Swearing on the Bible

At CNN.com Dean Obeidallah contends the “swearing” by the President ought to be over the Constitution, not the Bible.

Why do you think the President swears on the Bible? Do you think he (or should it be a she) should?

(CNN) — U.S. presidents should not be sworn into office with their hand on a Bible.

At Monday’s inauguration of his second term, President Barack Obama will raise his right hand and place his left on not one, but two Bibles: One owned by Abraham Lincoln and the other by Martin Luther King Jr.

The Constitution requires he give this oath of office: “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.”…

The Constitution does not require that the president take the oath of office by swearing on a Bible. That would have been a very simple requirement for the constitutional drafters to include. To the contrary, the Founders wanted to ensure that Americans of any faith — or no faith — could hold federal office.

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