President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn-in as the next President of the United States in few hours. The ceremony that is being clouded by the recent Capitol Hall riots will become a witness of his Christian roots. Reports suggest that Biden will be using the massive family heirloom Bible from 1893 for his January 20 inauguration.
Biden will be the second Catholic President of the United States after President John F. Kennedy. Majority of US presidents have been protestants, while four were Nontrinitarians. Now after Kennedy, Biden will be the second Catholic president. It is notable that all presidents of USA have been Christians.
Bible comes from his father’s side
The Bible has been in his family since 1893 from his father’s side. He has used the same Bible for all his seven swearing-in ceremonies, including as a US senator and twice as the Vice President of the US during then-President Barack Obama’s tenure. His late son, Beau, as attorney general of Delaware, also used it.
As per the report in Today, The Bible is approx 5-inch thick and has a Celtic cross on the cover. While talking to late-night host Stephen Colbert about the Bible, Biden said last month, “It’s just been a family heirloom on the Biden side of the family, and every important date is in there. For example, every time I’ve been sworn in for anything, the date has been on that and is inscribed on the Bible.”
Biden delayed his ceremony in 2009 to find the Bible
When Biden was sworn-in as a Senator in 2009, he could not find the Bible. As a result, the ceremony was delayed. At that time, after seeing the massive book in Biden’s hand, then-Vice President Dick Cheney had said, “Joe, it’s a big Bible. Just don’t hit him with it.”
George Washington started the trend
On April 30, 1789, George Washington took oath as the first President of the United States, and he used a Bible borrowed from St. John’s Lodge No. 1, the oldest Masonic lodge in New York. Many successors, including George H. W. Bush, Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Jimmy Carter, used the same Bible. George W. Bush wanted to use it too in 2001 but could not because of its fragile nature. He then decided to use his family Bible.
Abraham Lincoln used the Lincoln Bible stored at the Library of Congress at his first swear-in ceremony in 1861. President Obama and President Trump used the same Bible for their swear-in ceremonies. Notably, during the second swear-in ceremony in 2013, Obama used a bible that belonged to Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.
Several Presidents, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, had opted for family Bibles. Interestingly, John Quincy Adams and Theodore Roosevelt did not use Bible for the ceremonies. While Adams was sworn-in using a law book, Roosevelt had to complete his sworn-in ceremony at a friend’s house as President McKinley had died.