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The Fine Line Between Religious Expression and Oppression

In Russia, Putin's government is embracing Russian Orthodoxy, while cracking down on all other Christian denominations. Labeled as "sects," churches like the Methodist Church are being outlawed.

Anti-western sentiment is one factor motivating the hostile posture toward US-based Protestant groups. Putin's distrust of groups not aligned with the states could also explain the religious intolerance. In addition to Protestants, the Catholic Church faces opposition, and foreign priests are often denied Russian visas.


Meanwhile the state government in Florida might give one religion its stamp of approval. The legislature is considering specialty plates with a Christian cross, stained glass windows, and the words "I Believe." This would be the first state license plate featuring a purely religious logo.

Do you see any similarities between these two state endorsements of religion, or is Russia a case of oppression, while Florida is a case of expression? By choosing one specific religion to promote on a plate, is Florida effectively oppressing the others? Should other messages, perhaps more controversial, be allowed? Could there be an "I Don't Believe" plate?

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Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
But I'm sure we'll hear one day that someone's objecting to someone else's religious plates. Yep, I thought of that too - it's just a matter of time.
stephley stephley 9 years
Yeah, I saw your post about the requirements after Sugar's tech issue got fixed. As long as they'll allow the plates for anyone who fulfills the requirements, my only problem with the idea is the tackiness. But I'm sure we'll hear one day that someone's objecting to someone else's religious plates.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Putin is looking for ways to shut his country off from the west. This sounds eerily like the Russia in the years after WWII
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
That's little Toby. My room mates Aunts dog. He comes to visit one weekend a month. He's a riot.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
hypnotic, is that your puppy dog?? he/she is fluffy and precious!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
stephley the plates just arent made willy nilly, read my original post for the requirements, its up to the organization to come up with the money for them.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Well I don't have the constitutional or legal knowledge to know whether having a cross on a (personalized) license plate is a violation of church and state. I guess the question to ask would be when one pays the extra fee for a personalized plate are they actually purchasing it from the state and is the actual plate owned by the auto owner? Or Is it just a fee and the plate still belongs to the state? I guess my answer would is obvious depending on the answer to the question.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
What about the Jesus fish steph?? :) Why not have it on your plate too?
stephley stephley 9 years
Is Florida going to make plates for all religions? It seems silly to announce your choice of religions on your bumper like a baseball team.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Thanks for the info cat! But it doesn't say where the funds from the sales of the plates goes? hmm...
stephley stephley 9 years
Will Florida make plates for all religions? I think it's a dumb idea to display your spiritual beliefs on your bumper like a baseball team, but if Christians can, they're going to have to allow Muslims, Jews, Scientologists and anyone else who can get an IRS designation to have their plates too.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
haha Kim, good point!
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
Katy, I wondered if it might be illegal. oh well. there goes my idea. :)
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
To have a specialty plate in floridaThe basic requirements are: The organization must hire an independent survey company to conduct a survey on Florida registered motor vehicle owners, an application fee of $60,000, a long-term and short-term marketing plan, financial analyses and the design of the license plate. The requirements must be submitted to the Department 90-days before the first day of the legislative session.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
I find it interesting that FL is allowing the religious tags on cars but is outlawing the trucknutz in the same week - coincidence? What if someone has both on their car? man that would be funny... Seriously though I think having a religious plate is fine, it's one of those things it's on a person's car it's not like they're trying to convert you (although some people may see it as an evangelization tool), and if any other religion wants to have a tag made up in support of their beliefs I'm fine with that too. Putin is scary, I don't think the two stories having anything to do with eachother though.
katybug518 katybug518 9 years
Kris: I don't know about anywhere in the country, but here in GA, I got pulled over for having stickers on my lisence plate, and was told it was illegal, and I had to remove it.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I remember the last time Russia went theocratic and then something happened ... oh yeah, 73 years of communist oppression. Oh well, maybe this time it'll be different.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
:rotfl: kris,, that was a good laugh!!!
syako syako 9 years
Ok here's my take on Putin. The people in Russia who keep "electing" this man continue to think that life in the Soviet Union was not "THAT" bad and like to have someone strong willed and decisive leading them. It's sad because they fail to see that Putin and his minions are simply bringing back the dictatorship. Meanwhile, Russia is also encroaching on the former Soviet States (like Ukraine) and pressuring them in many ways (like cutting off natural gas supplies and rallying against them when they try to join NATO) and some of the people in these countries think, hey life was relatively easy back then, let's just listen to Putin... but meanwhile you have people like my husband's family who are staunchly nationalistic and are tired of having some foreign government stomping all over them. So basically it's a big ole' mess. To the point brought up in the post - this does not surprise me at all, though it does scare me a little bit. The Russian Orthodox church has a thousand year tradition in the slavic world and won't give that up easily. Tons of missionaries come into Russia and former Soviet states daily to try to "bring the people to Christ", but most of them are very closed minded and think that Russian Orthodox Christianity "doesn't count" (even though the Orthodox church was the original church, but whatev...) So there is this dislike for the missionaries of other denominations for the condescending ways that they treat the Orthodox church. I'm not condoning what they or Putin are doing, but it does bring the situation in perspective. And no, the license place thing has NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS!
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
ha ha Kia! i can see someone like that having a wreck, and they'd be like "I ASKED Jesus several times to take the wheel, and He didn't hear me!" or "I'm sorry, I really thought it was the rapture this time."
kia kia 9 years
Florida is insane with their gazillion plates. In the mix of over their 100 plates there are a few that are a bit off-putting so it does not seem like such a bad thing to have this one that is uplifting. Now let's just hope people driving with this plate don't act like jerks behind the wheel.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
You could technically change your plates every day according to the news of the day, or however you feel. you could tape a picture of Putin on there, with antennas coming out of his head and some barf coming from his mouth.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
could you get a default plate and decorate it yourself with stickers, or a sharpie? I would draw a spaceship, and maybe put some rainbows or a unicorn on there.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
1) Putin is a crazy little man and makes me proud to live in a free country 2) who cares what people have on their plate. It is their choice, they are paying extra for it, let them do as they please. I am sure if people wrote to them and create a plate for another religion and the demand was high enough, they would create it.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
Putin is Satan, I don't care what anyone says that's what the devil looks like. he has the cruelest eyes, I have ever seen.
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