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Word origins have always fascinated me, and on occasion I stop and smile when I hear someone say, “Goodbye,” because that common word started out as “God be with ye” in the 1500s. So, even those who deny God’s existence refer to him all the time.

But it goes further than just that parting expression. One can scarcely be a speaker of English and not run across countless religious references that are used by believers and non-believers alike.

It finds its way into our lexicon in these ways and many more:

            Heaven help us

            Heaven sent

            For heaven’s sake

            Stinks to high heaven

            Marriage made in heaven

            Move heaven and earth

The name of God is unfortunately taken in vain, but it also pops up in these common expressions:

            God rest his soul

            God’s country

            God bless you

            God forbid

            God only knows

            There but for the grace of God go I

            Thank God for small blessings

            God’s green earth

            With God on our side

            God’s gift to mankind

            God-given right

            By the grace of God

            As God is my witness

            God willing

            God helps those who help themselves

            God speed

And many more, including “Cross my heart and hope to die,” “Divine intervention,” and a favorite of the insurance industry, “Acts of God.”

All of these phrases remind us of our history, our collective belief in a Heavenly Father, faith in his power, and hope for his blessings.

Today we see many who want to strip our government buildings, our schools, our songs, our pledge of Allegiance, our swearing in of court witnesses, our money, and our communities of every possible reference to God. It’s as if they’ve never studied the founders of the United States or read our founding documents. They think “separation of church and state” means complete annihilation of “church.”

But guess what? As long as our language lives and breathes, God will be sprinkled throughout our vocabulary,  piped into our cars at Christmas (“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and more), and sung about in public patriotic hymns, as we hear on the Fourth of July. References to God pop up in music, movies, and on television. From the tiniest child to the most elderly citizen, these phrases will, or have, become part of our collective culture. Yep, God is here to stay. Cross my heart and hope to die.

Hilton’s LDS novel, Golden, is available in paperback and on Kindle.  All her books and YouTubeMom videos can be found on her website.  She currently serves as an Interfaith Specialist for Public Affairs.