Atheist sues over New Jersey license plate refusal

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Shannon Morgan identifies as an atheist and wants the world, or at least the car behind her, to know it. But the state of New Jersey says no.

Morgan, of Leesburg, is suing the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for rejecting her request for a vanity license plate reading “8THEIST,” according to a formal complaint filed Thursday with the district court.

But the commission nixed her request, saying the message “may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency,” according to the complaint.

An Americans United for Separation of Church and State legal team is now helping her sue the commission claiming Morgan’s First Amendment rights were violated.

“The state of New Jersey is favoring religion while disparaging nonbelief,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of the group. “It simply has no right to do that.”

Morgan claims that she was denied a license plate for “8THEIST” but approved for one that read “BAPTIST” and that this “expresses a preference for theistic religious beliefs, over non-theistic beliefs” according to the complaint.

Written By: Elizabeth Landers
continue to source article at cnn.com

19 COMMENTS

  1. That reminds me, in my home state in Australia, Victoria, they have “Zodiac” license plates, which say things like:
    ARIES: BRIGHT, STRONG, AMBITIOUS

    I am vaguely surprised that nobody seems to care…but then again I didn’t complain either…

  2. dam xes is my number plate and my trade mark, maybe you have to spell 8thiest backwards to get it approved, even though it may be deemed as a message from the devil by religious extremists, its not illegal..yet

    • In reply to #4 by mmurray:

      Why the 8 in 8THEIST when you could use A or just NOGOD ?

      An 8theist is someone who believes in the Holy Octonity: God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the Bashful, the Sleepy, the Happy, the Grumpy and God the Doc.

  3. A Sydney man refused the number plate WOGBOX for one of his 13 Valiants has lost an appeal to Roads Minister Carl Scully. The “WOG” part of the plate was not deemed offensive – but “BOX” was.

    Takes all sorts.

    • In reply to #5 by Vorlund:

      A Sydney man refused the number plate WOGBOX for one of his 13 Valiants has lost an appeal to Roads Minister Carl Scully. The “WOG” part of the plate was not deemed offensive – but “BOX” was.

      Takes all sorts.

      Ah, but “Box’ is a Homonym for a ladies bits. So this man’s Vallent is literally a Greek Australian Imigrants Vagina with both the Wog and Box being somewhat offensive but the Wog bit being taken on by Greek imigrants in the same way Impressionist was or Big Bang was. I’m uncertain if any of the ladies have decided to take on ‘BOX’ in this manner yet. Sexist and racist, although I think in this case it is probably just implying that this is a box to put Greeks in not the other. Sorry Ladies.

        • In reply to #8 by Ohtar:

          In reply to #7 by Reckless Monkey:

          Ah, but “Box’ is a Homonym for a ladies bits.

          No it’s not. Might be a synonym, though.

          It might well be a homonym too. Maybe in Australia “box” and “ladies bits” are pronounced the same.

          • In reply to #9 by Twizzle:

            In reply to #8 by Ohtar:

            In reply to #7 by Reckless Monkey:

            Ah, but “Box’ is a Homonym for a ladies bits.

            No it’s not. Might be a synonym, though.

            It might well be a homonym too. Maybe in Australia “box” and “ladies bits” are pronounced the same.

            Possibility isn’t probability. What would you think is more likely – that they’re pronounced the same or that they’re pronounced differently?

        • In reply to #8 by Ohtar:

          In reply to #7 by Reckless Monkey:

          Ah, but “Box’ is a Homonym for a ladies bits.

          No it’s not. Might be a synonym, though.

          Thanks for the clarification guys, I was unsure grammar not being a strong point. Google isn’t as much help as I hoped It seems to come down to why a ladies bits are called lady bits. Rose (the flower) and rose (to get up) are homonyms because spelled and prounounced the same but have different meanings. So I was unsure which was correct. I shall ask and english teacher or two today at work.

  4. I saw a number plate the other day that said ’8 kids’. Now that could be offensive. How inconsiderate is it to bring 8 children into an overcrowded world. They are probably mormons or catholics since those groups think it is incumbent on them to fill their pews.

  5. Something else to make me ashamed of NJ. They allow all these god theme plates so I hope her lawsuit works. You can have a plate that reads “YES GOD” but not “8THEIST” and that’s bogus.

  6. So “A” was already taken? Doesn’t that mean the NJ DMV has already issued a licence plate with “Atheist” on it? So why the problem now?

    Perhaps it’s the cannibalism reference “ate theist.”

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