Enough is enough in state motto case

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 29, 2000

What have we come to as a nation?<!—->.

Saturday, April 29, 2000

What have we come to as a nation?

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It seems that everything most of us held sacred while growing up has just been tossed aside.

This past week, Ohio’s state motto – "With God all things are possible" – came under attack because it uses a quotation from the Bible. The quote is from Matthew 19:26.

Other states’ mottoes refer to God, but none use an actual quotation from the Bible.

The American Civil Liberties Union has successfully argued in the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the state’s motto is unconstitutional because it quotes Jesus and because, in the ACLU’s mind, it unfairly promotes the Christian faith.

The other states’ mottoes offer a homogenized, non-sectarian view of God, asserts the ACLU, so those mottoes ­ such as "God Enriches" in Arizona and "Under God the people will rule" in South Dakota ­ are not offensive.

Give us a break, please.

God is not bland, homogenized or one-size-fits-all. That’s true whether you are Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Jewish. Others agree, including the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, which endorsed Ohio’s motto, saying a similar phrase is used through the Koran, Islam’s holy text.

What’s next?

Perhaps the ACLU will decide to attack the American monetary system because our money carries the words, "In God We Trust."

Although our parents have often admonished us that money is the root of all evil, it is reassuring and even comforting to know that our national mint embosses our currency with that phrase.

In spite of cases like this one, we will never reach the point where absolutely nothing isn’t offensive to at least a handful of people. Being the diverse group of people that we are, it simply isn’t possible.

Nuisance suits like this ought to be thrown out of court instead of wasting taxpayers’ valuable money litigating a state’s motto.

If the motto offended race, gender or age group, it would be a different matter. However, it is very difficult to understand how a comforting quote like "with God all things are possible" could offend anyone.

Enough is enough. Let’s hope the state’s appeal is successful.


One way to lower your blood pressure ­ especially considering that topics like the one just mentioned usually raise it ­ is to enjoy the spring flowers that make Ohio so beautiful this time of year.

According to botanists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio wildflowers currently are at their peak.

Ohio has 2,300 wildflower species, and although you won’t be able to see all 2,300 by driving through Lawrence County, Lake Vesuvius is a good place to start.

If you’re more adventurous and are looking for a drive, considering visiting the Adams Lake Prairie in Adams Lake State Park, one mile north of West Union on Ohio 41, and the Marie Desonier Preserve in Athens County. To get to the Athens County wildflower haven, travel 3.5 miles west of Coolville on U.S. 50, drive one-quarter mile east on County Road 56 and then one-half mile north on County Road 65.

There is beauty all around us, and we should thank God (let’s hope the ACLU won’t come after us for saying that) for it.

Jennifer Allen is publisher of The Ironton Tribune.