Action Alert

Say no to 'In God We Trust' option on license plates

Put the skids on bill to promote religion on Tenn. roads

A bill to put the phrase "In God We Trust" on Tennessee license plates is cruising through the state Legislature. Please take action today to hit the emergency brakes on this unacceptable violation of the Establishment Clause.

We asked you to take action on an earlier version of this bill, which would have required the phrase to be put on all state plates. Senate Bill 1355 / House Bill 0026 has been amended to make the license plate motto optional. However, required or not, putting religious wording on government property violates the Establishment Clause by expressing a religious belief in the existence of God on behalf of the state. The motto fails to represent the beliefs of Tennessee citizens who identify as nonreligious, and it sends the message that the state favors a specific ideological viewpoint of faith in a god over others.

Please take action to stop this collision between state and church in the Tennessee Legislature.

CONTACT

House Bill 0026 is scheduled to come before the full House tomorrow, May 4th. Please take action by contacting your state representative asking him or her to oppose this bill.

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(Keep reading for more information about this bill.)

BACKGROUND

The bill is going through both houses of the Tennessee Legislature concurrently. An amended version of Senate Bill 1355 just passed the full Senate, and House Bill 0026 is currently sitting in the Calendar & Rules Committee.

Almost one-fourth of Americans identify as nonreligious. Tennessee's government officials are charged with representing all residents of the state, including those who do not believe in a monotheistic god or any gods. These citizens should not be made to feel offended, excluded and like political outsiders because the state government that they support with their tax dollars oversteps its power by prominently placing a religious statement on government-issued license plates. The state shows a preference for religion over nonreligion by offering a license plate that proclaims trust in a deity but no nonreligious option, such as "In Reason We Trust" or "There is No God." State-issued license plates are not the place for this debate.

The history of the motto "In God We Trust" evidences no secular purpose; on the contrary, the motto was first adopted during the Cold War as a reaction to the purported "godlessness" of communism. America's original motto, which was selected by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, was purely secular: "E Pluribus Unum" ("out of many, one").

READ MORE

'In God We Trust' license tag bill passes Tennessee Senate 

'In God We Trust' license plate bill constitutionally suspect, attorney general says

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