In 1869, the Cincinnati school board ended a forty-year tradition of Bible reading in the schools in an attempt to encourage Catholics to use them, thus provoking national controversy and a lawsuit brought by pro-Bible advocates. Scholars regularly cite the Ohio Supreme Court decision in favor of the school board as a landmark in the legal separation of church and state. This article interrogates the meaning of the secularization of law by examining expressions of juristic, pedagogic, and popular consciousness in the multiple levels and spaces where individuals raised and resolved constitutional questions on education. Dissenting Christian tradition shaped the legal brief of Stanley Matthews, the school board's lead attorney. Matthews' sacralized the religious liberty guarantee found in the Ohio Constitution within a post-millennialist framework. Ohio Chief Justice John Welch hybridized Christian dissenting tradition with deistic rationalism in <u>Board of Education v. Minor, et al</u>, thus appealing to as broad a constituency as had the right to elect justices to the Ohio Supreme Court. The limited, technical ruling allowed for a metropole/periphery divide in educational practice, so that Bible reading and prayer in Ohio public schools continued well into the 20th century. Far from a landmark in secularization of the law, the Bible War case demonstrates the persistent power of religion to frame law, including the law of religious liberty.