July 15th, 2011
06:15 PM ET

Georgia delays new car tag over 'In God We Trust' confusion

By Phil Gast, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - Confusion over whether the motto "In God We Trust" might appear on Georgia's new license plate prompted officials to announce Friday another round of online voting in which citizens can endorse their favorite design.

The brouhaha began after the state posted eight semifinalist designs selected by art school faculty. Three of the entries provided by those who submitted designs included the "In God We Trust" decal, which Georgians have the option of buying for $1. Two plates included the names of counties, and three had no label.

Many voters apparently believed that the motto was not an option and would appear on the Georgia plate if one of those three designs were selected.

"It was a misconception that it was an integral part of the license plate design," said Timothy Mitchell, assistant director of the Georgia Department of Revenue's Tax Law & Policy Office.

The vote page had nothing to indicate that the motto and county names were included to show how the winning plate might appear.

Voters picked the three designs with "In God We Trust" as the finalists. The motto would be placed where the county name normally appears.

"It was obvious people were voting for or against things that are not going to be part of the tag," said Brian Robinson, deputy chief of staff for communications for Gov. Nathan Deal. The voting redo stems "from a deep sense of fairness to artists and the public."

About 400,000 people took part in the initial voting.

Deal, who was supposed to announce the winning design Friday, instead announced the new voting, which begins Monday and will last three weeks. The eight designs will be back on the website, sans the motto or county names.

Hemant Mehta, who operates the Friendly Atheist website, wrote Friday, "Kudos to state officials for correcting their own mistake, although they could've done it a long time ago and saved the state a lot of unnecessary hassle."

Deal and the state's lieutenant governor and revenue commissioner will make the final design selection.

About 100,000 Georgians have purchased the "In God We Trust" label since it went on sale, Mitchell said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Georgia • United States

soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. MaloneT

    Changing mine to say "Praise Satan"

    July 29, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  2. AvdBerg

    A number of people that have written to respond to this article have spoken of the interpretation of the Bible, which is the number one problem in this present world as the Bible itself teaches us that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20). Only few people (Matthew 7:14) are able to understand the Bible and as long as mankind remains separated from God, the Word of God will remain a mystery.

    Mankind in his natural state is unable to understand the Bible and unable to receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).

    There is a natural body and a spiritual body (1 Cor. 15:44). The only thing that separates the Natural body from the Spiritual body is the Baptism of Repentance (Mark 1:4). To repent means: to change spirits and to turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan, whose spirit mankind is of (Luke 9:55), unto God (Acts 26:18). This is not an interpretation. Many people search the Bible for in them they think they have eternal life, but when we bring them the Scriptures they don’t believe us (John 5:38,39). Confused? There is no need to be confused any longer. For a better understanding of the mystery of God we invite you to read all the pages and articles of our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    So, before mankind will be able to understand the Word of God, mankind requires to be converted and transformed by God (not by any religion) and only then mankind is able to understand the Bible, as it is God (John 1:1).

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how this whole world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9. The Bible is true in all things and is the discerner of every thought and the intent of the heart (Hebrews 5:12).

    July 25, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • ....

      Still trolling trying to sell your cult and book it's complete garbage. Click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll.

      July 25, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  3. Thumper

    atheists offend me.

    July 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  4. SoundOfForest

    It's really pathetic that hedonistic Westerners are trying to equate Christianity with other things when Christianity is outstanding above all and incomparably good and right and strong. They do it to bring moral chaos upon the earth, not peace. Peace is not possible when culture is filthy and evil like the secular West. Present mankind is never peaceful anyway. American atheists proved it.

    July 19, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Griff

      Christianity burned my ancestors.

      August 9, 2011 at 6:24 am |
  5. SoundOfForest

    Pagan gods have nothing to do with proper formation of USA and liberty is impossible without the God of the Bible. Atheists hate the one true God because He alone is Truth.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Griff

      Your 'god' demands us to obey and worship him alone, or burn. Our nation allows us free will. The concepts are quite different. Do not let the Puritans of the 1600s fool you; they did not found the nation of America. America was founded by enlightenment thinkers.

      August 9, 2011 at 6:25 am |
  6. myweightinwords

    As long as it's an option that you have to opt in to, I don't care if the states offer the ability to add some silly motto to the plates.

    Of course, to make it fair, I'd like to see other options available as well, for those who have other faiths or are atheist. It would please me highly to see "In Odin we Trust" available, along with say "In Liberty we Trust" or "In Shiva we Trust"...the possibilities are endless, and at $1 a tag, could make the state some much needed money.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Bud Weiser

      In Beer We Trust

      July 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  7. SoundOfForest

    Georgia's fresh wind with new plates acknowledging God – something much better than "Gone with the Wind"! Stay cool, your God is coming soon.

    July 18, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
  8. Paul Jones

    Nice from a state that's a speed trap for anyone passing through.

    Their traffic violation methodology has built in verbiage to confuse and "trap" a traveling tourist into paying exorbitant traffic fines; all in the name of Georgia.

    Nice way to attrack tourists! Guess they don't want any!

    July 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  9. Tom Hanks

    If you thought that was going to be on the tag. Its probably because your an idiot.

    July 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Bud Weiser

      It's "You're", as in You Are. You idiot.

      July 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  10. Jason

    Anyone else find this article confusing? It took me a couple of reads to figure out what the issue was... not very clear at the beginning that they were just voting on design, not motto.

    July 18, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  11. Reality

    Not again!!! We went through this license nonsense not too long ago!!!

    "In God We Trust" was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956. It is also the motto of the U.S. state of Florida. The phrase has appeared on U.S. coins since 1864 and on paper currency since 1957. "

    Pick your god and get on with your life!!! I suggest "Mom Nature" and/or Zeus!!!

    Next topic!!!

    July 18, 2011 at 7:37 am |
    • RM

      What are people who don't believe in dieties supposed to 'pick'?

      July 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Reality


      Use your initials as your deity.

      July 18, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  12. SoundFromForest

    100,000 good Georgians!! ^^

    July 17, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Free

      Or, that's 100,000 at a buck apiece that could have gone into charity.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      They're "good" because they put a slogan on their license plates? Really? Is that what it takes? So if there's no slogan on mine, I'm not as good as someone who has one?

      Thumpers slay me. So much writing, so little thought.

      July 18, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • SoundOfForest

      @Free, Christian churches give charity far more than any other in-sti-tu-tions. Far more effective than any government body. @Tom, this goodness is relative, but yes, these Georgians must be better than others. I hope plenty of them drive around CNN so CNN won't belittle Christians. You need God, Tom. In your heart, you worship humans.

      July 18, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      @Free...maybe we need to offer something like that here in California, gods know the state could use the influx of cash.

      But yes, that's $100,000 that could have fed hungry children. That's a lot of meals.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • SoundOfForest

      @Myw-, atheists never feed the hungry like Christians do. No one is starving in USA like the atheistic North Koreans are. $100,000 is worth if it can educate Americans on whose country it is.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:00 am |
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