Pharyngula

You’ve all seen the hideous Florida license plates, right? Well, the Orlando Sentinel has a poll to see whether people think it’s reasonable for a secular state government to be punching out plates endorsing a weird sectarian faith. So far, the kind of people who read the Sentinel think it is. I wonder what the kind of people who read Pharyngula think…

Should Florida lawmakers allow specialty state license plates with religious messages?

Yes. Floridians who are religious should have the right to pay more to show it on their plates. (3592 responses)
58.3%
Yes. Why is this any different than letting Floridians buy plates to benefit other causes they believe in, like saving manatees? (1131 responses)
18.4%
No. This goes crashing through the wall that should separate church and state. (1325 responses)
21.5%
No, because every religion — and atheists — will be able to demand a license plate. (112 responses)
1.8%

Comments

  1. #1 Glen Davidson
    April 29, 2009

    No “teach the controversy”? Can’t we see Jesus and Buddha in a showdown on a license plate?

    Gee, I thought all sides were supposed to be presented.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  2. #2 Dianne
    April 29, 2009

    But what about the response, “Yes, because then every religion, including atheists, will be able to demand a license plate.” Not that I’m sure what an atheist license plate would look like.

  3. #3 Bunk
    April 29, 2009

    I believe people should be able to pay more and get a specialty license plate with their own brand of weirdness on it, if there are enough of them for the state to turn a tidy profit on.

    However, I voted NO just to piss off Florida.

  4. #4 wet_bread
    April 29, 2009

    Personally, I kinda like the plate. If I lived there, I’d get one that said “STL DED”

  5. #5 Ordinary Man
    April 29, 2009

    Everyone having their own license plate sounds great in theory, but it ruins the point of license plates, which is to easily track registered vehicles. Can you imagine a cop being able to identify over 1,000,000 different styles of plates?

    But if we are going that direction, and since Florida is the home of Disney World, I want a picture of Mickey Mouse hanging on the cross…

    “Remember, Mickey was crucified for you sins.”

    It is just the right mix of sarcasm and evil.

  6. #6 Platypus
    April 29, 2009

    Yeah, I’m with Glen@#1… as long as all religions get equal treatment I don’t see the problem.

    All though I’m going to dump fettucini all over the first car with an invisible pink unicorn plate.

  7. #7 Quiet Desperation
    April 29, 2009

    Can’t we see Jesus and Buddha in a showdown on a license plate?

    Oh my! I haz been strucketh with a vision!

    You just defined the next game in the MK series.

    “Mortal Kombat: Holy War”

    Religious deities come to Outworld to duke it out in one final smackdown to see who controls the Earthrealm.

    [Cue game trailer of Jesus getting totally owned by Vishnu, and Buddha body slamming that skinny prick Loki]

    Beat the game to unlock Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny as playable characters.

  8. #8 JD
    April 29, 2009

    They forgot to consult the Christian Alligator Coalition.

  9. #9 mollywriter
    April 29, 2009

    What an awful choice that fourth option is. It would say the same thing if you wrote, “No. Because people would then expect the government to stop favoring Christians and treat all citizens fairly.” Except without the bigotry of non-Christians.

    As it stands, the option screams, “NO! Because people different than you might want to be treated equally! And that’s against what (white, x-tian) America stands for!”

  10. #10 varlo
    April 29, 2009

    Sanity is gaining, but I fear there may too many religiotards here in Florida to deliver any crushing blow. Their “choose life” plates are everywhere (and 99% of them are from the imaginary friend group).

  11. #11 jsoutofbiblepgs
    April 29, 2009

    After you vote, it reminds you that (Results not scientific.)

  12. #12 The Science Pundit
    April 29, 2009

    Yes. Floridians who are religious should have the right to pay more to show it on their plates. (4014 responses)

    51.2%

    Yes. Why is this any different than letting Floridians buy plates to benefit other causes they believe in, like saving manatees? (1142 responses)

    14.6%

    No. This goes crashing through the wall that should separate church and state. (2550 responses)

    32.5%

    No, because every religion — and atheists — will be able to demand a license plate. (135 responses)

    1.7%

  13. #13 littlejohn
    April 29, 2009

    Dianne, I think an atheist plate would have nothing on it.

