A new bill pre-filed in the Georgia General Assembly this month would not only allowdrivers to obtain license plates reading “In God We Trust,” but would in fact require them on all vehicles – unless drivers pay to cover it up. Georgia SB 293 would amend current law to mandate that, starting next summer, all plates would be imprinted with the religious declaration. If someone does not wish to exhibit this statement of faith, they would be required to purchase a sticker from the state displaying the name of their county that could be used to cover “In God We Trust.”
The bill text currently available on the legislature’s website really drives home the dramatic change in attitudes by the Assembly, as you can clearly see what has been crossed out and changed. While displaying the county name is the current “default” choice for Georgia drivers and alternatively they may purchase an “In God We Trust” sticker, this bill would directly swap the two, making the religious motto the routine option.
Mandating that individuals pay money to the government in order to not flaunt religious views is absolutely ridiculous. As the website Georgia Politico aptly puts it, “In other words, if you feel the government should not be establishing a religion, you are going to have to pay to prove it.”
The effort is particularly absurd as it was just earlier this year that these same plates were one of the choices available to Georgia voters to choose under a referendum. With a significant number of people rejecting the religious option this summer, state officials have now chosen to simply force it upon them instead. We will be following this bill carefully when the legislature comes back in session in January.