ACLU v. Ohio: Court Rules that Ohio Motto Violates Separation of Church and State

ACLU v. Ohio: Court Rules that Ohio Motto Violates Separation of Church and State

Governor George Voinovich with Ohio Motto

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Decided: ACLU v. Ohio - The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the Ohio motto, "With God All Things Are Possible" is indeed a religious slogan and, hence, a violation of the separation of church and state.

First, the legislative history proves that the motto was chosen precisely because it is in the Bible. Second, experts convincingly showed that the motto expresses a theological opinion which is disputed by theologians. This means the state is taking a side in theological debates.

From the decision:

"The words of the motto are not to be decontextualized in order to allow them to pass constitutional muster. Whether their source is formally attributed or not to Matthew, they are the words of Jesus. No amount of semantic legerdemain can hide the fact that the official motto of the State of Ohio repeats word-for-word, Jesus' answer to his disciples' questions about the ability to enter heaven, and thereby achieve salvation.

As such, to the ears of a reasonable listener, the motto comes directly from the voice of Jesus. To suppress the knowledge that these are the words of Jesus, and to say that they describe something other than the achievement of salvation, is to put a premium on ignorance. Moreover, to enjoin state officials from explaining the origin of the words is to perpetuate such ignorance."

Read More: ACLU v. Ohio

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