I can’t resist an update to my last blog on the Bibles being used for the Inauguration of President Obama. First, two pictures of that moment with President Obama’s hand on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible:
(photo taken by Elise Amendola for the AP Pool)
(photo was taken by Chuck Kennedy; more photos of the Inauguration can be found through the Boston Globe’s The Big Picture–the page will take a few moments to load.)
Together, these two photos give a wonderful sense of the moment–Barack Obama’s hand on the Bible, his family with him all beaming with joy. Of course, what the pictures can’t show are the words being spoken. Words that, as we all know, were not exactly as they should have been and that had to be repeated, “out of an abundance of caution,” the following day. There’s a lot that could be said about oaths and speech act theory. § continue reading →
When Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, he will be using the same Bible that Abraham Lincoln used at his first inauguration in 1861. Much has been made of the symbolism of the moment, and of the many connections between the two men from Illinois, the one who freed the slaves and the one who will be our first African-American President.
The physical presence of Lincoln’s Bible is key to making that connection explicit. It’s not a physically imposing bible, as you can see from pictures. It’s easily held, bound in burgundy velvet with gilt edges.
What I find the most interesting about it is that although it holds a great deal of significance to us, it did not for Lincoln. Lincoln’s own family Bible was still en route to Washington with the rest of his belongings, so Supreme Court Clerk William Thomas Carroll purchased this Bible for the swearing-in ceremony. § continue reading →