Oh lord, leave it to Florida...

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    Apr 24, 2008 3:06 PM GMT
    Florida considers Christian license plate

    Story Highlights

    Florida vanity plate would be first in nation to explicitly promote a specific religion

    License plate would feature cross, stained-glass window and words, "I Believe"

    ACLU says proposed license plates could lead to legal challenges

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/04/24/license.plate.ap/index.html

    I wouldnt have any problem with this if the state was willing to have other religious and anti-religious plates. But, noooooo, not Florida...

    "Bullard, the plate's sponsor, isn't sure all groups should be able to express their preference. If atheists came up with an "I Don't Believe" plate, for example, he would probably oppose it."

    If churches keep done this path, there comes a point when I think they should be taxed.


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    Apr 24, 2008 3:26 PM GMT
    Caslon said"Bullard, the plate's sponsor, isn't sure all groups should be able to express their preference. If atheists came up with an "I Don't Believe" plate, for example, he would probably oppose it."


    Wonder if they would approve an "I Believe Moving to Florida was a Mistake" plate.
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    Apr 24, 2008 3:37 PM GMT
    Ugh, can't we just give that gangrenous peninsula back to Spain?

    with apologies to Jprichva
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    Apr 24, 2008 4:46 PM GMT
    I hate Florida.

    I just finished watching a Nova special on the Establishment clause (it was the Dover case on evolution). Amazing how people keep trying to bring us back into the middle ages by entangling church and state. I don't understand why Churches aren't taxed. Especially the Catholic Church. Aren't they one of the riches organizations in the world?
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    Apr 24, 2008 4:51 PM GMT
    I am not religious, but if someone wants to fork over extra dough for a vanity license plate, I really don't care what they put on it as long as it is not attacking others (e.g. racist remarks).

    In Ontario we have vanity plates that support sports teams, I don't see a big issue with supporting a religion. Everyone outside the USA knows you have a sizable population that is gaga for God (no offense I hope).
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    Apr 24, 2008 4:59 PM GMT
    Caslon said
    If churches keep done this path, there comes a point when I think they should be taxed.

    They should already be taxed. Churches have become big business and are blurring the lines more and more every day. In the last ten years my city has seen the rise of several church "outreach centers" that operate huge day care facilities, fitness centers, and even travel/tour operations. All in the guise of church activities.

    They also sell books, CDs, DVDs, and other merchandise at the church. It's a huge business.

    Beyond that, several of these churches occupy a massive amount of acreage on one of the most high-priced stretches of road in my city. Yet they don't pay property taxes.

    This is nothing less than a scam.
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    Apr 24, 2008 5:03 PM GMT
    I have a question to pose. Are charitable organizations taxed? I am thinking of the United Way, Amnesty International and the Red Cross.

    If they are not, then taxing churches may open up a can of worms for charitable organizations.

    Just wondering.
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Apr 24, 2008 5:03 PM GMT
    javaman9999 saidI hate Florida.

    I just finished watching a Nova special on the Establishment clause (it was the Dover case on evolution). Amazing how people keep trying to bring us back into the middle ages by entangling church and state. I don't understand why Churches aren't taxed. Especially the Catholic Church. Aren't they one of the riches organizations in the world?


    I was once the director of a non-profit organization, so I can answer your question. A for-profit organization (a business) exists to create income for its owner/shareholders. Those profits are taxed just like any regular income. A non-profit organization (a cultural or service entity) exists not to make money, but to perform some essential good work for the community where it exists, and is therefore exempt from taxation as long as it subjects itself to very strict governmental oversight of its mission and function. It creates income, but that income must be disbursed or utilized completely to fulfill the stated mission, with nothing left over. Religious institutions fall into the category of non-profit organizations, and therefore are not taxed, but many, many churches tread very close to the line of breaking the rules.
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    Apr 24, 2008 5:09 PM GMT
    Thanks Jarhead, that is what I thought. I personally believe Churches should pay some tax, at least property tax. Same with non-profit organizations. But then again I believe in a flat income-tax, lower corporate taxes, and consumption taxes!

    When it comes to paying taxes simpler is better (can you tell I have to finish my taxes this weekend?).
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    Apr 24, 2008 7:05 PM GMT
    Wysiwyg60 saidI have a question to pose. Are charitable organizations taxed? I am thinking of the United Way, Amnesty International and the Red Cross.

