August 23, 2007

Vermont Prohibits Possible Religous Thought

The state known well if not perhaps best for Maple Syrup and backwoods values has once again shown itself to be a state of intolerance and bigotry. Vermont is a state which endorses and protects all manner of filth and perversion in the name of tolerance and respect for alternative lifestyles. (The state has taken a stand making "civil unions" legal which we all know is nothing more than marriage without the makeup.)

So while the governing authorities are quick to protect such speech which supports abortion, divorce and homosexuality, it isn't so tolerant when it comes to religion.

Shawn Byrne requested a vanity plate for his auto that read "JN36TN." The Biblically astute would recognize the cryptic message as "John 3:16."

Well the always open minded, in classic tolerant fashion, said "No way!" According to an Associated Press report a Vermont judge, said the state has the right to "prohibit religious messages on license plates provided it does not discriminate based on the particular message or viewpoint…" (Someone will have to parse that one for me explaining how that can even be accomplished but I digress…)

That the state has the official right to discriminate against religion at all is troublesome, but let's allows that to stand unchallenged.

What's interesting to me is that even with JN36TN referring to "John 3:16," the symbols mean only "John 3:16." In other words, what is on the license plate does not communicate anything religious in and of it self. It is only if someone either has prior knowledge--external to the actual content of the plate--or knows to look up the information to which the letters and numbers refer, and then does so, that one could consider it "religious." But in that case, the religious content is removed by three leaps of interpretation. The content of the plate is not religious but essential nonsense.

I could argue that when I look at the plate, I don't see "John 3:16" at all. I see a clever license plate of a man named John Newton, age 36, who is proud to hail from the state whose abbreviation is TN.

Which means the state is not merely prohibiting religious speech but only the possibility of associated religious thought as determined by some outside--apparently omniscient--agency with infallible interpretation.

Byrne's lawyer is planning to appeal on the basis of previously allowed messages like 4PEACE. This is not a strong attack however and I hope the sense occurs to this lawyer to see a better defense--if I do say so--like the one stated above.


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