Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Obama To Take Oath on
Abe Lincoln's Bible

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Barack Obama will take the oath as US president on the same Bible used to swear in president Abraham Lincoln, the committee planning his inauguration said in a statement Tuesday.

The presidential inaugural committee said the Lincoln Bible would be borrowed from the collections at the Library of Congress.

"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 in a statement.

With Obama's swearing-in on January 20, the historic Bible with its gilded edges and burgundy velvet binding will see its first use during a presidential inauguration since 1861 when Lincoln, the 16th US president, was sworn in.

"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," Beliveau said.

Lincoln, from the state of Illinois which Obama represented in the US Congress, presided over the country's biggest domestic crisis, the American Civil War, and ended slavery, but he was killed by an assassin's bullet in 1865.

There is no constitutional requirement that a Bible be used during inaugurations, but US presidents traditionally have used Bibles for their swearing-in ceremonies.