God Bless this Mess

As I’m building the State of the City corpus, I can’t resist asking some micro-research questions along the way.

Today’s question is: How often do mayors invoke God in their State of the City speeches?

The answer is not that often, at least for the cities represented in the current corpus. The most common usage is in the form of idioms like “God bless” and “God forbid”.

Here’s the usage in context:


  • 2016: “Barring an infestation of killer bees, a zombie apocalypse or, God forbid, a recession that hits Austin hard, this year when I wake up each morning, Austin will be America’s favorite boomtown whether I go into work or not.”


  • 2017: “God bless you, and God bless the City of Columbus.”
  • 2016: “Thank you and God bless.”


  • 2017: “This is our time, this is our moment, this is our season. God please give us the wisdom and courage to seize it.”
  • 2016: “I hope and pray to the extent God has blessed you and your companies that you will extend that blessing to thousands of our youth.”
  • 2016: “Our eyes have not seen, our ears have not heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him. This is our City, let’s protect it.
 This is our City, let’s invest in it.
And, in the process, may God bless us all.”

Los Angeles

  • 2017: “God bless you … God bless the City of Los Angeles. Thank you all so very much!”
  • 2015: “I hope this earthquake will not happen during my time as Mayor, and God willing, not in our lifetimes at all.”

New York

  • 2016: “Neighborhoods that are great in their own right and together — TOGETHER — unite as a 21st century global capital of fairness, opportunity, and innovation. That is our work. That is our future. Thank you, God bless you all, and God bless the people of New York City.”
  • 2016: “Though he was struck in the head, thank God Police Officer Kenneth Healy came through, with the help of Officers Joseph Meeker, Taylor Kraft and Peter Rivera.”
  • 2015: “And, so – my fellow New Yorkers — let’s get to work. Now. Thank you very much. God bless you all.”


  • 2017: “Will we properly fund our education system so every child can live up to his or her God-given potential? Or will we continue to fall short year after year after year?”

San Antonio

  • 2015: “These successes are what make me so thankful that God guided me to this city, where I began my career in community development, started my family and have had the honor to serve as a member of the City Council and now as Mayor. Growing up I never imagined I would live in San Antonio. I was born and raised in Queens, New York and brought up in a modest household with parents who were committed to instilling in me an unwavering faith in God and a strong moral compass. “
  • 2015: “That is our task. That is our mission. To make San Antonio, our home, an even better place for all families, for all who dream big, as One San Antonio. Thank you and God bless San Antonio.”