Sep 15, 2011

A federal district court upheld the Ohio state motto, "With God All Things are Possible," and its inscription on the Ohio statehouse, though the court enjoined the state from attributing the biblical source of the phrase. On August 18, 2000, AU, along with the Anti-Defamation League, filed an amicus brief in the Sixth Circuit, arguing that the motto is a theistic text that expresses an unconstitutional preference for Christianity and results in government endorsement of religion. A panel of the Sixth Circuit agreed, finding the motto to be sectarian and unconstitutional. On March 16, 2001, in an en banc decision, the Sixth Circuit reversed the panel and upheld the motto and its display, reasoning that it "is merely a broadly worded expression of a religious/philosophical sentiment that happens to be widely shared by the citizens of Ohio," and thus "fits comfortably within this country’s long and deeply entrenched tradition of civic piety, or ‘ceremonial deism.’"