Taking An Oath of Office

The 2017 United States inauguration ceremony was attended by an estimated 900,000 people, the United States of America now officially has their 45th President.

Inauguration Day January 20, 2017. Image Source

Inauguration Day January 20, 2017. Image Source

Each country in the democratic world pretty much has their own oath for elected leaders taking office.  In Canada our elected prime Ministers would say “I, (name) do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear (or declare) that I will truly and faithfully, and to the best of my skill and knowledge, execute the powers and trust reposed in me as Prime Minister of Canada.  So help me God”.

Justin Trudeau takes the oath of office as he is sworn in as prime minister at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, November 4, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Justin Trudeau takes the oath of office as he is sworn in as prime minister at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, November 4, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

In the United States the oath is similar to Canada and has not changed since 1789 when their 1st President George Washington placed his hands on the Bible and spoke a solemn 35 words required by the Constitution.  The wording of the oath is found in Article 11, Section 1, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution.  The words for the United States of America reads as follows, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”.

Donald Trump swearing on 2 Bibles. The one president Linloln used the one gifted to him by his mother 50 years ago. Image Source

Donald Trump swearing on 2 Bibles. The one president Lincoln used, and the one gifted to him by his mother 52 years ago. Image Source

Placing the hands on the Bible is a tradition started by George Washington but no where in the Constitution does it say an incoming President has to do so. No where does it say the President has to be religious. In this CNN article it mentions there was a President who did not take an oath on the Bible, John Quincy Adams, the 6th President of the United States.  Adams reasons were very clear.  He was very religious but chose to place his hands on a book of US laws.  He realized how enormous it was to take an oath on the Bible because he “believed it was beneath the dignity of the office to make promises that might not be kept”

What Bible to use probably carries the biggest significance when taking an oath of office. Franklin D Roosevelt used his family’s Bible written in Dutch and printed in 1686. Barack Obama on his re-election inauguration (which fell on Martin Luther King Jr. Day)  chose a Bible that belonged to the civil right leader.

Donald Trump used two Bibles while taking his oath. One Bible was used by President Lincoln when he was sworn in 156 years ago.  The second one was gifted to him by his mother 52 years ago on June 12, 1955.  Donald Trump has a Presbyterian upbringing and the Bible was given to him upon his graduation from Sunday Church Primary School at First Presbyterian Church on Children’s Day.

Image Source

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Being President of the United States (or Prime Minister of Canada) is a HUGE responsibility.  Let us remember to do our part and pray for our leaders.

 

Bible given to Donald trump by his mother Image Source

Bible given to Donald trump by his mother Image Source

If we were to take an oath on a Bible for something major in our life would it change the way we did things?

If you were to be President of the United States (or whatever country you are from) what or whose Bible to would like to use?

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