There is always talk about separation of church and state, the presence of faith in public places and other complex matters. But one thing is for sure. The U.S. Constitution does not mention God or the divine.
This does not hold true across America, however. God — or the divine — is mentioned at least once in each of the 50 state constitutions and nearly 200 times overall, according to a meticulous new Pew Research Center analysis.
With a dozen references to God in their constitution, the state of Massachusetts has the most references to the Creator, followed by North Carolina with 10, Vermont nine, Maryland with eight, Maine and Texas with seven each, and a large group which have a half dozen references to God in their Constitutions.
They are Rhode Island, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Delaware and Mississippi. A half dozen states only have a single reference to the divine.
Pew analyst Aleksandra Sandstrom winnowed out the creative specifics of the language. Overall all, there are 116 mentions of God.
“There are also 14 mentions of a Supreme or Sovereign Being, seven mentions of the ‘Creator,’ three mentions of ‘providence,’ four mentions of ‘divine’ and 46 instances of the word ‘almighty,’” Ms. Sandstrom writes. “While there are 32 mentions of the word ‘Lord,’ all but one refer to ‘the year of our Lord’ and so are not direct references to God. Indeed, the U.S. Constitution also makes reference to ‘the year of our Lord.’ There also are seven mentions of the word ‘Christian.’”
She also noted that a “handful” of state constitutions prohibit those who do not believe in God from holding public office.
“However, these bans have not recently been enforced because it is generally assumed that they violate the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on requiring religious tests for those holding public office,” Ms. Sandstrom said.
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