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'ISNOGOD' plates OK'd after Fargo athiest's appeal

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A Fargo atheist's request for a personalized license plate reading "ISNOGOD" was approved Thursday by the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

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The deity-denying license plate Brian Magee wanted was initially rejected last week by NDDOT officials, prompting Magee to appeal the decision to the state's transportation director.

In a letter dated Thursday informing Magee his plate appeal was approved, Francis Ziegler, NDDOT's director, said lawyers from the attorney general's office told transportation officials that Magee has a legal right to the plate he had requested.

"I would count that as a 'win,' I guess," Magee said.

In his appeal, Magee submitted three photos of vanity license plates that make references to God, including one plate that reads "ILOVGOD."

The 47-year-old, a host of an atheist radio show on KNDS 96.3 FM, had hoped his request would spark a recall of the plates already issued that make reference to God, but he said getting the "ISNOGOD" plate was an acceptable resolution.

Magee said he'll put the "ISNOGOD" plates on his Jeep Grand Cherokee. He said he's had scant negative feedback from media attention surrounding the initial rejection, so he's not expecting the plate to cause a great deal of fuss.

"It may get more looks than honks," he said. "I expect everything will be pretty muted."

In rejecting the plate the first time around, NDDOT officials told Magee that his plate was likely to offend North Dakotans and end up being recalled because of public complaints.

Magee argued that the state could not allow one type of religious expression on its license plates while denying other viewpoints.

He credited the NDDOT for quickly addressing the appeal.

"I'm glad they didn't sit on it too long," he said.

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