When these bills were first introduced, The Detroit Free Press ran a short aricle featuring this from Sen. Roger Kahn :
“God (the "in god we trust plate) might be found too explicitly religious by the
courts, while "I Believe" is vague enough to pass constitutional
muster.” I think his words
are a pretty good indicator that he recognizes this inherent violation and hopes to slide the "I believe" in unnoticed/unchallenged.
This bill as well as SB 0128 (In god we trust) passed by a large margin - 28 to 8. From what I know, the Mi. Senate is pretty conservative, so it's not a big surprise that want Michigan to sponsor their religion, to the exclusion of all others. They're aware of the lawsuit in Indiana over the same thing and are half-expecting the same challenge here. But because he challenge in Indiana wasn't successful, legislators here think they will prevail as well (with no thought to the cost of defending such a lawsuit!). On the plus side, similar such plates in S. Carolina and Florida were not allowed to proceed, due to separation issues.
There is a very serious (& growing) ignorance in Michigan (the whole country!) regarding Separation of Church/State, which I find appalling. It's the whole "We are a christian nation" crap - which is 100% false; some go so far as to say separation is a myth (that's another thread). Addidionatlly, many people believe the wall of separation is anti-religion, which is a distortion. It's there to protect the religious liberty of all (or none at all).
If this gets scheduled for a committee meeting or public hearing, I plan to attend, if not to testify. The national organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) also plan to attend. If you're not familiar with AU, I think you'll be pleased with what they offer. And if you're in or near Lansing, come to the meeting/hearing. We need to call them on this!
Anyway, Michigan House isn't nearly as conservative as the Senate, so hopefully these two bills will just die in committee.
Melissa (Sorry for the long post!)
I've noted that nowhere in this proposed bills language does it describe what these people "believe" in.
Is this something that each person who requests one of these license plates then makes up their mind to decide.about, i.e., "I Believe" in Witchcraft, or "I Believe" in Water Aerobics, or "I Believe" in Paying My Bills and then adds this to their license plate ? Or are these license plates going to have some sort of other language or symbols on them?
Or, does this have some hidden meaning, like "I Believe" in some sort of religion, which should be prohibited, since that would be contrary to First Amendment to the Constitution, which is a "separation of church and state". If some sort of religious symbols are shown on the license plate, it is definitely a violation of the "separation of church and state" doctrine.
If the Michigan Legislature is planning on passing such a bill, allowing the State to issue such license plates, they're going to also have to allow the issuance of license plates for those that have a differing view, such as "I Do Not Believe In Fairy Tales", or "I Believe In Common Sense, Not Fairy Tales".
Simply not stating what it is someone believes in is simply an attempt to pass a bill that should not have ever been brought to a vote in either the House or the Senate.
[quote user="Yooper_Dave"]What's with all the license plate messages anyway - trying to justify a full-time job are we, eh?[/quote]
They generate revenue. Follow the money.