(By Aleksandra Sandstrom, Pew Research). The U.S. Constitution never explicitly mentions God or the divine, but the same cannot be said of the nation’s state constitutions. In fact, God or the divine is mentioned at least once in each of the 50 state constitutions and nearly 200 times overall, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.
All but four state constitutions – those in Colorado, Iowa, Hawaii and Washington – use the word “God” at least once. The constitutions in Colorado, Iowa and Washington refer to a “Supreme Being” or “Supreme Ruler of the Universe,” while Hawaii’s constitution makes reference to the divine only in its preamble, which states that the people of Hawaii are “grateful for Divine Guidance.”
Most state constitutions – 34 – refer to God more than once. Of the 116 times the word appears in state constitutions, eight are in the Massachusetts constitution, and New Hampshire and Vermont have six references each. Perhaps surprisingly, all three of these states are among the least religious in the country, according to a 2016 Pew Research Center analysis.
In addition to the 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.” 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.”
A simple word search done on the PCUSA’s Book Of Order will likely reveal the term “Jesus Christ” appears, and I am taking a wild guess here, more than once. The term “freedom of conscious” does appear no less than 5 times, even in the post nFOG version. So what does that guarantee you? In practicality not all that much really. The ECOs and EPCs or even the PCAs of the world did not depart said PCUSA not because they wrote great documents, or even reference Jesus not often enough. They left precisely because the institution took it upon itself to ignore its own constitution and confessions and in essence say, we can interpret any language we want too without regard to its original or intended meaning. Hence our words, any guarantees as a matter of policy is null and void, because we say it is. God, the divine, a Judaeo-Christian deity can be referenced in any document, in the post-modern sense of history it accounts for nothing.
You see the same energy in the “tear down” mob-hysteria of the Left now. They live in the “now”, where “now” is all that matters. And they get to define it. They wish and desire a public space or square purged, made pure for their now take on history and culture. Any God reference in any state document, gone in the same snap of a finger. Today it is the statue of some dead Civil War general, tomorrow the Cross or the Flag. Or whatever the mob wants to do. Again, legal guarantees, written or otherwise mean nothing. If I was the PCUSA I would keep an eye on the Witherspoon statue out on Walnut Street in Philly, you never know where they will turn next.