I’ve never been one to argue about religion.
I will share my beliefs with you, and they are essential to my faith, but I’m not interested in arguing over religion — even if we are of the same religion.
So, I’m not going to debate what an Oklahoma minister did, but I do have an opinion.
Five years ago, this minister sued, claiming the Oklahoma license plate is an affront to his Christian beliefs. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled the minister’s case can proceed.
The plate features a young Apache warrior shooting an arrow skyward as depicted by Allen Houser’s “Sacred Raid Arrow”.
The pastor says,”I think it’s important to understand that whether it was a Native American symbol or a symbol of any other faith, the issue would be the same.”
The minister’s attorney says his client isn’t trying to force the state to get rid of almost 3 million license plates with the image … only that he be given another option … without having to pay for a vanity plate.
Oklahoma has 200 specialty plates … one even features the phrase: In God We Trust. Each does carry an additional fee from $18 to $35 each year.
The curator for sculptor Allan Houser’s estate says: The piece isn’t worshipping a rain god…it is, in a sense, an offering of prayer.
The minister’s attorney says his client is not criticizing Native Americans nor their rich history in Oklahoma. He says the plate “communicate(s) a religious belief that he doesn’t hold.”
I haven’t told you the minister’s denomination because it really doesn’t play a role in this story, but I will say that I haven’t seen a vast number of religious leaders siding with the minister.
It is his personal belief and if he considers the plate an “affront” to his belief… that is the right of the First Amendment.
Still, since this is truly a “federal case” … I just have to say … with all due respect for the minister’s personal belief … I just can’t see the reason for the argument.
My personal opinion is … I don’t find the license plate offensive to my religion, but then, I’m not a man of the cloth and I’m a terrible sinner in constant need of forgiveness and mercy.
I am reminded of author Robert Fulghum who wrote: Arguing over the correct name for God is like fleas arguing over the name of the dog.