Are religious vanity license plates a First Amendment right?

State-sponsored religious advertising
In South Carolina, a district court has temporarily halted the production of state-sponsored license plates that declare “I Believe” and feature an illustration of a stained-glass window with a cross.

In Vermont, meanwhile, an appeals court has been mulling whether a vanity plate featuring John 3:16, the verse about Jesus saving the world, should be permitted on that state’s roads.

And in Arizona, a court has ruled that it is OK to give residents the option of having the words “Choose Life” on state plates.

The question is no longer the environmentally inspired “What Would Jesus Drive?” Now, it’s more likely to be about the driver’s badge of faith: “What’s on his license plate?”

Across the country, the metal license plates required by state laws have become the latest battleground for church-state disputes and questions of free speech.


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