Better believe it, South Carolina

Print More

I believe.jpeg

In reason we trust.jpegFederal district judge Cameron McGowan Currie has administered a two-by-four to South Carolina’s “I BELIEVE” state license plate law, declaring it to be just incredibly unconstitutional. The judge’s central point is that, unlike the state’s “In Reason We Trust” plate, which was created at the behest of the Secular Humanists of the Low Country, “I BELIEVE” came about because the state legislature passed a law at the behest of Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer. In other words, rather than responding to a private request by a private organization (as S.C. law provides), the license plate came about by way of the government’s self-initiated action–a crystal-clear violation of the Establishment Clause.

To his credit, Gov. Mark Sanford, protagonist of last summer’s adultery
soap opera, was not a fan of the license plate, though he declared his
opposition on fiscal rather than First Amendment grounds. Bauer was the man, and the judge cites a number of statements made by him at rallies staged on behalf of the plate, including:

I think God is once again challenging us as individual people and as a country to stand up for the greater country in the world and say, Judeo Christian individuals started this country, it’s what’s made this country what every other country wants to be like and why people still want to come here for the land of hopes and dreams and promises. And so, this is our chance to really show the public that Christians are still here to be accounted for. You know, when they poll anytime in the country it’s . . . 80 something percent of the United States citizens consider themselves Christians. Then why is it so often that we see everybody take a back seat when it comes to Christian issues. . . . We got to stand up. We’ve got to make sure not only do we fight this battle, but that we put Christians . . . in every office. People are going to stand up for faith and not hide behind it.

With Bauer waiting in the wings, you can understand why South Carolinians have thought twice about dumping Sanford from office.

I presume that very shortly some private group will come forward to ask that an “I BELIEVE” license plate be created at its behest. And that soon enough there will be more “I BELIEVE” plates on the road than “In Reason We Trust” ones. But at least Madison won’t be rolling over in his grave.