  14. #14 Ryan Egesdahl
    April 29, 2009

    Well, I suppose the plates aren’t so bad if they’ll also make special plates for Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, and even Muslims.

    Wait, they won’t? Well, I suppose that means this is religiously motivated – and I shall vote accordingly.

  15. #15 Benny the Icepick
    April 29, 2009

    #4 / wet bread:
    //I’d get one that said “STL DED”//

    Love it! But I’d have to sharpie in a great big smile, and stick on those googly eyes.

  16. #16 Somnolent Aphid
    April 29, 2009

    @1 Speaking of teaching the controversy
    http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1604

  17. #17 Gruesome Rob
    April 29, 2009

    Oh my! I haz been strucketh with a vision!

    You just defined the next game in the MK series.

    “Mortal Kombat: Holy War”

    BTDT, Game was pulled off the net yesterday.

  18. #18 Josh
    April 29, 2009

    A comment on the website of that poll:

    Andy: This is unthinkable. In a rear end accident Jesus would be smashed. I don’t even want to think about that.

    Welcome to Jesusland.

  19. #19 SteveM
    April 29, 2009

    What an awful choice that fourth option is. It would say the same thing if you wrote, “No. Because people would then expect the government to stop favoring Christians and treat all citizens fairly.” Except without the bigotry of non-Christians.

    Exactly. The fourth choice, while saying “No” is essentially a “Yes” vote in disguise.

  20. #20 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2009

    Dianne, I think an atheist plate would have nothing on it.

    In SC these are our Secular Humanist plates.

  21. #21 Jared Lessl
    April 29, 2009

    > Why is this any different than letting Floridians buy plates to benefit other causes they believe in, like saving manatees?

    Is that really a door they want to start knocking on? That a religion is no different from a social club or a kitting circle? Those types of organizations don’t typically get tax-exempt status just because. They have to actually _be_ non-profit, and conform to any number of other government requirements.

  22. #22 ChrisZ
    April 29, 2009

    I chose the fourth option. Other than specialty plates being stupid in general, I don’t really care what goes on them. I do think, however, that since you can’t please every religion you’re gonna have to choose some over others, and that’s clearly a state endorsement of religion.

  23. #23 Stacy
    April 29, 2009

    The “No’s” are only at 34% – Let’s get busy.

    Gov. Crist will approve the plate if it hits his desk.

  24. #24 Quiet Desperation
    April 29, 2009

    Love it! But I’d have to sharpie in a great big smile, and stick on those googly eyes.

    And a LOLCats style caption. JESUS HAZ A HAPPEE!

    And you know, Jesus has a happy for *you* too, you filthy sinners. ;-)

  25. #25 Brownian, OM
    April 29, 2009

    No, because every religion–and atheists– will be able to demand a license plate.

    Won’t somebody think of the children?!

    Seriously though, why are atheists even allowed to drive? There can be no traffic laws without God. For the Bible says “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no right turn on a red. They are tailgaters, they have speedeth through school zones, there is none that shoulder check before changeth lanes.”

  26. #26 PZ Myers
    April 29, 2009

    An atheist license plate would be completely blank, and give you carte blanche to do anything in the vehicle that you wanted.

  27. #27 Quiet Desperation
    April 29, 2009

    Gov. Crist will approve the plate if it hits his desk.

    He’s just confused. He thinks it’s about “Crist plates” and not “Christ plates”.

  28. #28 varlo
    April 29, 2009

    Ouch! Click on the Miami Herald link on the Sentinel page and you’ll see it is even worse than at first glance. The intended beneficiary of the money raised is a company which will distribute the money to faith-based schools. I suspect that in itself in enough to render it unconstitutional.

  29. #29 Dianne
    April 29, 2009

    Gov. Crist will approve the plate if it hits his desk.

    Go ahead. Let him. Open that door…

  30. #30 HombreMoleculos
    April 29, 2009

    How do we petition to get the FSM on the plates?

  31. #31 Lynna
    April 29, 2009

    The proposed Jesus plates will cause more tailgating. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing here! Let me get a little closer.” Bam.

  32. #32 Darren S. A. George
    April 29, 2009

    What’s even worse than atheists having their own license plates would be having specialty plates for dedicated antitheists and blasphemers (we don’t know any of those, do we?).

    What would work for people who loathe religion? A communion wafer with a nail in it? A red circle with a slash through it, containing a cross?

