Page last updated at 05:24 GMT, Sunday, 5 February 2006

'God' faces name-change deadline

God Judging Adam by William Blake
God is the nickname of a bond agent called Paul Sewell

A US man who signs himself "God" has been told to use his real name by 14 February - or lose his driving licence.

Pennsylvania's Department of Transportation told Paul Sewell, 40, he must surrender his licence if he cannot provide proper identification.

A week ago Berks County Elections Board questioned Sewell's "God" signature on a voter registration form.

Sewell, a bond enforcement agent, said he used the name as people often cried "Oh God" when he tracked them down.

Holy nickname

Pennsylvania state law requires a person to write their normal signature on their licence. It can also withhold licences from those not entitled to one, who cannot provide proper ID, or who use fraudulent means to obtain one.

He said his colleagues thought fugitives calling him "God" was funny and started using it as a nickname.

"Whenever I go to arrest somebody, they say, 'Oh, God, give me another chance. Oh, God, let me go. I'll turn myself in tomorrow'," Sewell said.

He said he couldn't see why his signature was a problem: "I have a credit card with it."

Mr Sewell called on a Berks County court to intervene after receiving the department of transport letter on Tuesday.

He said: "I do not know why they are cancelling my driver's licence that I have had at age 16. Now I am 40."

Mr Sewell signed his appeal "God".

The Pennsylvania Department of Transport has declined to comment.

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