Indiana became the fifth state to introduce "In God We Trust" license plates. Everyone who watches state government, I think, can't help but be amazed at how many different types of specialty plates legislators have created. Of course, many, like the "In God We Trust" motif, start in one state and spread like prairie fire. In this case, Indiana joins Louisiana, North Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia with similarly themed plates. (I found images of all of them but Georgia's; North Carolina's supports the National Guard). The Indiana plate is available without extra charge to those who request it.
What caught my eye about this Indianapolis Star story, though, was the sponsor's defense against the inevitable questions about separation between church and state:
The plate stirred questions about the separation of church and state, but (Republican state Rep. Woody) Burton discounted those concerns."This is just a symbol to give people their free right to express their opinion," he said. "There are always going to be people who don't like it."In some way or another, we all worship one God, but we may use different names," Burton added. "This was not for one particular religious group."
According to a somewhat unrelated survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 3.2 percent of Americans consider themselves atheists or agnostics. Another 7.5 percent are what the Forum categorizes as "seculars" who don't claim an affilliation with a religious denomination and who reported only "modest" beliefs or practices. Extrapolating, that's some 32 million Americans, and it doesn't include people who are religious but believe in more than one god.