(Image Courtesy My Plates)
A Christian-themed specialized plate in Texas approved in 2011 has sold hundreds of copies, resulting in about $60,000 for the state's General Revenue Fund.
The Calvary Hill license plate created by a charity group called Glory Gang has sold over 560 plates, generating money for both the Texas government and the nonprofit.
The plate, which features the phrase "One State Under God," is distributed by My Plates, a Texas-based company that was given a contract by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to create and sell specialized plates.
Kim Miller Drummond, public relations manager at My Plates, told The Christian Post about the level of success the Calvary Hill plate has had over the past year.
"It's done really well in our program. We have about a hundred and fifty license plates now in our program and the Calvary Hill plate is now ranked number 45," said Miller. "And that's pretty high for a plate that has been in the program only one year. A lot of our top ten or top twenty have been around for the start of our program."
Showcasing the phrase "One State Under God" and including an image of three crosses on a hill, Drummond told CP that the Calvary Hill plate was the only explicitly religious license plate in the My Plates program.
"As far as the design, this is our only one," said Drummond, noting that the occasional ordered plate will feature a message with letters or numbers that is religious in nature.
In December 2011, the governing board of Texas' DMV approved the Glory Gang's Calvary Hill license plate in a vote of four yeas to three nays. At the time, some individuals had voiced church-state separation concerns given the design.
"It's become pretty clear that our governor [Rick Perry] is dismissive of religious beliefs other than his own, and now his governmental appointees have voted to send a message that Texas is unwelcoming to the religious faiths of some of its citizens," Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said in a statement.
Jonathan Saenz, an attorney and director of legislative affairs for the Liberty Institute, explained in a statement that such concern was unfounded.
"Private speech, protected by the First Amendment, should not be subjected to second class treatment," said Saenz.
"The four members of the DMV board made the right decision. Anyone who opposed this plate either doesn't know the law or has no respect for the First Amendment."
Far from being the first explicitly religious license plate in the Lone Star State, other specialty plate programs had included phrases like "God Bless Texas," "God Bless America," and "One Nation Under God" or cross imagery.
Last March, the Calvary Hill plate became available for purchase for Texas drivers. A portion of the profits for the plates go to Glory Gang, a nonprofit outreach based in Nacogdoches that helps at-risk children aged 3 to 12.