing citizens to this choice on religious grounds, and it certainly has no business assembling citizens’ children in public schools and prescribing their recitation of the pledge–affirmation of a god and all–as a daily routine.

    But that’s just me talking. The courts, on the other hand, have sometimes found ways to excuse such things, like for instance the 5th Circuit’s explanation that they are more about acknowledging tradition than promoting religion per se. Draining the government’s nominally religious statements or actions of religious meaning (or at least purporting to do so) and discounting them as non-religious ritual–sometimes dubbed “ceremonial deism”–is one way to find them not to conflict with the First Amendment. Ordinary folks, though, commonly see things differently; when they read “[i]n God we trust,” they think the Government is actually declaring that “we” as a people actually “trust” the actual “God” they believe in. If they understood it as merely a ritualistic phrase devoid of religious meaning, they would hardly get as exercised as they do about proposals to drop it. As you can imagine, those more interested in championing their religion than the constitutional principle of separation of church and state sometimes seek to exploit and expand such “exceptions” even if it requires they fake interest only in tradition.

  2. I beg to differ with the earlier post. This license plate is a paid for optional plate. No one forces anyone to buy one. Excluding my free speech on a personalized plate is against the constitution. And, maybe the person above does not realize this, but we would not be the USA if it not for God and the founders belief in Him.

  3. […] the director of legislative affairs for the Austin offices of the conservative Liberty Institute, blogged in support of the plates, saying critics are attacking […]

  4. […] the director of legislative affairs for the Austin offices of the conservative Liberty Institute, blogged in support of the plates, saying critics are attacking […]

  5. […] the director of legislative affairs for the Austin offices of the conservative Liberty Institute, blogged in support of the plates, saying critics are attacking […]

  6. […] the director of legislative affairs for the Austin offices of the conservative Liberty Institute, blogged in support of the plates, saying critics are attacking […]

  7. Daemian Scherza says:

    Then I’m sure that you’d also support the availability of a plate that says “One State under Allah” replacing the crosses with the islamic crescent?

    Or maybe one that says “One Secular State” and displays the atheist “A” ?

  8. […] will be officiating the rally on Saturday, really hit the nail on the head.  As we have seen with our stand on the “Under God” license plate, unless Christians stand up for their rights, the left will continue to try to chip away at our […]

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