Guy Sues Okla. Over 'Rain God' License Plates
Says Native American image offends his Christian values
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2013 12:07 PM CDT
The standard Oklahoma license plate depicts Allan Houser's "Sacred Rain Arrow" bronze sculpture. A minister was unimpressed and sued.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

(Newser) – Oklahoma's license plate—which shows an Apache warrior with his arrow aimed skyward in a plea for rain—was a hit with the public, tourism officials, and even named best in the nation by a collectors' group. So of course there's a lawsuit involved: As the AP reports, Methodist minister Keith Cressman is suing, claiming that the plates offend his Christian values, and an appeals court has ruled that the case can go ahead. "I think it's important to understand that whether it was a Native American symbol or a symbol of any other faith, the issue would be the same," says Cressman.

"He simply wants to avoid placing the tag with the objectionable image on his car," adds Cressman's lawyer, who says his client isn't looking to take the 2.9 million plates out of circulation, so much as make the state offer up an alternative so that "he would not have to be a mobile billboard for the state's message against his will." Alternatives exist, the AP notes, but not without additional cost. But Cressman is trying too hard to be offended, says one critic. He's “missing the point that it symbolizes Native American culture and history and I don’t think it’s making some kind of exclusive statement about religion or worship. The piece isn't worshipping a rain god."

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Jun 17, 2013 8:51 AM CDT
I doubt that this is about freedom from religion. This is about a serious lack of faith many Christians have in their faith. This guy would have no problem inflicting a cross license plate on non Christian Oklahomans.
Jun 17, 2013 4:01 AM CDT
NEWSER needs to get their news upto date, this story is almost a month old. The case was dismissed by the lower court. He appealed to a higher court. The higher court said that the case could not be dismissed for the reason given and sent the case back to the lower court. The case has been dismissed again by the lower court. If you want to find out more, you can go to and find the full story.
Jun 17, 2013 3:09 AM CDT
I thought there was supposed to be separation of church and state. Why is this obviously religious license plate allowed to remain on vehicles? What's next, an image of Jesus praying to God on all Oklahoma license plates?