    Any legitimate non-profit has a 501(c)3 tax-exempt status.
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    Apr 24, 2008 7:13 PM GMT
    How about....



    I believe in diety which provides the single greatest contribution to our economy, all hail Micky
  • jarhead5536

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    Apr 24, 2008 7:22 PM GMT
    Global_Citizen said[quote][cite]Wysiwyg60 said[/cite]I have a question to pose. Are charitable organizations taxed? I am thinking of the United Way, Amnesty International and the Red Cross.

    Any legitimate non-profit has a 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. [/quote]

    A religious organization is a legitimate non-profit, as long as it steers clear of politics or evangelism in the process of its outreach or social service duties. It can own whatever property or perform any function it deems necessary to fulfill its divine mission to serve humanity and remain within the law.

    The ones that have a problem playing by the rules are the Christian fundies, naturally. Of all the things the philosopher Jesus said during his remarkable life, the one that has caused all the trouble was the last one, The Great Commandment: "Go ye unto all the nations and make disciples of all men", or something like that. There's the history of Western civilization right there, for good or ill. Right up to today - Christian vanity plates? PLEASE...
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    Apr 24, 2008 9:24 PM GMT
    I now live in the great State of Florida. When I first heard of this notion, I was appalled. I continue to be. I'm sure it will be a very popular plate here.

    What happened to every state having one unique plate? I can't tell states apart anymore!
  • cacti

    Posts: 273

    Apr 24, 2008 9:47 PM GMT
    I don't think you guys read the article very closely..

    CNNThe Florida Legislature is considering a specialty plate with a design that includes a Christian cross, a stained-glass window and the words "I Believe."

    CNNFlorida's specialty license plates require the payment of additional fees, some of which go to causes the plates endorse.


    It's not the state's default plate. You'd have to pay extra to obtain it. So really, it's not an endorsement of the state anymore so than any other available specialty category. This would be like the college plates, VFW, unions, support the arts/schools... etc...

    This is exactly the way Indiana's plate system works, and it caused a similar outcry last year(but with one key difference!). The plate reads "In God We Trust" in front of a very patriotic flag themed background. While this quote has obvious ties to the government it's still a very deliberate endorsement of Christian conservatism. They might as well have thrown in "support the troops!"

    The big difference with Indiana's plate is that it actually became our default plate. It was not specialty, and it was the only plate available that you didn't have to pay extra for...

    I just ended up getting the $40 environmental specialty plate. At least the extra money I had to fork over in order to NOT endorse a specific religious/political idea went to a good cause.
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    Apr 24, 2008 9:52 PM GMT
    cacti saidI don't think you guys read the article very closely..

    [quote][cite]CNN[/cite]The Florida Legislature is considering a specialty plate with a design that includes a Christian cross, a stained-glass window and the words "I Believe."

    CNNFlorida's specialty license plates require the payment of additional fees, some of which go to causes the plates endorse.

    It's not the state's default plate. You'd have to pay extra to obtain it. So really, it's not an endorsement of the state anymore so than any other available specialty category. This would be like the college plates, VFW, unions, support the arts/schools... etc...


    The problem, cacti, is that that is the only religious or anti-religious plate they will allow. So it isnt the same as college plates, etc.

    There would be no problem if others could get the plates they might want, too.
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    Apr 24, 2008 9:59 PM GMT
    cacti saidI don't think you guys read the article very closely... It's not the state's default plate. You'd have to pay extra to obtain it. So really, it's not an endorsement of the state anymore so than any other available specialty category. This would be like the college plates, VFW, unions, support the arts/schools... etc...


    I didn't read it wrong and I'm not sure others here did either. Most of us are familiar with this kind of vanity plate.

    The problem is when it gets too political, or religious, as in this case. Here in TN, we had a minor battle over this when one group wanted to create a "pro-life" license plate.

    I think having a vanity plate that shows you support your favorite university or sports team is perfectly innocuous. But when you start promoting plates that denigrate or marginalize someone else's political or religious beliefs (or non-beliefs), you create a hostile and divided community.

    I don't believe that's a good thing.
  • cacti

    Posts: 273

    Apr 24, 2008 10:00 PM GMT
    CaslonThe problem, cacti, is that that is the only religious or anti-religious plate they will allow.

    Caslon, Where did you get that information? The article I read didn't say that they weren't allowing other religious specialty plates. In fact it hinted that they may be proposed in the future in response to this proposal.

