Humanists want Mississippi officials to think twice about the legal ramifications of printing “In God We Trust” on license plates before moving forward, but one attorney maintains that the Magnolia State is not doing anything wrong.
The American Humanist Association's (AHA) Appignani Humanist Legal Center demands that Gov. Phil Bryant (R-Miss.) end the plan to change the design of the state's sole standard license plate to one that displays the words, "In God We Trust."
Several Mississippi residents notified AHA about the impending change, which would now display the state seal – containing the words, "In God We Trust” – on the state's standard license plate.
"This would force non-theistic motorists to purchase an alternative plate at a higher cost – if they wish to avoid promoting the theistic phrase, 'In God We Trust,'" AHA legal director David Niose wrote in a letter to Bryant objecting to the plan.
However, attorney Jeremy Dys of First Liberty Institute pointed out that “In God We Trust” is the national motto of the United States and noted that the phrase can be found in many other places around the country, as well – both public and private.
"The national motto is actually undefeated at the federal circuit courts of appeal, so those courts that are right below the United States Supreme Court," Dys argued. "So whether it's a challenge to the national motto appearing on our bills or coins – or whether it's that Speaker's Rostrum that has it above that in the House of Representatives, it's all been recognized as perfectly unconstitutional."