Lincoln’s Bible

LINCOLN’S BIBLE…. The Politico reported recently that Barack Obama faces a possible “backlash” for his “ostentatious embrace of all things Lincoln.” It looks like the president-elect doesn’t much care.

On January 20th, President-elect Barack Obama will take the oath of office using the same Bible upon which President Lincoln was sworn in at his first inauguration. The Bible is currently part of the collections of the Library of Congress. Though there is no constitutional requirement for the use of a Bible during the swearing-in, Presidents have traditionally used Bibles for the ceremony, choosing a volume with personal or historical significance. President-elect Obama will be the first President sworn in using the Lincoln Bible since its initial use in 1861.

“President-elect Obama is deeply honored that the Library of Congress has made the Lincoln Bible available for use during his swearing-in,” said Presidential Inaugural Committee Executive Director Emmett Beliveau. “The President-elect is committed to holding an Inauguration that celebrates America’s unity, and the use of this historic Bible will provide a powerful connection to our common past and common heritage.”

I suspect Obama’s choice of Bibles will draw complaints from his more aggressive detractors — Sean Wilentz, I’m looking in your direction — but presidents routinely use historical items as part of their inaugurations. In Reagan’s second inaugural, the Bible was placed on a marble-topped table that was built for Lincoln’s second inaugural. Jimmy Carter used a lectern that had been used at Washington’s inauguration.

Regardless, it’s a nice symbolic gesture for Obama.

Post Script: Time for a scavenger hunt — which will be the first prominent right-wing blog to express surprise that Obama isn’t using a Koran?