Georgia drivers will be able to proclaim “In God We Trust” on their new state license plates — for the price of a dollar.
The new license plate design, which was set to be revealed Friday by Gov. Nathan Deal, will feature a space where motorists can add an optional sticker that says “In God We Trust” in place of where a county’s name would otherwise go.
However, the governor is delaying his announcement of the new design amid some controversy and confusion over the four-word U.S. motto.
The trouble began last month following a contest for best new license plate design. When the Department of Revenue released images of the eight semifinalists for an online vote, three were shown printed with the words “In God We Trust.”
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, atheist groups and others balked at the inclusion of the phrase, calling it a flagrant violation of church and state, and urged people to vote against the designs. Other groups in favor of the phrase, including a church and a website dedicated to preparing for the collapse of American society, urged voters to select one of the three.
The department clarified that the three designs in question were merely shown with an optional “In God We Trust” sticker, available for purchase. If selected, the phrase would not come preprinted.
Nevertheless, the top three designs picked out of more than 400,000 votes cast were all the ones that were shown with “In God We Trust.” As a result, the governor’s office announced Friday that online voting would reopen Monday because of the confusion.
Additionally, in response to the plate controversy, the American Humanist Association called Thursday for an alternative to the optional sticker — “E Pluribus Unum,” or “Out Of Many, One” — the original U.S. motto.