In the United States, the federal government grants its citizens the freedom of religion and this includes the freedom to choose not to follow a religion.

When a self-described atheist and constitutional activist, Bennie Hart, went to get a vanity plate, he was denied his request on the basis that it was considered obscene. When asked about his activism, he explains that Thomas Jefferson is his “first cousin eight times removed.

It is clear that standing up for his rights is something that is in his blood and he ended up filing a suit against the government of Kentucky after this denial. The lettering on the vanity plate that he was requesting spelled out “IM GOD”.

Bennie Hart had just moved to Northern Kentucky from Ohio and was not expecting to face any problems getting his plates as he drove around with the same lettering on his plates in his former state for twelve years without any problems. He received the news of his rejection in the mail from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet claiming that they would not fulfill his request as they considered it obscene and vulgar.

Bennie Hart has been an atheist since he was just fifteen years old and the eighty-year-old holds strong to his beliefs, or lack thereof. For the last two decades, he has been carrying around a $100 that he says he will give to “the first person that can prove I’m not God.

So far, nobody has been able to do it, including the Kentucky Department of Transportation and he wants to see justice after having his rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech denied and he decided that it was time to fight back. Hart has always told people to stand up against the government if they are violating your rights as they will roll over you if you don’t.

While some may have just accepted defeat and tried for another set of letters for their license plates, the constitutional activist refused to just lay down instead of having his rights slowly encroached upon.

When he decided that it was time to fight against the government of Kentucky on a federal level, he knew that it would be difficult to go about it alone and he was able to enlist the help of both the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the ACLU.

Before Hart retired, he had worked as a postal worker for the government of the United States. He states that the “Constitution is the most sacred thing that’s ever been written,” and it is also a “beautiful document” that guarantees the rights of the citizen of the United States when it comes to assembly, speech, and religion.

The fight that the retired postal worker had against the Kentucky Department of Transportation may have taken some time and hard work from himself along with the organizations that aided him, but he is happy with the outcome as he is now able to drive his vehicle with the vanity plates that he had grown accustomed to in Ohio. In addition to allowing him to get these plates, the courts ordered that Kentucky pay for all of his legal fees which were over $150,000.