Obama to swear-in on a stack of historic Bibles
President Obama takes the oath of office in 2009.
January 10th, 2013
02:58 PM ET

Obama to swear-in on a stack of historic Bibles

By Conor Finnegan, CNN

(CNN)-– What do the 16th president, a civil rights leader, and Michelle Obama's grandmother have in common? Their Bibles will be used in the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) made the announcement on Thursday that Obama will take the oath of office on the Robinson family Bible on Sunday and on the Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Bibles on Monday.

The 20th Amendment designated January 20 as Inauguration Day. But traditionally, when inauguration falls on a Sunday, the president takes the oath privately on January 20 and in a public ceremony on January 21.

"President Obama is honored to use these Bibles at the swearing-in ceremonies," said Steve Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this historic moment is a reflection of the extraordinary progress we've made as a nation."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Bible • Christianity • Politics

soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    The Jefferson bible would have been a better choice as TJ removed all of the supernatural mumbo jumbo from his bible to include the insane Book of Revelation.

    Other "better" choices, Hammurabi's Code, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and/or the New Torah for Modern Minds, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    January 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "the Egyptian Book of the Dead"

      Yeah..nothing of a religious nature in that *roll eyes*

      January 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Reality

      From the Egyptian Book of the Dead-

      "Hail to thee, great God, Lord of the Two Truths. I have come unto thee, my Lord, that thou mayest bring me to see thy beauty. I know thee, I know thy name, I know the names of the 42 Gods who are with thee in this broad hall of the Two Truths . . . Behold, I am come unto thee. I have brought thee truth; I have done away with sin for thee. I have not sinned against anyone. I have not mistreated people. I have not done evil instead of righteousness . . .

      I have not reviled the God.

      I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.
      I have not done what the God abominates . . .
      I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.
      I have not caused anyone's suffering . . .
      I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.
      I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.
      I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance.
      I have not taken milk from a child's mouth; I have not driven small cattle from their herbage...
      I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam against flowing water.
      I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .
      I have not kept cattle away from the God's property.
      I have not blocked the God at his processions."

      "The Book of the Dead was written circa 1800 BCE. 2 The Schofield Reference Bible estimates that the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt and the provision of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai occurred in 1491 BCE., some three centuries later. Many religious liberals, historians, and secularists have concluded that the Hebrew Scripture's Ten Commandments were based on this earlier docu-ment, rather than vice-versa."

      January 11, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Many religious liberals and historians disagree. Check and mate.

      January 14, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  2. Fred

    And, of course, all the atheist trolls come out and display their ignorance of all things Biblical...

    I'm just glad he's not swearing in on anything written by Charles Doofuswin.

    January 11, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Really??

      I'm an atheist, but have a great deal of knowledge of the bible. First thing I know about it is it was created by men, and has no words that god put into it. Men put god in the bible though, not the other way around.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • Fred

      To Really:
      As I said: their IGNORANCE of all things Biblical, and that includes YOU.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • NII

      Where was God before men put him inside the Bible?

      January 11, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Rick

      "Where was God before men put him inside the Bible?"

      Nowhere because men made it up with their imaginations, just like all the other gods.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Really??

      I am not ignorant of the bible, I just don't have those iron age blinders on like you. Put down your silly book, and join the rest of us in reality.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Really??

      God is the same place as always. In the delusional minds of those who believe in the BS

      January 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  3. It is Called

    It is called facts.

    Seperation of Church and State
    Courts have ruled can;t teach ID/creationism in public schools in US
    Nrw science standards (stem) created by 26 states for 2013
    Those are FACTS.

    January 11, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  4. Mohammad A Dar

    politicians, swearing on Bibles are as good as swearing on Bubbles, oath lasts only few seconds

    January 11, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  5. Sane Person

    After he swears in on the bible maybe he'll stone a few children to death, or sell his daughter as a slave. Maybe even sacrifice a goat or two. Good ol' biblical values.

    January 11, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      HAHA why not, he's already sold your children into salvery

      January 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  6. Origin of Life

    Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics
    Dec. 20, 2012 — A coherent pathway – which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells – has been traced for the first time in a major hypothesis paper in Cell this week.