    Also, if the State of Florida is to make plates for everyone’s beliefs, they’d need to make plates with burning crosses or swastikas for white supremacists, the stars&bars for seccecionist/separatists, etc.

    Oh- and a banana for creationists.

  33. #33 ignatov
    April 29, 2009

    “Yes” just overtook “No.”

    Wolverines!!!

  34. #34 Anonymous
    April 29, 2009

    Er, vice versa, actually. My bad,

  35. #35 Michelle R
    April 29, 2009

    Where is the “No, and don’t make any license plates about anything else but showing the car’s number. If you want to show off an opinion, get a bumper sticker.”

  36. #36 Josh
    April 29, 2009

    Wolverines!!!

    ignatov, you get +10 for that.

  37. #37 littlejohn
    April 29, 2009

    Has anyone else noted that you can vote repeatedly? This poll doesn’t even track cookies! You can just hit your Back button and vote again. I’m going to spend some time on this site.

  38. #38 Bostonian
    April 29, 2009

    Platypus @#6:

    All though I’m going to dump fettucini all over the first car with an invisible pink unicorn plate.

    All existing license plates in all 50 states have the invisible pink unicorn on them. Haven’t you noticed it?

  39. #39 Olowkow
    April 29, 2009

    Insanity! I want a plate with P.Z.’s picture on it!

  40. #40 Monado
    April 29, 2009

    At least they have two choices for No and two for Yes.

    The first “No” is now at 48%, handily overtaking the first “Yes” at 36%.

    If the money just went into general state coffers instead of being directed to “faith-based” initiatives, it might be tempting to let people buy the plates on the “lottery = tax on the innumerate” theory. But then, I think that any state facing a budget crisis should ramp up its enforcement of traffic laws until the fines cover the deficit. Citizens can hardly complain since “traffic tickets = tax on law-breakers.”

  41. #41 SLW13
    April 29, 2009

    Sweet. We’re already at 53%.

  42. #42 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2009

    I will take this opportunity to blog whore and promote the various license plates i think we should all demand.

  43. #43 littlejohn
    April 29, 2009

    54% and soaring. I think we may be killing it. The response time is slowing down.

  44. #44 «břnez_brigade»
    April 29, 2009

    Current percentages:
    Yes1 – 34.8%
    Yes2 – 8.5%
    No1 – 54.6%
    No2 – 2.1%

    The fourth option is almost OK, but the way it is phrased makes it appear as, “Oh, noes! Even those evil atheists will be able to get them!”

  45. #45 Qwerty
    April 29, 2009

    Perhaps if you could replace SAM PLE (on the SAMPLE plate) with FCK YOU; then, maybe some non-believers would be interested.

  46. #46 Ordinary Man
    April 29, 2009

    Obligatory attempt at some humor:

    Catholic : Plate reads, “No seatbelts, God doesn’t approve of protection.”

    Mormon : Nothing special about the license plate, but you get to have several of them

    Scientologist : License plate appears to be for passenger vehicles, but is really only for commercial vehicles.

    Muslim : Failure to mount plate correctly will result in driver being stoned to death. Any bumper stickers around plate will result in driver being stoned. Any attempts to change plate in future will result in driver being stoned.

    Buddhist : Everyone thinks this plate is cute and cuddly because no one really knows anything about it.

    Hinduism : Plate has picture of your great-great-great-uncle on it, who may or may not be a deity by now.

    Baptist : Big plate, much, much bigger than anyone else’s license plate. Even larger than the back of the car, covered in gold and rhinestones, and it reads, “God loves the meek.”

  47. #47 MaleficVTwin
    April 29, 2009

    “Oh, noes! Even those evil atheists will be able to get them!”

    Those horrid atheists wanting their own license plates??? Oh, the huge manatee………….

  48. #48 Cut and Paste
    April 29, 2009

    #4 “STL DED”

    In that vein:

    BIG LIE
    ZOM BIE
    NOM NOM

  49. #49 B.T. Murtagh
    April 29, 2009

    At least Florida plans to make people pay for their God plates. Here in South Carolina there’s a very popular “In God We Trust” license plate which costs the same as the standard plate. To get the “In Reason We Trust” plate you have to pay an additional $25.

