God and State Mottos/Songs

On a whim, I decided to run down some information about references to God in U.S. mottos and state songs. Sources include Wikipedia, secretary of state websites, and other sites listing lyrics. Here are the results:


For the U.S. and the states/territories that have state mottos which reference God, I provide the motto for the respective state. If the motto is in Latin, I provide an English translation.

United States of America: In God We Trust

American Samoa: Let God be First

Arizona: Ditat Deus ("God Enriches")

Colorado: Nil sine numine ("Nothing without God's will")

Florida: In God We Trust

Kentucky: Deo gratiam habeamus ("Let us be grateful to God")

Ohio: With God, all things are possible

South Dakota: Under God the People Rule


Below I include only the relevant excerpts from the lyrics. If there is more than one state song, then I also identify the song from which the lyrics are taken.

Alabama: "Make us worthy, God in Heaven, Of this goodly land of Thine."

Arizona: "In the presence of our God!" and "Thank God, for Arizona."

Arkansas: "God bless the memories I keep recalling...." (You Run Deep in Me).

Colorado: "You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply." (Rocky Mountain High).

Massachusetts: "...gave their thanks to God." (All Hail to Massachusetts), "And by the grace of God." (State Folk Song).

New Hampshire: "God, in His great love and wisdom."

New Mexico: "Of beautiful colors, That God gave them." (Stage Bilingual Song).

North Dakota: "God of freedom, all victorious." (State Hymn).

Penn.: "Blessed by God's own hand...."

South Carolina
: "And I love this life I'm livin', And thank God for all He's givin'...."

Tenn.: "Where God has strewn with lavish hand...." (My Tennessee) and "And a feeling it’s all God’s will" (Tennessee).

: "God bless you Texas! And keep you brave and strong...."

Utah: "Godguarded evermore." (State Hymn).

Virgin Islands: "God bless our Virgin Islands...."

Washington: "This is my country; God gave it to me..."

Wisconsin: "God will give thee might!"


Jay McHue said…
It gets better than that. Check out some research I did a while back on states' constitutions after the Boy Scouts were deemed a religious organization:

On my honor
Layman said…
Great Stuff, Jinx. Thanks!
Anonymous said…
It gets better! Nine state say you're not an equal citizen if you don't believe in God...

Arkansas State Constitution, Article 19 Section 1 ("Miscellaneous Provisions")
No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any court.

Maryland's Declaration of Rights, Article 36
"That as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to Him, all persons are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore, no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate, on account of his religious persuasion, or profession, or for his religious practice, unless, under the color of religion, he shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent, or maintain, or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain, any place of worship, or any ministry; nor shall any person, otherwise competent, be deemed incompetent as a witness, or juror, on account of his religious belief; provided, he believes in the existence of God, and that under His dispensation such person will be held morally accountable for his acts, and be rewarded or punished therefore either in this world or in the world to come."

Massachusetts' State Constitution, Article 3
"Any every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law: and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law."
Comment: Apparently Non-Christians are not "equally under the protection of the law".

Mississippi State Constitution. Article 14 ("General Provisions"), Section 265
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.

North Carolina's State Constitution, Article 6 Section 8
"Disqualifications of office. The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God."

Pennsylvania's State Constitution, Article 1 Section 4
"No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth."

South Carolina's State Constitution, Article 4 Section 2
"No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor who denies the existence of the Supreme Being; ..."
Note: If you continue reading you will find that (in Section 8) the Lieutenant Governor must also meet the same qualifications as the Governor.

Tennessee's State Constitution, Article 9 Section 2
"No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state."

Texas' State Constitution, Article 1 Section 4
"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being."
David B. Ellis said…
Have none of these been contested as blatantly contradictory to the constitution of the United States?
Jason Pratt said…
Dead laws, so no point contesting them. If a candidate was desperate enough to try to appeal to one in order to nix his opposition, things'd get straightened out pretty fast.

Vic: I'm trying to recall if there's anything about God in "Rocky Top", since everyone here in Tennessee treats that as the de facto state song.

(um... moonshine running; murder; a dash of sex... WE HAVE THE FREAKING DUKES OF HAZZARD STATE SONG!! Unofficially. {g} Maybe it mentions God somewhere. Probably so. Anyway, add 120,000 drunk football fans and a 400 piece marching band. I love my state! {gggg!})

Layman said…
A Hermit,

If you go back far enough you'll find that roughly a third of the original states had established, tax-payer funded religions.
Anonymous said…
"If you go back far enough you'll find that roughly a third of the original states had established, tax-payer funded religions."

And that's generally recognized as having been a bad thing nowadays, is it not?

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