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License Plate Blasphemy


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Atheist Republic (News)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): n.d.

According to Friendly Atheist, there is an effort ongoing to prevent the mockery of religion by a Kentucky man.

In 2016, the head of the Kentucky Division of Motor Vehicles rejected atheist Ben Hart‘s request for a license plate. It stated, “IM GOD.” He had this plate while living in Ohio. No problem, he lived in Ohio for 12 years. There was no issue there for the same license plate.

But then the Kentucky DMV told Hart that the plate was “obscene and vulgar.” Then this changed, “Not in good taste.” He then made a formal response in a lawsuit. He argued that this was a violation of his freedom of speech.

“…the DMV’s actions were a violation of his free speech. What Kentucky wanted was silly, he argued, because they allow you to buy an “In God We Trust” license plate template. How is that okay while taking a position on God on the plate itself is illegal?” The article stated, “The lawsuit is still working its way through the courts. Earlier this year, the judge rejected the state’s request to toss out the lawsuit. This case will be decided on its merits. We await the judge’s decision.”

Then some intriguing events took place. The DMV is going through all license plates now, or appears to have done so, to tell all those with a previously approved religious message that they are no longer allowed to have them.

This may amount to a tactic for the courts, so that the individuals who are trying to prosecute him can say that they are not simply being bigoted and singling out Hart for his atheism. One Susi Burton has “PRAY4” for her license plate. She had it for 8 years. Now, she is furious.

“… she was stunned the other day — no make that “horrified” — to get a letter from the State Transportation Cabinet telling her that she had 20 days to return her license plate to the Fayette County Clerk’s office or the state would cancel her 2016 Lexus’ registration,” the article explained.

She found this a serious hassle and annoyance. The state law is against license plates that target particular religions. However, the double standard is applied and obvious to Burton.

As the report stated, “Burton said she’s offended by the thought of a plate that says “IM GOD,” but that doesn’t mean the northern Kentucky man shouldn’t have it. That lady gets it. What’s really ironic in all this is that Burton is demanding Kentucky be more accommodating of her religious views.”

The article continues in more depth on the issues of the beliefs of the governor and then Kim Davis. Then also, those who are pushing back against them, but those are direct but peripheral issues to this particular license plate blasphemy news.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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