It's on: Lawsuit filed to halt production of SC's Christian vanity plates

For those about to rock, I salute you.

No, seriously, cliched though it may be, legal clashes over inanities like this are always gratifying as a reminder of how successful America’s been in keeping church and state separate and settling in the most mundane way the sort of dispute that gets people’s throats slit in other countries. And needless to say, it’s always fascinating to watch great principles decided on the dumbest conceivable fact patterns.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today filed a lawsuit in federal district court on behalf of several religious leaders and a religious organization whose First Amendment rights are violated by South Carolina’s “I Believe” license plate…

Plaintiffs in the case include four South Carolina clergy the Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Summers, Rabbi Sanford T. Marcus, the Rev. Dr. Robert M. Knight and the Rev. Dr. Neal Jones as well as the Hindu American Foundation…

“The state has clearly given preferential treatment to Christianity with this license plate,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “I can’t think of a more flagrant violation of the First Amendment’s promise of equal treatment for all faiths. I believe these plates will not see the light of day.”

Here’s the complaint; note paragraph 36, which knocks the legislature for giving consumers a price break on the plate even though they had to do so or else they would have made the Establishment Clause difficulties worse. Exit compromise: You can keep this if the state also offers a plate featuring an image of Hitchens, drunk, above the slogan, “Abandon all hope.”