Gov George Voinovich poses with Ohio motto in 1998
Back in 1997, then Ohio Governor George Voinovich had the bright idea
to engrave Ohio's state motto With
God All Things Are Possible on the
newly renovated state house in Columbus. The pseudo government agency
responsible for the state house and grounds agreed in general but chose
to place the motto in a plaza next to the building rather than on the
Since the motto is a direct quote from the Bible, the ACLU of Ohio sued
in Federal court claiming the state was violating the 1st amendment.
A federal appeals court ruled in 2001 that the motto was generic enough
not to violate the 1st amendment as long as the state didn't tell
visitors it was a Bible quote. The ACLU decided not to appeal to a
The motto case was the first church and state case I followed closely.
Of course it was because I lived in Columbus at the time but I was also
making the journey to secular Humanism. The case was a way for me to
support my arrival at a new label for my world view.
The following pages contain the web pages I created by hand to describe
the case and the issue surrounding it. I didn't know a lot about making
nice looking pages so the finished product looked pretty amateurish.
In 2016 I decided to redo the pages by creating new, more modern HTML
pages that are responsive yet look more professional. I also added a
column by a Columbus Dispatch columnist, published during the court
case in 1998, that I recently found in a box of old papers.
I wanted to bring back these pages because I still believe the state
violated the law even if the federal court gave them an easy out to
maintain the status quo. The state shouldn't be a cheerleader for any
religion even if the religious quotes are inspirational.
The page links are generally in chronically order and contain one or
more newspaper accounts. I copied and pasted the text from the web
version of the articles but had no idea I needed to link back to the
original. I include the title and author of the articles so you can
look them up online at the Columbus Dispatch or other newspapers