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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

State unveils 'In God We Trust' license plate

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Jennie Runevitch
/Eyewitness News

Greenwood - New license plates with the words "In God We Trust" go on sale to Indiana drivers in January. Thursday, state leaders unveiled the design, chosen through an online poll. The license plate's message caused some controversy.

The new license plate bears an image of the flag, emblazoned with the American motto also seen on dollar bills. State officials unveiled indiana's newest license plate in Greenwood. "In God We Trust" is an alternative to the Hoosier landscape design, starting January first.

"It was just phenomenal. We had some 300,000 hits on the web for people to vote for these plates," said Rep. Woody Burton, R-Greenwood.

The winning design beat the others by a 6-1 margin.

The General Assembly approved the plate last session. Unlike other specialty plates, drivers won't pay extra to get this one, so no money goes to religious organizations.

But religion drove Representative Woody Burton's decision to sponsored the measure. "In this country there's a severe attack on faith," he said. "This gives the public their opportunity to express their faith and the motto of the USA, which is In God We Trust."

But some say promoting "In God We Trust" blurs the separation of church and state. The coordinator of Indiana's Center for Inquiry is glad the plate is voluntary, but concerned there's no charge. "That brought up a red flag in my mind because I think that's giving it special treatment," said Reba Boyd Wooden.

Wooden's group doesn't plan to press the issue since drivers have a choice, and the phrase already appears on US currency.

"I think there are a lot more important causes to fight about than fight about whether it says God on money or on the flag," she said.

The plate and its message have found plenty of support. "I think it's just a good way to say we're tired of encroachment against faith in a secular society," said Shan Rutherford, minister of the Greenwood Christian Church.

Burton predicts faith will drive millions of Hoosier to put these on their cars, come January.

The BMV ordered 500,000 of the "In God We Trust" plates to be ready January first.

The plates are free, and drivers have a choice. All you have to do is request this plate when you renew.