Almost precisely a year ago, I blogged about the Jesus license plate that the Florida Legislature was considering--stained glass window, cross and "I Believe" on the bottom of it. Well, I guess this is going to be a yearly occurrence because State Senators Ronda Storm and Gary Siplin have introduced a couple of offensive license plates this session. Storms is still after the "I Believe" plate, and Siplin, a Democrat from Orlando, wants this beauty.

As an open atheist, I'm starting to feel a little repressed by my state legislature, and not in a Dennis the Peasant "now we see the violence inherent in the system" kind of way either. Last year, when the I Believe" tag came up for debate, State Senator Bullard (who sponsored it then) said that he would oppose an "I Don't Believe" tag, and given that Senator Storms is pushing the "I Believe" tag (again) to benefit a group that seems to exist 1) to get a license plate and 2) to fund "faith-based programs" in public schools, I doubt that she'd be open to it either.

And I don't hold out much hope for Siplin either, given that he described the image as being of "my lord and savior Jesus Christ." The group he's sponsoring two plates for--the other one has a dinosaur on it--is The Toomey Foundation for the Natural Sciences, about which I can find very little online, but their index page sure seems like it's trying to perform a shotgun marriage on science and religion.

I look at these people, and I have to wonder just how much representation I have in my state legislature. And frankly, anyone who isn't a member of their particular faiths ought to be wondering as well. If you're Jewish, can you expect these Senators to treat your concerns with the same seriousness they do those of their own faith? What if you're Muslim? Or Wiccan? Hindu? Buddhist? Would you even exist to these people as anything other than an unrepentant heathen?

As I said in my post last year on this subject, if you want to decorate your car from headlights to tailpipe in religious stuff, go right ahead. If you want to turn your SUV into an animatronic re-enactment of the Passion, go for it. I'll probably even take pictures and blog about it. But keep it off the damn license plates. See--even if that "I Don't Believe" license plate existed, I wouldn't have one, because that's not the place to make a statement of that kind. My bumper, or my rear window, or even my hand gesture while I'm driving is the place for those types of statements, because that's personal space for personal expression. The license plate is a state document, and there shouldn't be any religious argument on it.

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