    January 11, 2013 at 9:02 am |
  7. Economies and many key industrial processes are based

    Oil Gold Water

    OIL & GOLD around 200 million years after earth formed.

    Were Does All Earth's Gold Come From? NOT G-od
    Precious Metals the Result of Meteorite Bombardment, Rock Analysis Finds

    Sep. 9, 2011 — Ultra high precision analyses of some of the oldest rock samples on Earth by researchers at the University of Bristol provides clear evidence that the planet's accessible reserves of precious metals are the result of a bombardment of meteorites more than 200 million years after Earth was formed.

    Dr Willbold continued: "Our work shows that most of the precious metals on which our economies and many key industrial processes are based have been added to our planet by lucky coincidence when the Earth was hit by about 20 billion tonnes of asteroidal material."

    January 11, 2013 at 8:12 am |
  8. Osho


    January 11, 2013 at 6:45 am |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Osho or Ohso, like his dumb screen name, sounds cross-breed of stupid father and Republican mother

      January 11, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • Sam Yaza

      did watch the video but if Obama actually prays to Hanuma aka Wu-Kong aka King Enma then i would like the guy,..i don't

      January 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
  9. Bootyfunk

    instead of bibles, he should use the fairy tales grimm or maybe cat in the hat - both excellent choices that match up in imagination with the bible.

    January 11, 2013 at 5:22 am |
    • NClaw441

      Bootyfunk– Millions of people believe in God and the Bible. I understand that you do not, but what is the point of ridicule?

      January 11, 2013 at 8:26 am |
  10. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    I hope ('cause praying to mythical beings does nothing) that soon elected officials will swear on their country's const!tution rather than one or more books of silly, childish, unproven myths.

    January 11, 2013 at 2:11 am |

      he don't believe it either...

      January 11, 2013 at 5:33 am |
    • NClaw441

      Calling something mythical does not make it so. These are matters of faith, whether you believe or do not.

      January 11, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      And matters of faith are not necessarily, dare I say not usually, facts. Calling something a matter of faith does not move it out of myth status.

      January 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm |

    He is going to use many bibles but he doesn't believe a one of them.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • Dr. Zeus

      We can only how the insanity and hatred and narrow-mindedness of Christianity has not ruined a man of such power.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:24 am |

      Dr. Zeus

      "We can only how the insanity and hatred and narrow-mindedness of Christianity has not ruined a man of such power."

      What about the hatred, insanity, and narrow mindness of liberalism?

      January 11, 2013 at 5:25 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Well KRHODES, it's nice to know I can always come to YOU to judge what's in a person's heart.

      January 11, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • myweightinwords

      May I ask how you know what he believes in his heart?

      I believe him when he says he is a Christian, because I can not know his heart, only hear his words and see his actions. I have thus far seen nothing to make me doubt his words.

      January 11, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • lol??

      Dr. Zeus, better check your frontal lobes after that horrendous birthing experience with Athena. Somebody else moved in to fill that vacuum. BTW, that's where the mark of the beast resides, in yo forehead.

      January 13, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  12. John Stefanyszyn

    ...strange...President Obama will place his hand on the bible (which clearly identifies,through Only Christ, the Creator God as being the One and Only God) while making the oath to uphold the belief and way of life which confesses that it is right to be free to worship any god.

    It is clear that he will be praying to the god that believes it is right to be free to take of the tree of knowledge of good and evil for one's self intetest "rights".


    January 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "John Stefanyszyn", but "God", "Christ", the "Creator God", and the "One and Only God" are all elements of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      January 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Observer

      President Obama may be using a stack of Bible to hopefully find the correct one since they all are different.

      January 10, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Dr. Zeus

      Another crazy Christian blinded by his delusions.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      he should swear on green eggs and ham!

      January 11, 2013 at 5:23 am |
    • NClaw441

      hal 9001– What you are stating is YOUR belief, no more or less provable than those who believe in God.

      January 11, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • motorfirebox

      Christ never advocates forcing other people to conform to your beliefs.

