DMV license photo won’t be required for religious group
A handful of people who believe digitized photos on state driver’s licenses could be the beginning of the biblical “mark of the beast” will receive special licenses from the Division of Motor Vehicles [Charleston, WV] today.
Phil Hudok, a Randolph County teacher who previously refused to enforce school rules requiring students to wear bar-coded identification badges because it violated his religious beliefs, will be one of the first.
“We’re a Christian, nondenominational scripture-believing group,” Hudok said.
Hudok, pastor Butch Paugh and 12 others met with DMV Commissioner Joseph Cicchirillo in 2006 about the perceived problem. At the time, state officials were getting ready to comply with the federal Real ID Act of 2005, which would have forced states to share information about licensed drivers with other states.
Under the plan Cicchirillo established, Hudok and other followers of Paugh will be allowed to have their license photos taken at the Capitol DMV office and then removed from the computer system. DMV will maintain a hard copy of the pictures at the main office.
“What these people objected to was the digital image,” Cicchirillo said.
The federal act also requires personal information, such as birth dates and driving records, in the system. “All the other information stays there,” the commissioner said.
Hudok, who was fired by the Randolph County Board of Education and then ordered reinstated with back pay by the courts, is a physics teacher who now teaches at Pickens School. His religion has no church and members meet in Summersville and Huttonsville each week for Bible study.
The Bible’s book of Revelation describes the beast system and “mark of the beast,” warning that numbering people signals the arrival of the Antichrist.
He calls it a battle between “states’ rights” and “the federal dictatorial government.”
“We see us getting closer and closer to the mark of the beast,” he said.
If the Real ID program continues in the future, Hudok believes not only will it affect a person’s ability to legally drive, but to be able to catch a plane or open a bank account.
“They haven’t defined what the limits will be on the Real ID,” he said.
Cicchirillo said those limits might never be known, since a number of states objected – many on the basis of costs – and Congress changed the implementation date to 2010.
The Real ID Act would establish national standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards. Some call the new driver’s licenses national ID cards because they require the approval of the secretary of Homeland Security. The secretary would have the power to require additional details on state driver’s licenses.
Each license or ID card would include a person’s name, address, signature, date of birth, gender and a digital photograph of the person’s face. Applicants also must submit more documentation for identification purposes than most states now require.
Each state also must share its database with all other states. Some groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have opposed the idea.
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