  50. #50 Furious_Six_Claws_Mcgee
    April 29, 2009

    All religions should have their own license plates! It’s only fair for everybody.
    Just imagine how awesome the church of Satan license plate would be. Naked devil chicks makin’out, some skeletons playing the electric guitar on the sides. Letters all dripping with blood while simultaneously on fire.

  51. #51 «břnez_brigade»
    April 29, 2009

    Oh, the huge manatee………….

    Exactly.

  52. #52 Alex
    April 29, 2009

    #48

    A few more:

    DED GOD
    WRM FUD
    CON MAN

  53. #53 Erin
    April 29, 2009

    From the comments on that page:

    hmmm: every license plate without explicit religious reference is arguably supportive of the “athiest” faith, and thereby violative of the church/state separation

    hmmm: banning all tags which “affirmatively” support some higher being is preferring one faith (athiest, negative faith) over others (pro-higher being)

    Hahaha! We’ve already won! The number of things in America which don’t explicitly reference religion waaaaay outnumber the things that do. Take that, Jeebus people, you’re surrounded.

    I’m struggling here… Poe?

  54. #54 Phillycook
    April 29, 2009

    The “No. This goes crashing through the wall that should separate church and state. ” option seems to be winning this round. Even the comments seem to come down on the side of separation.
    Yes. Floridians who are religious should have the right to pay more to show it on their plates. (5377 responses)
    30.4%
    Yes. Why is this any different than letting Floridians buy plates to benefit other causes they believe in, like saving manatees? (1183 responses)
    6.7%
    No. This goes crashing through the wall that should separate church and state. (10660 responses)
    60.3%
    No, because every religion — and atheists — will be able to demand a license plate. (453 responses)
    2.6%
    17673 total responses

  55. #55 JasonTD
    April 29, 2009

    I chose the 4th option before thinking about how it was phrased. I was thinking, “No, because then every belief or non-belief would need to be represented and there are already too many different types of licence plates for law enforcement to easily recognize a Florida one when they see it.”

    What I really wish had been an option:

    “No, because the state legislature still hasn’t done its job of passing a budget that doesn’t absolutely gut education spending, and they shouldn’t be wasting time pandering to the religious with something of dubious constitutionality, at best.”

  56. #56 Ordinary Man
    April 29, 2009

    Perhaps we’re taking the wrong tact here.

    1. Allow the plates, but charge a hefty fee.
    2. Allow other Jesus themed government items. Have a “Virgin Mary” passport, “Sermon of the Mount” handgun license, or the ever popular “The meek shall inherit the Earth” certificate of incorporation.
    3. Charge significant fees for these items as well. Start an ad campaign implying that not paying for these specialty items results from a lack of faith.
    4. Profit!

    It is said that the lottery is a stupidity tax, but why limit ourselves to one stupidity tax?

  57. #57 Alex
    April 29, 2009

    hmmm: every license plate without explicit religious reference is arguably supportive of the “athiest” faith, and thereby violative of the church/state separation

    Wow. This is what passes for reasoning ability in their minds? So then it also means that it affirms not worshipping Cthulhu as well – which apparently is problematic? Hmmmm. Me thinks he no thinks.

    lawjik: ur doin it rong bakwurdz

  58. #58 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 29, 2009

    Yes. Floridians who are religious should have the right to pay more to show it on their plates. (5675 responses)
    29.8%
    Yes. Why is this any different than letting Floridians buy plates to benefit other causes they believe in, like saving manatees? (1187 responses)
    6.2%
    No. This goes crashing through the wall that should separate church and state. (11654 responses)
    61.3%
    No, because every religion — and atheists — will be able to demand a license plate. (504 responses)
    2.6%
    19020 total responses (Results not scientific)

    “(Results not scientific)” is a bit hidden in the original; it’s in gray. I’m too lazy to figure out how to properly code that.

  59. #59 Newfie
    April 29, 2009

    I want a license plate advocating marijuana use.
    …. wait… that’s it. They think the cops won’t stop them for speeding/failing to signal/running over an atheist if they have the Jebus plate.. right?? Cause they all belong to the same group of stupid, and they all look out for each other, right? Scarlet letter indeed.

  60. #60 Kevin In Philadelphia
    April 29, 2009

    Just voted “NO” for the church and state issue, and that answer is now 61.3%. I am beginning to see why internet “polling” is such a failed endeavor.

