London, Nov 11 (ANI): A US judge has banned South Carolina from issuing car number plates that feature a Christian cross in front of a stained glass window along with the slogan "I Believe".
The southern state's legislature had already approved the licence plate, but district judge Cameron Currie said it was unconstitutional because it violated the First Amendment, which requires the separation of church and state.
"Such a law amounts to a state endorsement not only of religion in general, but of a specific sect in particular," the Telegraph quoted Currie as stating.
Her ruling also singled out Lt Gov Andre Bauer, who had pushed the bill approving the license plates through the state legislature.
Christian advocates tried to get the same license plate approved in Florida, but the bill did not pass that state's lawmaking body.
Currie said that Bauer wanted to accomplish in South Carolina what had been unsuccessful in Florida, in order to gain legislative approval of a specialty plate promoting the majority religion: Christianity.
"Whether motivated by sincerely-held Christian beliefs or an effort to purchase political capital with religious coin, the result is the same," she said.
"The statute is clearly unconstitutional and defence of its implementation has embroiled the state in unnecessary (and expensive) litigation," she added.
The case was brought by the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State, on behalf of several individuals and Hindu and American-Arab groups.
Rev Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, said government must never be allowed to give favourable treatment to one faith over others.
"That's unconstitutional and un-American. Some officials seem to want to use religion as a political football," Lynn added. (ANI)