Update: As public backlash was growing, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission reversed its decision on Wednesday, approving American Atheists President David Silverman’s application for custom license plates reading “ATHE1ST.” American Atheists, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is a national non-profit dedicated to fighting discrimination against atheists.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission has rejected an application for a personalized license plate that says “ATHE1ST” – even though the word is not on the state’s list of offensive and prohibited terms.
New Jersey resident David Silverman, president of the group American Atheists, was willing to pay for a personalized license plate that reflects his views on religion. In the state of New Jersey, it costs $50 to acquire a customized license plate. But the MVC rejected his application, claiming that the word “atheist” is offensive, Silverman tweeted after the incident.
Earlier this year, the New Jersey Star-Ledger published the list of words that the MVC refuses to print on license plates. But the list, which has a total of 1,085 words and is dated Nov. 26, 2012, does not include the word atheist.
MVC spokesman Mike Horan told the paper that personalized license plate applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, especially since new slang words are continuously arising.
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