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Msgr. Hadden Questions Delay in Passage of Choose Life License Plate

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Rev. Monsignor Thomas P. Hadden, Vicar for African-Ancestry Ministry and Evangelization in the Diocese of Raleigh, submitted the following Letter to the Editor to the Raleigh News & Observer, which was printed in the April 25 edition. The letter pertains to the “Choose Life” special license plate bill introduced for the eighth year in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Additional information on the “Choose Life” plate is available at www.catholicvoicenc.org.

Dear Editor:
As an African American born and reared in Raleigh, N.C., I am very happy that there are now 29 African Americans in the General Assembly.

Recently HB 168, the Choose Life special plate bill, was filed and assigned to the Rules Committee by the Speaker of the House, Joe Hackney. Over 130 other special plates have been authorized by the Legislature and dozens of others have been filed this session.

The Choose Life plate is the only one to be relegated to the House Rules Committee. Here it is expected to die for the eighth year in a row. Two legislators have said that controversial or political plates should not be approved.

It is interesting that at present one special plate is presently available and another has been filed that are certainly political and controversial, especially to African Americans. Currently, the “Sons of the Confederate Veterans” specialty plate is available for purchase in North Carolina. The recently filed “Civil War” specialty plate (HB369/SB735) with the proposed words “Freedom-Sacrifice-Memory” has been assigned respectively to the House Transportation and Senate Finance Committees, the normal assignments given to plates seeking approbation by the Legislature.

We have come a long way in 50 years with regard to civil rights and freedom of speech by all people. Many people have paid the price of their lives so that African Americans could enjoy freedom and rights. I ask the 29 African Americans legislators in the General Assembly to join with those who seek to have the bill for this plate passed.

All of good will should join together in seeking their First Amendment rights in allowing the Choose Life license plate to be authorized for sale in our state.

Rev. Monsignor Thomas P. Hadden
Vicar for African-Ancestry Ministry
Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh