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References to "God" in State Constitutions


USA mapAll 50 state constitutions refer to "God" or some higher power. Forty-three states feature these religious references in the Preamble (introductory clause of explanation) of their constitution. The seven remaining states refer to "God" in their religious freedom provisions.

"Preambles often lack the force of law and, thus, cannot be used to strike down state rules or statutes which conflict with provisions of the preamble. On the other hand, preambles often are considered to be the founders' (or the citizens') rationale or goals for enacting the Constitution.

Provisions which guarantee freedom of religion are curious creatures. They often contain both freedom of religion guarantees and proscriptions against government adoption of religion within the same provision (as does our federal 1st Amendment). This creates a tension when a person attempts to exercise religious freedom within the context of an arguably governmental function (e.g., a student offering a prayer during a public high school commencement ceremony).

Plainly, many of the State Constitutions have chosen to specifically reference God (or the equivalent) rather than adopting a more neutral approach found in the 1st Amendment. How the States courts have construed these differences might shed light on why God was specifically referenced and its import on the broader question of including God in our Pledge."
May 2005 Grant Marylander, JD

Although many states have ratified several constitutions over the years, the information below is from the most current version of each state's constitution.

[Source: State constitution text below was taken from each state's official website, as of May 2005.]

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

State
Date of
Constitution
Religious Terms in State Constitution
[deity references are in bold]
1. Alabama 1901 "We the people of the State of Alabama ... invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution..."
2. Alaska 1956 "We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land..."
3. Arizona 1911 "We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution..."
4. Arkansas 1998 Article II, Section 24. "All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can, of right, be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship; or to maintain any ministry against his consent. No human authority can, in any case or manner whatsoever, control or interfere with the right on conscience; and no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment, denomination or mode of worship above any other.
5. California 1879 "We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution."
6. Colorado 1876 "We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe..."
7. Connecticut 1818 "The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy..."
8. Delaware 1897 "Through Divine goodness, all men have by nature the rights of worshiping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences..."
9. Florida 1968 "We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty..."
10. Georgia 1998 "To perpetuate the principles of free government, insure justice to all, preserve peace, promote the interest and happiness of the citizen and of the family, and transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty, we the people of Georgia, relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution."
11. Hawaii 1959 "We, the people of Hawaii, grateful for Divine Guidance..."
12. Idaho 1890 "We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom..."
13. Illinois 1870 "We, the People of the State of Illinois - grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He has permitted us to enjoy and seeking His blessing upon our endeavors..."
14. Indiana 1851 "TO THE END, that justice be established, public order maintained, and liberty perpetuated; WE, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to ALMIGHTY GOD for the free exercise of the right to choose our own form of government, do ordain this Constitution."
15. Iowa 1857 "We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of those blessings..."
16. Kansas 1859 "We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges..."
17. Kentucky 1891 "We, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties..."
18. Louisiana 1974 "We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political, economic and religious liberties we enjoy..."
19. Maine 1820 "We the People of Maine... acknowledge with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity... and imploring His aid and direction..."
20. Maryland 1867 "We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty..."
21. Massachusetts 1780 "We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence..."
22. Michigan 1963 "We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom..."
23. Minnesota 1857 "We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings..."
24. Mississippi 1890 "We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work..."
25. Missouri 1945 "We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness..."
26. Montana 1972 " We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this constitution."
27. Nebraska 1875 Art. I, CI-4 "All persons have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. No person shall be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship against his consent, and no preference shall be given by law to any religious society, nor shall any interference with the rights of conscience be permitted...."
28. Nevada 1864 "We the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom..."
29. New Hampshire 1783 Part I., Art. V. "Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and reason; and no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace or disturb others in their religious worship."
30. New Jersey 1947 "We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors..."
31. New Mexico 1911 "We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty..."
32. New York 1938 "We The People of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our Freedom, in order to secure its blessings..."
33. North Carolina 1971 "We, the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for the preservation of the American Union and the existence of our civil, political and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those blessings to us and our posterity..."
34. North Dakota 1889 "We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty..."
35. Ohio 1851 "We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings..."
36. Oklahoma 1907 "Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty..."
37. Oregon 1857 Bill of Rights, Article I, Sect. 2 " All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences..."
38. Pennsylvania 1874 "We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance..."
39. Rhode Island 1986 " We, the people of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and to transmit the same, unimpaired, to succeeding generations..."
40. South Carolina 1778 "We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the preservation and perpetuation of the same."
41. South Dakota 1889 "We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties..."
42. Tennessee 1870 Art. I, Sect. III "That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience..."
43. Texas 1876 "Humbly invoking the blessings of Almighty God, the people of the State of Texas, do ordain and establish this Constitution."
4. Utah 1896 "Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution..."
45. Vermont 1793 Art. III "That all persons have a natural and unalienable right, to worship Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own consciences and understandings, as in their opinion shall be regulated by the word of God; and that no person ought to, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any minister, contrary to the dictates of conscience, nor can any person be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account of religious sentiments, or peculia[r] mode of religious worship; and that no authority can, or ought to be vested in, or assumed by, any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner control the rights of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship. Nevertheless, every sect or denomination of christians ought to observe the sabbath or Lord's day, and keep up some sort of religious worship, which to them shall seem most agreeable to the revealed will of God."
46. Virginia 1776 Bill of Rights, Sec. 16 "That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other."
47. Washington 1889 "We, the people of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this constitution."
48. West Virginia 1872 "Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia, in and through the provisions of this Constitution, reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God and seek diligently to promote, preserve and perpetuate good government in the state of West Virginia for the common welfare, freedom and security of ourselves and our posterity."
49. Wisconsin 1848 "We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, form a more perfect government..."
50. Wyoming 1889 "We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political and religious liberties, and desiring to secure them to ourselves and perpetuate them to our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution."