Two years after a federal judge ruled in 2009 that South Carolina's "I Believe" license plates that legislators created through a state law violated the First Amendment ban on establishment of religion by government, South Carolina drivers can once again purchase license plates with "I Believe" and with the letters "JC" between the image of three crosses on a hill and the license number.
The new tags are sponsored by the nonprofit group www.IBELIEVEsc.net as allowed under state law.
The new tag is a nonpolitical way for Christians of all denominations to share their faith, said Adrian Grimes, spokeswoman for the group's upcoming rollout of the plate.
Grimes said she hopes the plate's bright image makes people happy. The yellow sunrise represents a new beginning, "another opportunity to try to be better the next day," she said. "The cross is a sign of grace, and I need His grace every day, all day long."
A spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which was among groups that sued over the 2008 law, said it sees no constitutional problem with these plates.
"As long as all groups have the same access to the process, it doesn't raise constitutional issues," said spokesman Joseph Conn.
State laws allow nonprofit groups to create specialty plates by either paying a $4,000.00 deposit or getting 400 prepaid applications.