  61. #61 Kevin In Philadelphia
    April 29, 2009

    Just voted “NO” for the church and state issue, and that answer is now 61.3%. I am beginning to see why internet “polling” is such a failed endeavor.

  62. #62 Kobra
    April 29, 2009

    Shit like this makes me ashamed of living in Florida. The fact that my county went 55-45 in McCain’s favor doesn’t help.

    So, in response to this license plate fiasco, I propose the following: http://www.kobrascorner.com/fury/license-plates.php

  63. #63 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2009

    I am beginning to see why internet “polling” is such a failed endeavor.

    BINGO!

  64. #64 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 29, 2009

    Someone has installed a votebot.

    Yes. Floridians who are religious should have the right to pay more to show it on their plates. (5972 responses)
    29.6%
    Yes. Why is this any different than letting Floridians buy plates to benefit other causes they believe in, like saving manatees? (1189 responses)
    5.9%
    No. This goes crashing through the wall that should separate church and state. (12465 responses)
    61.8%
    No, because every religion — and atheists — will be able to demand a license plate. (529 responses)
    2.6%
    20155 total responses (Results not scientific)

  65. #65 the bug guy
    April 29, 2009

    Wait a minute, didn’t they declare a moratorium on new specialty plates last year? We already have what, over a hundred and change?

  66. #66 Alex
    April 29, 2009

    I want a license plate advocating marijuana use.

    Shhhhh! ixnay on the ugdrays! They already know we eat babies and kill kittens. Let’s not expose all of our questionable activities!

  67. #67 HumanisticJones
    April 29, 2009

    I think I’d get one of those Jesus plates and get the plate to say “REZ PLZ” for an irreverent MMORPG based laugh.

  68. #68 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 29, 2009

    REZ PLZ

    :-D :-D :-D

    Votebot update:

    Yes. Floridians who are religious should have the right to pay more to show it on their plates. (6419 responses)
    30.4%
    Yes. Why is this any different than letting Floridians buy plates to benefit other causes they believe in, like saving manatees? (1192 responses)
    5.6%
    No. This goes crashing through the wall that should separate church and state. (12972 responses)
    61.4%
    No, because every religion — and atheists — will be able to demand a license plate. (546 responses)
    2.6%
    21129 total responses (Results not scientific)

  69. #69 Xanthir, FCD
    April 29, 2009

    @19:
    I voted #4, and I agree, it *is* a “Yes” vote in disguise. I have absolutely no problem with people displaying their faith on a license plate. My problem is that the state only approves a small number of plate designs, and by sticking in only a Jesus one, they’re implicitly endorsing the christian faith, which is obviously a no-no.

    So it’s sort of an all-or-nothing thing. Either we don’t have any religion on our plates, or we get to have all religions. As long as our current situation persists (small number of legal plate designs, approved by a goverenment office), though, that equates to “nothing”.

  70. #70 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2009

    I think I’d get one of those Jesus plates and get the plate to say “REZ PLZ” for an irreverent MMORPG based laugh.

    I’m ashamed to say that I not only understood that but laughed at it.

  71. #71 Kobra
    April 29, 2009

    @71:
    Same here.

  72. #72 Uncephalized
    April 29, 2009

    I don’t think there should be ANY specialty license plates anywhere. When you register your car you get a plate with a number on it, and that’s that.

  73. #73 Holbach
    April 29, 2009

    Sort of wordy for a plate, but to the point:

    “All gods cease at your death; wonder why?”

  74. #74 Holbach
    April 29, 2009

    Sort of wordy for a plate, but to the point:

    “All gods cease at your death; wonder why?”

  75. #75 Holbach
    April 29, 2009

    Woops, two posts, one for the front plate, one for the back.

  76. #76 Die Anyway
    April 29, 2009

    Poll is well Pharyngulated but that just hides the fact that many (most?) Floridians actually do support the plate.

    However, an article in today’s St. Pete Times says: “Neither Siplin’s design nor one by Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, of a stained glass window with a cross, appear in House legislation. Ultimate approval appears unlikely.”

    An accompanying article provides some semi-humorous lettering choices for the plate if it were to exist: ‘AMEN 2U’, ‘RIZZEN’, ‘SMITEME’ and a few others.

