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From the same wonderful people that gave you Governor Howard Dean

I occasionally appreciate a witty vanity license plate, but I'd never have one of my own. (This was Photoshopped, people.) I've had too many cars of mine vandalized to make it any more readily identifiable. And there are rules about them -- nothing obscene or patently offensive, for one.

Now, in Vermont, we have a guy who's kinda proud of his religious faith. In fact, he wants to proclaim his faith to the world, and spread the word of his faith to all who see his car. So he applied to have "JN36TN" as his license plate, referring to the Biblical passage John 3:16.

I gotta admit, as someone who doesn't ascribe to any religious faith, I'm getting a little tired of the John 3:16. I'm a confirmed born-again agnostic, and I know the exact text of that quote. It's been seared -- seared -- into my subconscious by the zealots who tout it at every and any opportunity. It didn't convert me the first time I encountered it, the hundredth, or the thousandth, and I don't think it ever will. It's gotten to the point where "John 3:16" has passed right through cliche' stage to cultural icon (remember "Austin 3:16," anyone?) to annoyance.

But I've been re-reading my Constitution, I don't recall any passages that specify "freedom from annoyance."

Yeah, this guy's a bit of a zealot. And if I never see a reference to "John 3:16" in my life again, I'd be content. But the whole point of the state selling vanity plates to citizens (at a significant premium) is to let them express themselves, to put out what they consider a valuable message to other people. And if this guy over in Vermont is willing to pony up the bucks to get "JN36TN" on his car, shut up, take his money, and give him his plate.

And the more it pisses off the ACLU, the better.

Comments (11)

Anytime you can get a sucke... (Below threshold)

Anytime you can get a sucker to pay extra to the state it eases the burden on the rest of us. I have been trying to get Nebraska to sell 'suitable for framing' car titles for trophy vehicles. For an extra fee, of course.

I'm more concerned that the... (Below threshold)
Malibu Stacy:

I'm more concerned that the rainbow wig might interfere with his visibility while driving.

Does this mean that the sta... (Below threshold)
D. Doré:

Does this mean that the state of Vermont has judged the Bible to be offensive material?

I would have said it means ... (Below threshold)

I would have said it means "I'm John, age 36, from Tennessee". Sheesh!

Anyway, this definitely wins the POOP award: People Offended by Other People.

I am not sure I swallow the... (Below threshold)

I am not sure I swallow the argument that having a JN36TN license plate makes one a zealot. I think one would need to know the guy a little better. I have seen the reference hundreds of times myself, usually written somewhere. I have virtually never had anyone actually quote it to me out of the blue.

If this guy is a zealot, then the Darwin fish people are equally as zealous. I wonder if there are any DARWIN license plates? I'd say it's a safe bet.

How could it offend people ... (Below threshold)

How could it offend people who probably have no idea what it stands for. Would they be offended if I applied for one with "KSHRMUS" or "JWSHMUS" on it?

I used to live in upstate N... (Below threshold)

I used to live in upstate New York where (probably around fifteen or twenty years ago) a guy wanted to have his last name on his license plates. He had the same last name as a noted Civil War general and New York State denied him his plates on the grounds of obscenity. His last name was Hooker. He took the state to court ("How dare you day my last name is an obscenity!") and he won the right to have his name on his license plates.

In the case of JN36TM it would seem to me that this would be a case where the ACLU would represent the guy who wants the plate.

Jim: Don't hold yo... (Below threshold)


Don't hold your breath.

Jay Tea, don't give up too ... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea, don't give up too easily! I think the right not to be annoyed may be found in the penumbra, imbued in the constitution, if not explictly stated.

Then as Jim points out, the ACLU should really get involved on behalf of you AND the plate guy against the government.

The guy puts JN36TN on a li... (Below threshold)

The guy puts JN36TN on a license plate, and in a post which concludes that it's his right, you feel the need to go off on the message conveyed by the six characters. They annoy you. He's a "zealot" for giving a pretty mild (and not very visible) expression to his belief. Whereas, when you express your anti-JN36TN beliefs and feelings (in a few more than 6 characters) and name him a "zealot," I guess you're just an independent thinker making a measured, mature, and sound judgement of him.

Good--you've both used your freedom of expression. But from the evidence of your post, I frankly think you come across as more the "zealot." But of course, your zealotry is anti-religion (or at least anti-Bible and/or anti-theistic-faith), so it's not irritating or offensive like his is, right?

Jay Tea,For Steve ... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea,

For Steve so loved the ring that he stood upon the turnbuckle and proclaimed...

"I just kicked your ass!"







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