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Dissent posted over Okla. 'rain god' license plate

June 12, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal appeals court has republished an order authorizing a challenge to Oklahoma's "rain god" license plate after failing to provide a dissenting opinion.

The new order published Wednesday still reinstates Keith Cressman's claim that plates featuring Allan Houser's "Sacred Rain Arrow" sculpture are an affront to his Christian beliefs, but adds a dissent by Circuit Judge Paul J. Kelly Jr.

Kelly calls the image a cultural icon and notes that Native American culture is an important part of Oklahoma's history — with even its name coming from two Choctaw words. He says it is not plausible that most people interpret the plate as promoting an ideological message.

Cressman is a Methodist minister. Kelly said he would have rejected Cressman's claim that the plate promotes "polytheism and/or animism."

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