Since some of the words were flubbed a bit the first time around, Obama took the oath of office a second time. This time without a bible.
Which is as it should be, for two reasons:
- The Bible is not required by the constitution. In fact, it would be unconstitutional for Chief Justice Roberts to insist, or even suggest, that Obama use a Bible in the ceremony. That would imply a religious test for office, which is disallowed by Article VI, section 3.
- A Christian who believes in the Bible shouldn't swear on one.
The Bible, of course, is worse than useless when it comes to consistent advice on morality. But the New Testament (to avoid confusion, ignore the Old Testament on this one) is pretty clear about one thing: Christians shouldn't swear. Not to God and not on the Bible or on anything else.
Here's what Jesus (supposedly) said about it:
But I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by heaven for it is God's throne; Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Matthew 5:34-37
And the Book of James condemns swearing "above all things." I guess that would make it the worst possible sin.
But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. James 5:12
It always seemed strange to me to swear on a book that is filled with lies.
I'm glad Obama got it right the second time around (except for the "So help me God" bullshit).