The president of American Atheists has been allowed an "Atheist" vanity plate after his request had been rejected earlier by the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission (MVC).
David Silverman ordered a vanity plate that read "ATHE1ST," with the number "1" instead of an "I" earlier this month, but the MVC denied his request on Tuesday calling it "objectionable." When Silverman asked for clarification, an MVC employee told him the plate would be considered "offensive," reports the Huffington Post.
American Atheists called the rejection discriminatory.
’Atheist’ is not an offensive or objectionable word anymore than the word ‘Jew’ or ‘Christian’ or ‘man’ or ‘woman’ is,” said Silverman, according to RT.com.
“It is a common noun, it is in the dictionary and it is not only allowed in multiple other states, the word is used on dog tags for the US government. It is who and what I am.”
David Muscato, the public relations director for the group, posted news of the denial on Reddit where it quickly became one of the most popular posts, even receiving a re-tweet from evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins.
On Wednesday, following an appeal filed by Silverman, the MVC reversed its decision on, citing a "clerical error" for the initial rejection.