President To Take Oath of Office on MLK and Lincoln Bibles But WHY?

First of all I don’t understand why he needs two bibles…but then on the other hand I don’t understand why we are using bibles at all…the President and every elected and appointed official who has to take an oath of office should be using a copy of the US Constitution…it is after all the document that they are actually swearing to uphold.

One of my resolutions this year will be to provide the Library of Congress and the White House with a formal nicely bound copy of the US Constitution for future use!


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8 thoughts on “President To Take Oath of Office on MLK and Lincoln Bibles But WHY?

  1. From Wikipedia on the use of bibles: Theodore Roosevelt did not use a Bible when taking the oath in 1901. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, and Richard Nixon (also a Quaker) swore the oath on two Bibles. John Quincy Adams swore on a book of law, with the intention that he was swearing on the constitution.[8] Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in on a Roman Catholic missal on Air Force One. Washington kissed the Bible afterwards,[9] and subsequent presidents followed suit, up to and including Harry Truman,[10] but Dwight D. Eisenhower broke that tradition by saying his own prayer instead of kissing the Bible.

  2. Apparently the symbolism is lost on you. Harkening back to Lincoln and MLK ties it in with the current President. Sure it’s only a focus on race and maybe was more relevant four years ago, but this time there’s a Lincoln movie out and the oath will be given publicly on the MLK birthday holiday. And if you think about it, without those 2 figures (and of course many, many others) it wouldn’t be possible to even have POTUS BHO.

    1. The symbolism of the bible selection isn’t lost on me…but the apparent disjointof using a religious book for a government oath of office has been lost on you.

      1. Do they still use Bibles to swear people in on the witness stand in court?

        I get your point Ed but can you imagine the hysteria if BHO broke ranks with that tradition?

  3. I wonder what you think of the practice of not holding the Inauguration ceremony if it falls on a Sunday. After all, the reasoning isn’t because it would conflict with football games.

    Interesting side note on TR swearing in in 1901 — no Bible by choice or because it was done in haste as the result of McKinley’s assassination? I haven’t found anything that says one way or another. However, he also omitted the “So help me God” at the end, he instead concluded with, “And thus I swear.”

    1. Although it was quite conveniently symbolic that today happens to be MLK Jr’s observed birthday…I don’t think the President could have changed the tradition to move the inauguration to Monday. Even President Reagan and President Eisenhower held January 21st inaugurations. But I don’t see any reason that it couldn’t have been held yesterday.

      And I haven’t seen a reason that President Theodore Roosevelt didn’t use a bible in 1901 either.

      But I do find it interesting that most presidents who used a bible used a bible opened to what I assume was a significant verse for them:

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