While it is not a requirement for a president-elect to use a Bible for the innaugural swearing-in ceremony, the majority of US presidents have chosen to do so. The Bible (or, in many cases Bibles) chosen has symbolic and personal meaning to the future President. The Word of God is typically opened to a verse selected by the president-elect that is significant to him and is indicative of how he wishes to proceed in his presidency.
It has just been announced that Donald Trump will use two Bibles as he is sworn into office of President of the United States on Friday, January 20th, 2017. He will use the same Bible that President Abraham Lincoln used at his first inauguration, as well as Bible that Mr. Trump’s own mother gave to him when he was nine years old. Vice-president elect, Mike Pence will take his oath using the Reagan family Bible.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York will also play a role in Inauguration Day. “I am honored to have been asked to offer a reading from Scripture at the upcoming presidential inauguration, and look forward to asking Almighty God to inspire and guide our new president and to continue to bless our great nation,” Cardinal Dolan said in an email to Catholic News Service.
Regardless of how you feel about our nation’s leaders both past and present; we are called to pray for them. We pray that as Mr. Trump takes his presidential oath on the Word of God that he would be inspired and moved by the Holy Spirit to act with faith and justice in all circumstances.
|Lord God, Author of Life and Source of Eternal Life, move the hearts of all our public officials and especially our President, to fulfill their responsibilities worthily and well to all those entrusted to their care. Help them in their special leadership roles, to extend the mantle of protection to the most vulnerable, especially the defenseless unborn, whose lives are threatened with extermination by an indifferent society. Guide all public officials by your wisdom and grace to cease supporting any law that fails to protect the fundamental good that is human life itself, which is a gift from God and parents. You are the Protector and Defender of the lives of the innocent unborn. Change the hearts of those who compromise the call to protect and defend life. Bring our nation to the values that have made us a great nation, a society that upholds the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. Mary, the Mother of the living, help us to bear witness to the Gospel of Life with our lives and our laws, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.|
1.) Why do you think so many of our nation’s Presidents have chosen to be sworn into office using a Bible even though it is not a requirement?
2.) What does this tell us about the heart and intentions of our former Presidents? What does it also show about how scripture can be interpreted and misinterpreted?
3.) Why is it important to pray for our President and nation’s leaders, even when our opinions or beliefs differ from theirs?
4.) If you were President, what Bible verse would you choose to found your presidency on?
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