AP Suggests Christians Oppose Faith-Affirming License Plates

When did it become the Christian thing to do to support a ban on license plates that depict Christian messages because they supposedly violate the First Amendment?

Reporting on a suit filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State to block South Carolina's decision to issue “I Believe” license plates, the Associated Press quotes three pastors in defense of the suit and none for the opposition.  The only supporter of the license plates cited in the AP article is South Carolina's House Speaker Bobby Harrell.

The AP article first quotes Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.  He says, “I do believe these 'I Believe' plates will not see the light of day because the courts, I'm confident, will see through this.”

Next, the AP article quotes a Methodist pastor, Rev. Thomas Summers of Columbia, who joined the lawsuit.  Asserting that the plates promote discrimination, he says, “I think this license plate really is divisive and creates the type of religious discord I've devoted my life to healing.”

The AP article ends paraphrasing the Rev. Robert Knight of Charleston saying that “the plates cheapen the Christian message.”  The article quotes Knight as saying, “As an evangelical Christian, I don't think civil religion enhances the Christian religion.  It compromises it. . . . That's the fundamental irony.  It's very shallow from a Christian standpoint.”

The article gives no pastoral voice for the opposition but only quotes Speaker Harrell.  Referring to the group that filed the lawsuit, he says, “I think this has less to do with the First Amendment and more to do with their disdain for religion generally.”

Julia Seward is an intern at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.