The operator of a North Carolina license plate renewal office says he won’t stop playing Christian music following a complaint and believes the controversy is indicative of a larger societal problem.
Media across North Carolina have covered news about the dispute, which began when a customer who had visited a local DMV office in Lincolnton, N.C. -- often called a tag office -- complained to the state about Christian music that was playing in the office. The office is privately owned and contracted out by the state to sell renewals and tags, WSOC-TV reported.
The complaint also referenced military items that are sold in the office, said the operator, Matthew Craig.
Craig told WSOC he won’t stop playing the Christian music or change anything in the office. A sign on the counter reads, “He has risen.”
“I believe we have found ourselves in what many see as the sum of our country’s problems,” Craig told WSOC.
Craig said he will retire and close the office in March.
When the television station visited the office this week, it found plenty of supporters for Craig.
“It was ridiculous that anyone [would] be trying to close this office,” customer William McCollough said. “That’s one of the most efficient, kind people in town.”
“If they want to play gospel music, I don’t see nothing wrong with it. I like gospel music,” said Sam Goodson, a customer. “It is what it is. You’re not going to please everyone in this world.”
“They don’t want anything Christian, don’t want any mention of God. And that’s what is wrong with our nation today,” said customer Betty Barger.
“To me, I think the world is going to the devil instead of where it should be,” customer Betty Huss said.
Lincolnton Mayor Ed Hatley expressed frustration over the controversy.
“Politics should never come into play whenever it’s something like this,” Hatley told WSOC. “What should come into play is do the right thing. We’ve become too polarized.”
The state DMV told the Queen City Times: “The Division did not take any action against or close the Lincolnton License Plate Agency. Last week, the Division received a complaint from a customer of this location and has been in communication with the operator. Monday evening, the Division received a letter from the operator about their desire to close the office and retire. In response to this notification, the Division will be opening an application period soon to find a new operator for a License Plate Agency in Lincoln County”
Image credit: ©Getty Images/Serge Randall
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.