Lynn v. Sekulow

Well, Jay, Americans United won a very significant victory late last week in a case in South Carolina involving license plates.  U.S. District Court Judge Cameron McGowan Currie granted a preliminary injunction against the state continuing to market or actually send out plates with the phrase “I Believe” on them.  Lest anyone doubt what the metal signs are referring to, the plates contain both a yellow cross and a stained glass church window. Hint: they are Christian plates.  They were actually designed by a legislator, then approved by a unanimous vote of the legislature this summer, and were the focus of a marketing campaign this fall.

In temporarily halting the plates, the judge specifically noted that she didn’t see how the plates met even one of the requirements of established Supreme Court jurisprudence in religion cases.  The plates, on the basis of the evidence presented so far, seem to promote religion, seem to have no secular purpose, and seem to entangle government with religion.

A few critics are now griping that if the plates are not allowed, the “free speech” of drivers will be impaired.  Spare me, please.  Long before the South Carolina legislature weighed in on this, many Christians in the state had bumper stickers on their cars affirming their faith or “fish” symbols attached to the car bodies.  No one can or should stop such displays.  No, this plate was not about free speech; it was one more shameless effort by legislators to adopt a religious symbol for political purposes. This is why religious leaders in the state were among the plaintiffs.

It is not yet known whether the state will bother to try to defend its decision on the merits.  Let’s hope they don’t.  It will save everybody a lot of time and South Carolinians a lot of money.

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