It seems the ACLU is irked by an Indiana license plate that displays an American flag and the words “In God We Trust.” Apparently, the group doesn’t oppose the plate itself, but instead opposes it being classified as a “secondary standard” plate–the end result being that, unlike the many specialty plates the state offers, it doesn’t carry the $15 administrative fee charged for, say, a plate with a Colts logo. The legal director for the state’s ACLU chapter summed up the group’s opposition with this remark:
“It’s about making sure that nearly every other plate that carries a message has a cost attached to it, and this does not,” Falk said. “In a state that’s as religious as Indiana, the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ is not just about supporting the national motto. It’s about saying you believe in God.”
So if the same plate were offered in a state where atheism is prevalent, the plate would be okay? Apparently, the ACLU is perfectly fine with the words “In God We Trust”just as long as they don’t actually mean anything to anyone.
Update: A reader adds:
The additional administrative fees that are charged for specialty plates go to the organization (or cause) that is promoted on the plate. To whom should Indiana send the additional fees for the “In God We Trust” plates? The ACLU would blow a gasket if the State of Indiana kept money from the sale of “religious” themed license plates.
Update 2: Another reader writes to say that this is incorrect and that only the additional group fees–but not the administrative fees that the ACLU is complaining about–go to the organizations. Official details here.