    CNNSimon, of the ACLU, said approval of the plate could prompt many other groups to seek their own designs, and they could claim discrimination if their plans were rejected.


    Are you assuming they won't allow other religious plates, or have they just not been proposed yet?
  • cacti

    Posts: 273

    Apr 24, 2008 10:03 PM GMT
    Global CitizenBut when you start promoting plates that denigrate someone else's political or religious beliefs (or non-beliefs), you create a hostile and divided community.

    How does this plate denigrate someone else's political or religious beliefs? Unless you're making a very sweeping statement about Christianity, I'm not following.


    P.S. I'm not Christian. Just trying to look at this objectively, my friends.
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    Apr 24, 2008 10:08 PM GMT
    cacti said
    How does this plate denigrate someone else's political or religious beliefs? Unless you're making a very sweeping statement about Christianity, I'm not following.


    It could be argued that this plate doesn't hurt anyone. But what about the "pro-life" plate? Where do you draw the line?

    And what if you're a religious minority? Would you not feel the ubiquitous advertising of Christian beliefs to be a tacit statement of "Your religion not welcome here"? I think I would. In fact I've had Buddhist and Muslim friends tell me just that.
  • cacti

    Posts: 273

    Apr 24, 2008 10:18 PM GMT
    Global, that's why I was strongly against Indiana's plate: "In God We Trust"

    That was the state's official plate. It was a direct government endorsement of Christianity. This is not the same, it's a specialty plate. Your argument equates to smaller colleges complaining that the state is endorsing the other universities by offering vanity plates.

    Those other minority religions are allowed to propose vanity plates for themselves. I don't understand the draw of postering one's religious affiliation on their car either, but it's their right if they want to do so as long as it's their own endorsement, and their own car.

    If you don't let them have it as a specialty plate, they're just going to put a damn ribbon or bumper sticker on their car. icon_lol.gif
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    Apr 24, 2008 10:28 PM GMT
    What about the pro-life plate? Where do you draw the line? What if someone proposed a "stop the homosexual agenda" license plate. I've actually seen this proffered as a serious proposal. In 2005, the Virginia Senate passed a bill that would have allowed the creation of a license plate that said "Defend Traditional Marriage".

    I agree someone can put any bumper sticker they like on their car, but on a license plate that message has some semblance of having the state imprimatur.
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    Apr 24, 2008 10:59 PM GMT
    capt.114f229bd6244fd396374d6c1ff10453.re
    On the other hand, I do like it when people give me such an obvious heads up to their silly beliefs.
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    Apr 24, 2008 11:30 PM GMT
    MunchingZombie saidUgh, can't we just give that gangrenous peninsula back to Spain?

    with apologies to Jprichva


    Apology more than accepted, Zombie, but I trust none of you realize that we are by far the most ENTERTAINING state in the country.

    Who else could bring you the 2000 election mess? The subsequent and hilarious Senate candidacy of Katherine Harris? The prospect of our just-barely-closeted governor having to decline the Veep slot for McCain for fear the fundamentalists will out him? (And for good measure, his boyfriend is a GOP operative who WORKED FOR KATHERINE HARRIS' CAMPAIGN, meaning that he is not merely a self-hating Republican homo, he's also incompetent.)

    Who else could bring you the three stupidest members of Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers? Their IQs added together don't reach as high as Kate Moss' waist measurement.

    Give away Florida? Are you kidding?
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    Apr 25, 2008 1:45 AM GMT
    its amazing how govt and religion will use each other to their advantage when necessary but then try to say church and state are separate, uh huh.

    I grew up in Jerry Falwellville...went to his school so I know all about the religion stuff

    You know how people will have a bumper sticker that says "Born Again" on their bumper?

    I saw one the other day that said "I was born ok the first time". I thought I would wreck the car laughing.

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    Apr 25, 2008 2:31 AM GMT
    cacti said[quote][cite]Caslon[/cite]The problem, cacti, is that that is the only religious or anti-religious plate they will allow.

    Caslon, Where did you get that information? The article I read didn't say that they weren't allowing other religious specialty plates. In fact it hinted that they may be proposed in the future in response to this proposal.

    Are you assuming they won't allow other religious plates, or have they just not been proposed yet?


    This bill does not allow any other religious plates. They shouldn't be offering one religion's plates and not others or anti-religion plates. The other religions or anti-religion plates should be in a common design (like, place insignia here, place caption here) and all made available at once.