  77. #77 God Retardent
    April 29, 2009

    Posted by: PZ Myers | April 29, 2009 12:50 PM

    An atheist license plate would be completely blank, and give you carte blanche to do anything in the vehicle that you wanted.

    How about a large Cracker with a nail through it?
    (Floridians are known as crackers)

  78. #78 DaveL
    April 29, 2009

    How about:

    GOT NLD
    BAD WKD
    NON SNS
    CLT LDR
    FRY TAL
    B D S M

  79. #79 JackC
    April 29, 2009

    Sigh – not being into RPGs, I don’t follow. I do, however, like Popcorn.

    JC

  80. #80 Travis Bickle
    April 29, 2009

    At the bottom of the poll it reads: “Results not scientific”.

    It is now baby.

  81. #81 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2009

    At the bottom of the poll it reads: “Results not scientific”.

    It is now baby.

    Are you talkin’ to me?

  82. #82 JBlilie
    April 29, 2009

    Current results (29-Apr-09, 13:27 CDT (Zulu -5):

    Yes. Floridians who are religious should have the right to pay more to show it on their plates. (9136 responses) 33.2%

    Yes. Why is this any different than letting Floridians buy plates to benefit other causes they believe in, like saving manatees? (1664 responses) 6.0%

    No. This goes crashing through the wall that should separate church and state. (15971 responses) 58.0%

    No, because every religion — and atheists — will be able to demand a license plate. (784 responses) 2.8%

  83. #83 arachnophilia
    April 29, 2009

    i’m not voting in this one. i’m not sure how i feel.

    on the one hand, it’s pretty clearly endorsement. on the other, as long as they provide equal opportunity for other religions (and other statements regarding religions, such as atheism) then it’s technically not establishment. but that rests on an assumption that they will allow other similar plates through, which is yet to be shown. the safer bet is to just disallow any entanglement with religion, in this case.

  84. #84 REBoho
    April 29, 2009

    Think some believers are poll smoking, to the ramparts!

  85. #85 Brownian, OM
    April 29, 2009

    Ordinary Man gave this:

    Buddhist: Everyone thinks this plate is cute and cuddly because no one really knows anything about it.

    Actually, the problem with the Buddhist plates is that you have to drive down the middle of the road.

  86. #86 Fred the Hun
    April 29, 2009

    Michelle @ #35

    Where is the “No, and don’t make any license plates about anything else but showing the car’s number. If you want to show off an opinion, get a bumper sticker.”

    My native country, Brazil, Catholic at that, has one license plate for the entire country. Clearly distinguishable by displaying the name of the city and abbreviation of each state. Can you imagine that the same license plate for the whole country! Shit, I now live in Florida…can I just make a plate with an image of a hand having a raised middle finger and text that says keep your religious beliefs to yourself!

  87. #87 FlameDuck
    April 29, 2009

    What about: Yes, so I can finally get that license plate holder that says “Men who wear sandals, get what they deserve!”

    I would definitely move to Florida if this passed. The possibilities for blasphemy are infinite!

  88. #88 Joe
    April 29, 2009

    One question: How is a dying dude on a cross a “trinity”? I seem to remember trinity having to do with three – the pops, the son, and some ghost. Seems like we’re missing a few in this picture.

  89. #89 gypsytag
    April 29, 2009

    I think i would get that plate with “B S” on it.

  90. #90 FastLane
    April 29, 2009

    Actually, I’m not opposed to plates like this, given the following caveats:

    1) any group can get a custom plate done with a minimal amount of fuss or up front expense.
    2) the process of petitioning the legistlature is the same for any group and no preference is shown for religious groups.

    The impression I got from this particular one is the this was ‘fast tracked’ through the legistature by the legislature, making a blatant constitutional violation, IMO.

  91. #91 Kagehi
    April 29, 2009

    Hmm. Here is a pole that there is no point in crashing, I just thought it would be interesting to mention.

    https://www.xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=103958

    You actually have to register to vote at all, since it is the Second Life community. As of finding it its 62% “no”, and more than a few in the “yes” and “other” category are deists, pagans, or agnostics, from reading the comments.

    Now.. If I could just work out why the hell there are three fracking crosses plastered over the landscape near my “rented” in world land, shilling for money for some fracking churchy, and Linden Labs ignored my question about why the hell they where allowed to place it on fallow land, and bug the rest of other 60% of us that might find it annoying. Sigh..

