New Jersey’s Motor Vehicles Commission recently reversed its decision to deny a national group of atheist’s president his requested license plate.
David Silverman, American Atheists president, had asked state officials to approve his vanity plate “ATHE1ST” using the number “1” instead of the “I” to show his non-believer status. Initially, they denied it; but, Silverman wanted the commission to clarify why his request was disagreeable and was told by an employee that the license plate would be seen as offensive.
My vanity "ATHEIST" license plate was just refused by the state. Reason: It's offensive. #wronganswer
— David Silverman (@MrAtheistPants) August 26, 2013
Atheists were certainly not happy with the state’s decision. David Muscato, public relations director for the group, posted information about Silverman’s denial on Reddit’s popular “atheism” channel. The information was quickly spread around and re-tweeted to Richard Dawkins, a notorious and prominent evolutionary biologist and non-believer.
Silverman didn’t let the issue go, writing an appeal letter. Officials told him on Aug. 28 that the MVC decided to approve his request, placing blame on a “clerical error” for the original denial. The New Jersey MVC concluded an atheist who wants to proudly display his/her non-believer status shouldn’t be seen as offensive.
However, folks in other states don’t agree with the MVC. Huntsville, Ala. resident Blair Scott, who is also a known American Atheists leader, said he feels his license plate “ATHEIST” is to blame for the significant number of hostile notes and scratches to his vehicle.
Atheists have been going strong in regards to the DMV. In Texas, a person who worships Pastafarian (Flying Spaghetti Monster) was able to take his driver’s license picture wearing the Pastafarian headwear (pasta strainer).