Dr. Wayne Baker is taking a short summer break. He has welcomed guest writers, including Daniel Buttry last week. PLUS, we’re revisiting timely questions from Dr. Baker himself. This week, a hot topic from one year ago suddenly is resurfacing … (This week’s stories: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.)
What slogan do you want to drive by?
Millions of Americans ride around in cars decorated with bumper stickers, club logos—and increasingly with specialized license plates sold by state governments coast to coast.
One year ago, Dr. Baker asked us all about this:
South Carolinians use their
license plates to support worthy causes like “Endangered Species” and
the “National Multiple Sclerosis Society.” They display their pastimes and favorite spectator sports: “Amateur Radio,” “Gone Fishing” and “NASCAR.” They declare their support for any number of colleges and universities in South Carolina. Now, South Carolinians can use their license plates to proclaim their faith—at least if they’re Christians.
Summertime must naturally bring out the license plate news stories, because there’s a buzz this month about Virginia’s new “Choose Life” license plates (shown above)—among hundreds of variations of license-plate slogans now available in that state. About 600 people have snapped up the newly available plates. Virginia becomes the 24th U.S. state offering a “Choose Life” plate. A portion of these plate fees are donated to “pregnancy crisis centers” that are part of the movement opposing abortion.
TODAY, we’re not asking specifically about your feelings concerning abortion—but about what range of slogans should be allowed on state-produced license plates?
This is the question Dr. Baker has raised: Should government-produced license plates be open to sectarian slogans? Is there a difference between professing our faith—or our opinions on a faith-related political issue—and expressing, say, our love of the natural world, a sports team or a university?
What values should we follow in the rules for license-plate slogans?
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