Americans United has filed a lawsuit in this case:
A New Jersey woman claims that the state discriminated against her when it refused to allow her purchase a vanity license plate that read “8THEIST.”
According to the lawsuit, Shannon Morgan went on to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s website and attempted to register the license plate “8THEIST” to reflect her atheist belief. It was rejected by the site on the grounds that “[r]equested plate text is considered objectionable.”
She then attempted to register “BAPTIST,” and discovered that the website did not flag it as objectionable. According to the lawsuit, she believes this means the state favors religion over non-belief.
The executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, agreed. “The state of New Jersey is favoring religion while disparaging non-belief,” he said. “It simply has no right to do that.”
“This license plate issue may seem like a small matter but it is indicative of a much larger problem – atheists are often treated by the government as second-class citizens,” he added.