March 2019 Church & State Magazine - March 2019

Arizona License Plate Funds Religious Right Group

  Rob Boston

Residents of Arizona who want a special license plate reading “In God We Trust” may not be aware that they’re also making a donation to a Religious Right legal group.

Under a state program, residents can pay $25 for the special plate. The state says that $17 “goes to promote the national motto ‘In God We Trust’, 1st amendment rights and the heritage of this state and nation” – but fails to make it clear that the money is being given to Alliance Defending Freedom, a controversial Religious Right legal group that works to undermine LGBTQ rights, interject fundamentalist Christianity in public schools and government, end legal abortion and promote a definition of religious freedom that allows for discrimination.

The group, which is based in Scottsdale, has received nearly $1 million under the program. Its annual budget is $55 million.

A state lawmaker, Sen. Juan Mendez (D-Dist. 26), has introduced legislation to create a publicly available list of groups that benefit financially from specialty plates. Mendez has also introduced legislation to get rid of the “In God We Trust’ plate.

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