    Guess, in a world filled with everything from furries to post apocalyptic roleplaying, theists are out numbered. lol In fact, the funniest damn thing about the RP area I visit in the SL system is that I am pretty sure 95% of the “angels” in the city are played by atheists, or at least agnostics. But, that is just a guess, since only a few of them have actually stated out of character what they think. Makes me wonder.. How many of the “demons” in the city are theists instead. lol

  92. #92 Adam
    April 29, 2009

    Thanks for the heads up.

  93. #93 Random
    April 29, 2009

    I like those, DaveL (#78).
    Shouldn’t be available in SC either, and the deal to buy the Reason plates for extra, and the Jebus for standard should be in court. Talk about B.S.

    GET NLD
    WTR BRD
    NLD GUD

  94. #94 DaveL
    April 29, 2009

    #93, Nice. A few more:

    P W N D
    T G I F
    DWN PLZ
    WEL HNG

    It would almost be worth it to see this pass. Once a few of these hit the streets you’d find out just how sincere people are when they say motorists should be allowed to express their religious beliefs on their license plates.

  95. #95 Psych_CT
    April 29, 2009

    As far as I’m concerned, License Plates should have two bits of information: Jurisdiction (State) and Tag Number. If drivers want to make a statement, they can get a license plate frame or a bumper sticker. If they want to donate to a cause, they can donate directly. Forget about “vanity” plates with custom tag numbers, too.

    BTW, I voted “No. This goes crashing through the wall that should separate church and state.”

  96. #96 Mu
    April 29, 2009

    Can we have a “I don’t want to believe” plate?

  97. #97 Ben
    April 29, 2009

    I’ve gotta say, I don’t see the big deal here. If you have the option to customize your plate, then it shouldn’t really matter what’s on it.

    Now if we’re going to argue against custom plates altogether, that seems fine.

  98. #98 Laura
    April 29, 2009

    The main issue for me, which was not mentioned in any of the poll options, was that the extra money is going to religious groups.

    It bothers me less that people can declare their religion on their license plate, as long as all groups are represented.

  99. #99 «břnez_brigade»
    April 29, 2009

    @HumanisticJones [#67],

    I think I’d get one of those Jesus plates and get the plate to say “REZ PLZ” for an irreverent MMORPG based laugh.

    Mewonders if our friends w/o Spirit Speak skillz would see it as “Ooo ooo”…

  100. #100 Levi in NY
    April 29, 2009

    I for one would love to see them forced to accept an atheist license plate design after ruling the Christian ones legitimate. We should also encourage Wiccans and Satanists to express their religious viewpoints through the medium of license plates as well.

    Some more suggestions for Floridian atheists who want the Jesus plates:
    ROME1 JCŘ
    HOLEY MAN
    GAME OVER

  101. #101 Gruesome Rob
    April 29, 2009

    I’ve gotta say, I don’t see the big deal here. If you have the option to customize your plate, then it shouldn’t really matter what’s on it.

    Exactly. IT SHOULDN’T MATTER. Now, where can I get the plate with FSM instead of some zombie?

  102. #102 Psych_CT
    April 29, 2009

    Well… if I MUST get custom numbers, I want:
    TMC NEL

    (See HERE)

  103. #103 MadScientist
    April 29, 2009

    @Quiet Desperation:

    You mean like the video game version of this?

    http://newhumanist.org.uk/1915

    Or this:

    http://www.playinggods.com/

  104. #104 anthonzi
    April 29, 2009

    Yes. Floridians who are religious should have the right to pay more to show it on their plates. (28277 responses)

    21.7%

    Yes. Why is this any different than letting Floridians buy plates to benefit other causes they believe in, like saving manatees? (3374 responses)

    2.6%

    No. This goes crashing through the wall that should separate church and state. (97557 responses)

    74.8%

    No, because every religion — and atheists — will be able to demand a license plate. (1235 responses)

    0.9%

  105. #105 Dogmeat
    April 29, 2009

    Some of the comments on there are a very interesting flavour of stupid.

    “lassie: As long as them false religions dont get to have plates, its ok. This is a Christian nation founded by Christians for Christians. And if athiests get them too then they’ll be running over and killing”

    Apparently an atheist licence plat is a permit to kill, who knew?