      January 11, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Larry Hannah

      @NClaw441 The atheist rejection of the god claim may not be any more provable than the your beliefs (which we don't bear the burden of proof anyway) but we are not coming up with crazy assertions and wild stories to explain things that we just don't know now or didn't know in the past. If most christians were as humble as many say they are or teach that is what jesus teaches..they would just say I don't know. Most atheists would rather see logic, reason, and scientific method applied when finding what is true and not true.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Larry Hannah

      Oh and a lot of atheists I know are at least that humble to say I don't know.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  13. Sam Yaza

    i don't what the bible in my government because that bible says repeatedly to kill people like me, then people like me get discouraged from participating in government.

    what I'm referring to is.

    Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your God and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NLT)

    I'm a sun worshiper

    why vote if the Legislative, the Judiciary and the Electorate all follow that book

    January 10, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Where in Israel are you Sam?

      January 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Israel means the kingdom of Zion(the one thousand year kingdom) its any were under Yahweh's rule

      January 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  14. PaulB

    I'd rather that presidents swear upon an original copy of the Consti_tution, because that's what this country was established under and it's what we expect our leaders to believe in, right?

    January 10, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • End Religion

      I'd swear on a stack of Calvin & Hobbes cartoons if I had the chance.

      January 10, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
  15. Swearing on a bible....

    ensures nothing..... its a book...nothing more. Its not even good mythology. Though I have to say, when i see somebody swear on a bible – it does tell me that that person will without a doubt lie, in court, in church, oath of office...to achieve whatever ends they are after.

    January 10, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      No, it is a book of hindu Mithraism, racist savior ism, founding fathers rejected to follow truth absolute GOD to give good new's of human equality.

      January 10, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
  16. Kim

    Jefferson's cut and paste Bible wouldn't be one of them, I suppose?

    January 10, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Tinky Winky

      May as well be a teletubbies coloring book for all the good it will do.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
  17. CarolinaSistah

    I wonder if the President has read these words in the Bible?

    "Nu 30:2 If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth."

    January 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Kim

      Has any politician ever read that passage? Honestly, politicians not fulfilling their campaign promises is pretty much a cliché, isn't it?

      January 10, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • Yeah

      I wonder if dingbats ever realize that the Oath of Office is not swearing to god but to the nation. Oath has no reference to god at all.

      January 10, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "CarolinaSistah", but "the LORD" is an element of mythology, therefore your assertion is unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      January 10, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  18. Science

    Stephen Hawking: 'There is no heaven' – Under God – The ...
    by Elizabeth Tenety – in 624 Google+ circles – More by Elizabeth Tenety
    May 16, 2011 – There is no heaven... that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark,” Hawking told the Guardian.

    Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg suggests that in fact this is not much of a God at all. Weinberg notes that traditionally the word "God" has meant "an interested personality". But that is not what Hawking and Lederman mean. Their "god", he says, is really just "an abstract principle of order and harmony", a set of mathematical equations. Weinberg questions then why they use the word "god" at all. He makes the rather profound point that "if language is to be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of words, and 'god' historically has not meant the laws of nature." The question of just what is "God" has taxed theologians for thousands of years; what Weinberg reminds us is to be wary of glib definitions.

    January 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
  19. Mohammad A Dar


    Sir if your oath is not uttered with the deepest conviction, it doesn't matter you use a stack of Bibles, or a stack of Harry Potter books

    January 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
  20. And The Pips

    A stack of bibles? Does fiction become truer when you stack it higher.

    No matter how high you stack bullsh!t, it is still bullsh!t.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • End Religion

      There is a little truth in the bible. It mentions figs and camels. We know those exist. By stacking bibles he's obviously hoping to combine that little bit of truth into a larger amount so he doesn't laugh when he uses it for his pledge.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • And The Pips

      I never quite understood how Jesus "Miracles" Christ could know things like "there is an unridden pony in the next town" but he didn't know there were not figs on the fig tree, and why he then got mad at a fig tree and killed it. The whole object lessen it is supposed to be never quite makes the whole "got mad at a tree" thing plausible.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • End Religion

      Killing trees is standard hero storyline stuff. Born of a virgin, feels he's an outsider, goes on a journey, discovers gift that sets him apart, kills a tree, saves the world. Standard stuff really. Look at George Washington.

      January 10, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
1 2 3 4
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.