Every state's Department of Motor Vehicles routinely rejects applications for vanity license plates that are deemed offensive or in poor taste, but officials in New Jersey apparently didn't have the stomach for a high-volume fight over an application for an "ATHEIST" plate, the Charisma News website reports today (August 30, 2013).
New Jersey's Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) initially rejected the application from David Silverman -- president of the Cranford, New Jersey-based American Atheists -- as "objectionable."
When Silverman called the MVC to lodge a complaint, he was told the word is "offensive." A legal defense fund was set up and Silverman readied for battle, but on August 28, Silverman was told he could have the plate.
"'Atheist' is not an offensive or objectionable word any more than the word 'Jew' or 'Christian' or 'man' or 'woman' is," Silverman said. "The word is used on dog tags for the U.S. government. It is who and what I am."