Religious Rights
8:31 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Religious Statement Or Native American Pride? Court Allows License Tag Challenge

A federal appeals court says Oklahoma's Indian "rain god" license plate can be challenged on grounds that amounts to a state endorsement of a religion.

The current Oklahoma license tag.
Credit Oklahoma Tax Commission

The license plate depicts Allan Houser's "Sacred Rain Arrow" sculpture, in which an Indian shoots an arrow into the sky to bring down rain.

Keith Cressman says the plate communicates Native American religious beliefs and that, as a Christian, he shouldn't have to display it. He complains that state officials told him he cannot cover up the symbol without breaking the law and that he must pay an extra fee if he wants a specialty plate that doesn't include the design.

A federal judge had dismissed Cressman's lawsuit but the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Tuesday ordered it reinstated.

READ THE RULING