With ACLU, All Things May Be Prohibited

Published July 1, 2000

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled on April 25 that Ohio’s motto, “With God, all things are possible,” violates the United States Constitution as a government establishment of religion.

The American Civil Liberties Union had litigated the case on behalf of a Presbyterian minister who had filed the original complaint, arguing the words had no secular purpose.

In response, the Ohio House and Senate in early May overwhelmingly approved a resolution endorsing the state motto and encouraging State Attorney General Betty Montgomery to appeal the decision. The motto, a quotation of Jesus from the Bible’s Gospel of St. Matthew 19:26, was originally proposed by a 12-year-old Ohio student and adopted in 1959.