Inauguration oath shouldn't involve Bibles

  • Article by: A. JAMES RUDIN , Religion News Service
  • Updated: January 20, 2013 - 12:31 PM

It is not the Bible or other religious books, but rather the oath written into the Constitution that is necessary and sufficient for our leaders.

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twincitizen1Jan. 20, 1312:39 PM

Well said. Non-religious and unaffiliated types like myself now make up 20 percent of the country and growing. It is high time we walk the talk of 'separation of church and state'. Many do not know this, but "under god" wasn't added to The Pledge of Allegiance until the 1950s! Can you believe that?

holmanJan. 20, 13 2:11 PM

Well, when one of you gets elected president, you can be sworn in on a Crate & Barrel catalog or whatever you want. Meanwhile, try not to let the beliefs of others make you feel bad about your own. Unless the president personally choosing to be sworn-in on a Bible is somehow impinging on your right to be unaffiliated, I don't think your argument has much traction.

jdlellis1Jan. 20, 13 2:32 PM

Kind of amazing that people continue to attempt to totally isolate religion with the founding and founding principles of the United States. So many documents, letters and the Federalist Papers reference religion. How can people be so blind to the obvious baffles me.

summerguy3Jan. 20, 13 2:56 PM

Mr. Rudin: You write: "If public officials feel the need to seek divine guidance, here is a modest proposal: They can always visit a house of worship, read from a sacred text of their choosing, and pray for wisdom, patience, and understanding." I disagree strongly with your comment. It shows no wisdom of having lived life's experiences. I worked as a state employee responsible for decisions involving millions of dollars. I found the bible and its contents to be a source of strength. How can you, sir, take the title of a religious expert and stand opposed to your master's word?

ranger78Jan. 20, 13 3:23 PM

The author completely misses the point. The oath isn't the Constitution. That's the requirement. To defend the Constitution. The oath is your solemn vow to perform your duty. Historically, people have sworn by God as a higher power to be helped and/or held accountable to fulfill your vow. If you don't like people swearing by God, don't listen. It's a personal choice.

hobie2Jan. 20, 13 3:30 PM

Curious - since there are 14 major bible versions, and several editions of each version - and not two have exactly the same words or even verse contents - which one do they use?... It has to be some kind of symbolic gesture rather than real, because if I believe in the St James version or the Great Bible version, and they put the American or International version under my hand which I might find not a true Bible (really), I can just go - "doesn't count, not a true Bible"... (yes, censors, oh keepers of truth who are about to push the snarky button - there is not just one "Bible" in wide use, just there are at least three of lists of differing Ten Commandments - Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant basic - and more variations by religion. So it goes to the point of the article)

bewitchedJan. 20, 13 3:49 PM

I believe I get what the author is saying, but I think he is missing the point. The point is that the person taking the oath is placing his/her hand on something they consider sacred, or something THEY consider to be a building block of who they are. If it was a Law book, or a Koran, or an Archie comic strip, the point is they are taking their oath on something they deem worthy.

braxozJan. 20, 13 4:03 PM

It's harmless pandering to a superstitious portion of the public who would be upset if it wasn't done.

absent_carloJan. 20, 13 4:15 PM

Just cut all the BS and swear on the constitution itself. Swearing an oath on a bible has as much relevance as swearing an oath on a DVD of Battlestar Galactica.

owatonnabillJan. 20, 13 4:20 PM

Odd that this is even brought up...Obama, as well as all the other Presidents, may be influenced by tradition but are not bound to any protocol other than the swearing of the oath. Barack Obama as often and publically professed his strong Christian faith and he commitment to living and acting according to what he obviously perceives as Christian values. Owatonnabill would find it curious had Mr. Obama chosen NOT to be sworn upon the Book in which he so strongly believes.


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