In County We Trust

You’ve likely already read that one of the bills filed yesterday for next year’s legislative sessions deals with our car tags. Specifically, Senator Bill Heath wants the phrase “In God We Trust” to be the standard for all tags. The bill also provides the option of a one dollar sticker with the county name.

Before we go any further, let’s cover a few things. I’m a Baptist. I don’t have a problem with the phrase in general. I understand and appreciate the phrase’s importance to this country.

I think every tag ought to list the county that the vehicle is registered in, no matter what. I don’t care about what slogan or phrase is being slapped on the plates. I spend a significant amount of time driving each week. (144 miles, five days every week). I find that I discriminate against drivers from certain counties. For instance, whenever I see a metro-Atlanta tag in Macon, I assume they are more aggressive drivers. When I see cars from Dooly county, I assume they are less aggressive. And then I see tags from places I live, and I want to know if the driver is an acquaintance.

County names are also useful for law enforcement purposes. It’s additional information they can use to identify certain vehicles and drivers.

I realize this is such a minor argument, but what is the argument for inclusion of “In God We Trust” and the exclusion of “County?” To show that we are a God-loving state? I don’t buy that. Because you’ll be giving tags with this phrase to people who do not lives that mesh with that statement. Such as your local atheist. Or how about the guy from across town who gets into trouble all the time, drinks and works on Sundays, and also has a bumper sticker that defames God? He’ll have “In God We Trust” too.

I see no reason to take away “County” from our tags. Especially when those who want “In God We Trust” can purchase a sticker. If anything, the appropriate thing to do is to offer those stickers for free. Or return us to the “Three Dollar Car Tag.” (Like that will ever happen.)


  1. bsjy says:

    You have just admitted you engage in county profiling. You can tell an aggressive driver based on his county tag? You know, it is just a short step from there to saying that African-American females talking on a cellphone are the worst drivers, and then you only need another step before you are outlawing all women drivers, and then you find yourself nervous in the airport when you see bearded young Arab males, and then you have to do a body cavity search on an old African-American woman just to restore yourself to non-profiling purity.

    Call up NPR, someone, and get them down here to do an expose!

  2. Lawton Sack says:

    Aside from the “In God We Trust” argument, I see no reason for a County name to be on a tag. Each vehicle has a unique tag number that identifies the vehicle and allows law enforcement officers to pull up the registration information. My driver’s license doesn’t even have a county name on it, just a county code.

    Charge people $5 to buy an OPTIONAL sticker to put at the bottom. They could be “In God We Trust,” “Go Jackets,” “To Hell With UGA,” or whatever else that goes through the same approval process as the specialty tags. I think the standard tag should have the State of GA’s website URL.

    • Ron Daniels says:

      The county name is really only important for law enforcement, when a citizen reports something. Because they may not grab all the letter and numbers, or get one wrong. So the county becomes an additional identifier for that purpose. And that’s really all it does to help law enforcement, but that’s better than not having the information.

      • Lawton Sack says:

        Good point about the witnesses, though I think it would be easier to identify it they could tell the officer that it had a “To Hell With UGA” sticker on it.

        • Ron Daniels says:

          Potentially. It was my assumption though, that if they had a partial plate and county they could narrow their results.

          But that’s likely me thinking off in la-la land.

  3. cheapseats says:

    I’m just sitting here laughing about how funny it would be to see the “In God We Trust” displayed right above a big ol’ set of “truck nuts”!

    Or next to the “Budweiser” bumper stickers.

    If they make me wear one then, I’m going to stick another little sticker of my own beside it that says “Not Really”.

    Those bubbas start the pandering earlier and earlier…

  4. Engineer says:

    The worst drivers I’ve encountered by county shown on their plates (in Georgia of course):
    Chatham (not to mention a sizable group don’t seem to know how to park a car without taking 2 parking spots when outside of their local area), Fulton, Cobb, Henry, DeKalb, Muscogee, Richmond, Dougherty, and Bibb counties.

    Maybe it is because I grew up in the country but it seems people from the cities are just in too big of a hurry.

  5. LukeSkywalkersTauntaun says:

    I am reminded of the movie Groundhog Day, wherein Bill Murray asks Andie McDowell what she studied in college, and in response to her answer (19th Century French poetry), he exclaims:


  6. Holly says:

    Like you, Ron, I’m a Baptist, and have no issue with folks having the “In God We Trust” motto on their tags. I prefer to have a county listed on mine, and I will change over to the Meadow Garden tag if we ever get enough signatures.

    I feel like requiring “In God We Trust” on the tag is going to set the state up for lawsuits, and I’m still unclear of where the demand is coming from that would push this sort of legislation. I’ve never heard a single person say to me that they wished they had that motto on their tag. However, I DO hear the occasional longing for “Georgia on my mind” to replace the state website again. (I still have the old tag with the state slogan. :-))

    If someone wants to have an “In God We Trust” on their tag, it should be a special tag, like South Carolina’s. If y’all haven’t seen it, it has a light blue background and the American flag on it. Very classy. Something that would make it worth paying a different price to have the slogan.

  7. RevOxley says:

    Thanks for the shoutout Ron.

    I’m waiting to see what happens with this, but I can assure you that the American Atheists will have it dealt with pretty quickly. Last I heard it was an option, I don’t take issue with that at all and can politely decline having the saying on my vehicle…though I wonder if it, along with my Flying Spaghetti Monster emblem might set me up for some profiling by the local yokel’s that happen to love the lord.

  8. Ken says:

    As for the county designation, I like it simply because it gives some additional information. Those from a large county wouldn’t care because it might not matter, but in a rural area it might influence whether or not one passes a slow car or simply waits because you’re 95% sure they’ll turn at the next intersection.

    I was in Starkville, MS, when I saw a Georgia tag just ahead of me. That’s no big deal, but when I saw a Dodge County sticker, I pulled up beside the car and it was a friend. We pulled over beside the road and had a good 20 minute chat. I couldn’t have done that without the county designation. Granted, this was not a world-altering experience but it was pretty cool to me.

  9. Atticus Grinch says:

    If there is a more foolish, trivial member of the GOP in the General Assembly than Bill Heath, I’d like to know who she/he is. I find it interesting that in the 2010 election, Heath lost his home county by a margin of 2566 to 1065. His HOME county. There must be a good reason that those that know him best, like him least.

  10. rense says:

    I am a Baptist, and I would decline such a tag on my car. Church and state should remain separate, because the state is the primary threat to the church.

        • Calypso says:

          Well then, I retract my statement and will re-evaluate my impression of your stance. I thought you would take exception to rense’s statement about “the state is the primary threat to the church.”

          I would have thought you felt just the opposite; that being the church is the primary threat to the state (perhaps primary is too extreme, however). I apologize for my misguided notion.

          • Well, they are threats to each other, really. The state is the primary threat to the church in that the state can regulate such things as whether or not the church pays property taxes. If the state can regulate businesses it can also regulate the church.

            Alternatively, the church isn’t so much a threat to the state as it is to individuals’ freedom when it gets too much power within the state. 🙂

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