APPLETON, Wisc. — A Christian man in Wisconsin has succeeded in his effort to raise enough funds to begin production of ‘In God We Trust’ license plates in the state, just months after a measure allowing for the plates was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker.
David Hinds of Appleton birthed the idea of producing the specialty plates in 2011 after noticing that others states had the motto as an option, but Wisconsin did not. He states, however, that he cannot take full credit for the idea.
“I think it might be the Holy Spirit that told me to do this,” Hinds told the Post-Crescent. “I think sometimes Christians, including [myself] … don’t talk about our faith enough. We kind of sit back on the park bench and say, ‘I’ll let somebody else do it.’”
Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) soon took up Hinds’ initiative to have the plates produced and introduced a bill in the state legislature the following year. After failing to move forward for a vote in 2012, Kaufert brought the matter up again in 2013, but this time, the concept was met with opposition from the Madison-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF).
“This is unnecessary first of all and secondly it leaves out 20 percent of the population,” said Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “It’s very exclusionary.”
But Kaufert pointed out that the plates were optional, and that if individuals didn’t like the plate, then they shouldn’t purchase one. The matter passed in the legislature in April of this year, and was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker.
Hinds then set out to raise $9,000 to cover the state’s cost of producing the specialty plates, which is required under the statute. This week, the Post-Crescent announced that Hinds’ goal had been reached.
“This has been just the highlight of my life to get this accomplished,” he told the outlet. “The license plates will go on for perpetuity with or without me being here on the Earth.”
Funds from the purchase of the plates will go toward the Wisconsin VFW Foundation to benefit war veterans.
“It’s not about me,” Hinds said. “It’s about if you believe in God, you have the opportunity now to purchase an ‘In God We Trust’ plate that will also support our Wisconsin veterans. We owe them and all our veterans every freedom we have even if you are not Christian, and it’s our national motto.”
A number of municipalities across the nation are also seeking to use the motto in various ways, such as posting the phrase on plaques in council chambers or within the county seal. As previously reported, one Texas taxman recently decided to begin printing the motto on all outgoing stationery from his office.
The national motto was signed into law in 1956 by then-President Dwight Eisenhower. However, the phrase “In God We Trust” is believed to have originated with the Star Spangled Banner, written during the War of 1812—less than 40 years after the signing of the Constitution—which declares, “And this be our motto: In God We Trust!”