"In God we Trust" will be the new standard on Mississippi license plates beginning this month. It will replace the design featuring blues legend B.B. King.
The new design also features the state seal and the phrase "The Great Seal of the State of Mississippi."
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant made the announcement last year in May.
"I was proud to sign legislation in 2014 that added the United States National Motto, "In God We Trust," to the Mississippi State Seal," Bryant wrote on Twitter. "Today, I am equally delighted to announce that it will adorn our new Mississippi license plates...available starting in January 2019."
The move has drawn mixed reviews.
Jon Pritchett, president of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, defended the plates as constitutional.
“We have been misinformed and misled by generations of public policy, education, and media leaders on the so-called ‘separation of church and state,’” Pritchett wrote. “The concept has been so pervasive that we generally accept the idea that it is inappropriate to bring any faith-based ideas to the public square. The idea that we should separate religion — of any faith or denomination — from politics is not only false, it is virtually impossible.”
But the American Humanist Association, or AHA, disagrees, blasting the new plates as unconstitutional.
“Unlike the use of ‘In God We Trust’ on money, which is only visible if one makes an affirmative effort to read it, the larger public display of ‘In God We Trust’ on motor vehicles, alongside bumper stickers and other signage, more clearly makes a statement endorsing the theistic assumptions underlying the phrase,” AHA said. “The problem, obviously, is that many individuals do not believe in a God, let alone trust in him, her, or it.”
States where people can get "In God We Trust" as specialty plates, by paying an additional fee, include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.