Following a tradition established by America’s first president, George Washington, the Bible will play a central role in Friday’s inaugural festivities, with both president-elect Donald Trump and vice-president elect Mike Pence taking their oaths of office on the revered holy book.
Trump will reportedly use two Bibles: the Abraham Lincoln Bible as well as a copy of the book that has belonged to him for more than 60 years, while Pence plans to use Ronald Reagan’s Bible to take his oath on a very specific Bible verse.
The Lincoln Bible is well-known and was used by President Barack Obama for both of his inaugurations; it was famously used by Lincoln during his own inauguration back in 1861.
The Trump Bible is less known, though the businessman-turned-politician has repeatedly presented and referred to the copy on the campaign trail. According to CBN News, he was given the Bible by his mother, Mary Anne, in 1955 when he graduated Sunday Church Primary School at the tender age of 8.
You might recall Trump showing a copy of the Bible in a Jan. 2016 campaign video posted to his Facebook page:
“My mother gave me this Bible, this very Bible many years ago,” he said of the book, according to the Tennessean. “In fact, it’s her writing, right here. She wrote the name and my address, and it’s just very special to me.”
He said later in the clip, “I want to thank the evangelicals. I will never let you down.”
Pence, too, has been capturing attention for his decision to choose a specific Bible verse when he’s sworn in on Friday. He will use the Reagan family Bible that Reagan used when he was sworn in as both a California governor and as U.S. president, Charisma News reported.
But Pence won’t simply be placing his hand on the holy book; he will specifically be taking the oath on 2 Chronicles 7:14, which reads, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Pence said it will be “humbling” to use the very Bible Reagan used as he joins Trump in officially taking the oath. This is reportedly the same verse Reagan used when he was inaugurated.
“President Ronald Reagan placed his faith in a loving God and the goodness of our country,” Pence said, according to Charisma. “He set out to change a nation and in doing so, he changed the world. In the march of history, Ronald Reagan’s time in office was limited, but his legacy inspired a generation and will continue beyond.”
It isn’t a requirement for U.S. presidents to take their oaths of office on a copy of the Bible, though most have. Like various other elements of the presidency, the practice was something Washington set as precedent.
As Faithwire previously reported, Washington also added the words “so help me God” to his oath of office — words that continue to be uttered by U.S. presidents on inauguration day.
“Washington kissed a Bible on which he had just taken the oath and then he led his entire Congress to a worship service at his own Anglican church at the time,” author John Bona recently told Faithwire of Washington’s acts after his own inauguration.
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