It seems there’s been a reversal in New Jersey’s initial rejection of a secular license plate. On Wednesday, TheBlaze reported that David Silverman, president of American Atheists, a church-state separatist group, recently requested a vanity plate that reads “ATHE1ST.”
While his appeal was initially rejected by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) and dismissed as “objectionable,” officials have had a change of heart.
Only the government isn’t calling the move a reversal. Instead, a spokesperson told The Christian Post that it was merely an error that has been resolved, although the official declined to go into further detail.
“It was a mistake…it’s been resolved,” the spokeswoman said of Silverman’s request.
But the atheist leader didn’t seem to buy into the notion that the decision was a mistake. On Twitter, he proclaimed victory, writing, “MVC caves – Will allow ATHE1ST plate! Stand by for statement!” (here’s that statement).
TheBlaze previously reported that Silverman was planning to fight back against the decision to ban the plate. In a form e-mail, he had recently received a rejection that read, in part, “Reason for Denial: Objectionable or Need Further Clarification.”
In an interview with TheBlaze on Wednesday before the commission announced the reversal, Silverman said that he wasn’t satisfied with the rejection, so he decided to reach out to officials to ask why, exactly, his proposed plate was being dismissed as offensive.
“I called them and the person told me that it was considered objectionable, because it was offensive and that I could appeal the decision,” he said.
Silverman wasted no time in composing a letter appealing the decision and explaining why the license plate shouldn’t be viewed as offensive (read the initial report, which includes the letter, here).
It seems his efforts to respond to the vanity plate decision were successful, as he has received confirmation that the “ATHE1ST” plate is now permissible. Considering that Silverman said he was willing to take potential legal action, it’s possible that officials simply wanted to avoid bad press and an unpalatable legal conundrum.
(H/T: Christian Post)