  106. #106 Jafafa Hots
    April 29, 2009

    “but that rests on an assumption that they will allow other similar plates through, which is yet to be shown. “

    Um, it’s fricken Florida. It’s long been shown that they would never.

    Specifically, this plate’s sponsor, Rhonda Storms, threw a shitfit when a local school district was going to have a sort of roving holiday to let everyone choose their own religious (or other) day off rather than specifically endorse one by haing such things as Xmas. She was outraged “this is a Christian country!” etc.

    Her SPECIFIC INTENT here is to have government endorse Christianity as the sole and official belief of the land.

  107. #107 arachnophilia
    April 29, 2009

    like i said, the safer bet is to avoid it altogether as it excessively entangles church and state.

    and yes. florida. trust me, i know. there’s more than one reason we’ve nicknamed it “god’s waiting room.”

  108. #108 Lilith
    April 30, 2009

    Just looked again for latest results and the poll now seems to be closed to votes.

    But we did our job.

    Yes. Floridians who are religious should have the right to pay more to show it on their plates. (28286 responses)

    15.4%
    Yes. Why is this any different than letting Floridians buy plates to benefit other causes they believe in, like saving manatees? (3388 responses)

    1.8%
    No. This goes crashing through the wall that should separate church and state. (150306 responses)

    82.0%
    No, because every religion — and atheists — will be able to demand a license plate. (1286 responses)

    0.7%

  109. #109 VegeBrain
    April 30, 2009

    I love it when a poll gets Pharyngulated!

  110. #110 Russell Blackford
    April 30, 2009

    I actually voted for the final option but perhaps I interpreted it differently from some of you guys.

    My reasoning: In principle, it would be fine if every religious or irreligious position could have one. But that would be an administrative nightmare. Since that’s not possible, it would be unfair to have one just for Christians.

  111. #111 uksceptic
    April 30, 2009

    Damn those athiests and people of other religions and their demands. First demanding a numberplate, WHAT NEXT?!

  112. #112 Steve M.
    April 30, 2009

    I love these polls, PZ, and I especially appreciate the fact that you include the poll results along with your initial post. I thought 3592 responses was a respectable number which might stand up to this sort of stunt – but of course it was swamped within hours (the third option now has well over 150000 votes). In some bizarre way, you are probably influencing public opinion in this way…

  113. #113 Stephanie
    April 30, 2009

    Remarkable! I cant stop grinning.

  114. #114 arachnophilia
    April 30, 2009

    @Steve M.: (#122)

    In some bizarre way, you are probably influencing public opinion in this way…

    no, it’s all statistical trickery. PZ happens to have a large (and mostly rational) audience, which can swamp smaller readerships, regardless of the fairness of their ideological distribution. it’s all about sample size and selection.

    i think the whole point is that these kinds of things are wholly unscientific. if we took a fair poll of every citizen of this country, our position here would be a much smaller percentage. this poll’s initial count is probably closer to an accurate estimation of how people in the orlando area feel.

    but really, “separation of church and state” should not be something left up to popular vote.

  115. #115 Rose
    April 30, 2009

    No–because there should be a uniform state plate. That’s the point. They can have it _say_ I ♥ JESUS or whatever in numbers/letters, but the background should be identical.

  116. #116 mothra
    April 30, 2009

    I believe Steve M is correct. The more often rational responses are put in the public arena, the better the chance of the casual reader pausing to think rather than yammering about god. Of course, the programed and dedicated godbot will still yammer.

  117. #117 DethB4DCaf
    April 30, 2009

    I’m not sure if they are still taking votes, but here are the latest results….

    Should Florida lawmakers allow specialty state license plates with religious messages?

    Yes. Floridians who are religious should have the right to pay more to show it on their plates. (28301 responses)

    15.0%

    Yes. Why is this any different than letting Floridians buy plates to benefit other causes they believe in, like saving manatees? (3427 responses)

    1.8%

    No. This goes crashing through the wall that should separate church and state. (156161 responses)

    82.5%

    No, because every religion — and atheists — will be able to demand a license plate. (1387 responses)

    0.7%

    * 189276 total responses (Results not scientific)

  118. #118 gaypaganunitarianagnostic
    April 30, 2009

    I’ll take a pink triangle, a pentagram, a flaming chalice, and a Darwin Fish. Fries with that.