Day two of Atheist plate traveling around Michiana, driver explains why

NOW: Day two of Atheist plate traveling around Michiana, driver explains why

GOSHEN, Ind. -

A Goshen man recently received his atheist plate in the mail and put it on his vehicle; all this after having a brief battle with BMV.

Chris Bontrager, the man who ordered the Atheist plate says he received a package in the mail containing two religious books.

 He says he thinks it could be a local pastor trying to change his views, views that he’s put on display for all to see.

“To raise awareness and when somebody sees it they might realize that they are not alone in this area,” said Bontrager.

He’s been living in Goshen for about 12 years and says the purpose of getting this plate wasn’t for attention. On the other hand, it was to stick up for the atheists in this area. “To protect religious freedom. It’s freedom for and from religion.”

Bontrager has been trying to get this plate for over a month now, but the BMV rejected his original request and sent him a generic letter.

“They’re not very transparent as to the whole process when I called them I wasn’t allowed to appeal it,” said Bontrager.

According to the BMV, a plate can be denied if it is misleading or if the bureau considers it “improper.”

After the rejection, Bontrager got the ACLU involved. The ACLU then contacted BMV’s lawyer.

As far as my understanding the lawyer pushed the plate through and told them, “This shouldn’t have been denied. We don’t even need to go through an appeal process,” he added.

And finally, on Monday Bontrager received his plate in the mail and since then has been driving around Michiana and according to him other drivers aren’t really worrying about it.

“It seems like people won’t tailgate me for some reason. That might just be a coincidence, but it feels like people back off when they see the plate.”

Bontrager says many Christians have told him getting those plates was the right thing to do for religious freedom. He adds some peers are concerned for his safety, but he isn’t focusing on that.

What he is focusing on is getting his hands on a list of all rejected plates with a description from the BMV. If any of them are religious-based, he wants to help those drivers get what they want.

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