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Ohio's Motto, Which Mentions God, Does Not Violate Establishment Clause
Description Court rejected ACLU request to enjoin Ohio state motto, "With God, All Things Are Possible," as a generic statement that was not adopted with reference to the New Testament and is consistent with the beliefs of many religions.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words Establishment Clause
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts ACLU sued the governor and other officials in Ohio for approval of use of the state seal on various state property. The seal states, "With God, All Things Are Possible." ACLU sought a declaration that the motto was unconstitutional in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and, hence, should not be displayed.
Decision The motto is not in violation of the Establishment Clause and its use will not be enjoined. However, the state is enjoined from attributing the words of the motto to the text of the New Testament. The words were taken from Matthew 19:26, but they are only part of a sentence and are not used in context. They show no denominational preference and are compatible with all major monotheistic religions. There is no evidence that a reasonable person who reads the motto would ascribe the words to Jesus, nor did the state when it adopted the motto.
Citation American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio v. Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, F.Supp.2d--- (1998 WL 601107, S.D., Ohio)
20 F. Supp. 2d 1176 (S. D., Ohio, 1998)

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