See bottom of page for links to current news coverage of this story.
Despite previously approving such custom license plates as “1M2SEXY,” “CLIMAXX,” “IAMGOD,” and “BIOCH,” the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission denied American Atheists President David Silverman’s application for a custom license plate reading “ATHE1ST.” The reason given was “Objectionable or Need Further Clarification.”
When Silverman called to offer this clarification as requested in the denial letter, he was told that the proposed plates were “offensive” over the phone.
Silverman applied for “ATHE1ST” spelled with a number “1” instead of the letter “I” because “ATHEIST” was unavailable.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission has actually previously approved “ATHEIST” as a license plate (with I instead of 1). Here is a photo of David Silverman with an old (retired) New Jersey officially approved license plate reading “ATHEIST”:
Here is the text of the denial from the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission:
NEW JERSEY MOTOR VEHICLE COMMISSION PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL.
Thank you for your interest in New Jersey’s personalized plates. Unfortunately your request must be denied at this time due to the reason(s) stated below.
Requested Plate Number: ATHE1ST
Reason for Denial: Objectionable or Need Further Clarification
If you have any questions, you can contact MVC at http://www.nj.gov/mvc/contact.html.
Thank you for using New Jersey’s MyMVC Electronic Services.
An appeal has been filed. Here is a PDF of Silverman’s appeal letter: NJ Appeal Letter (PDF link)
Here is a PDF of the denial from the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission: NJ Plate Rejection Email (PDF link)
Links to current coverage:
Reddit link (2,600 upvotes and 1,000 comments):http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/1l5ch7/the_state_of_nj_just_denied_dave_silvermans/