Up for Debate: Inaugural oath protocol

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 2:00am

On the finer points of presidential inaugural procedures, what do you think should and shouldn't be included when a president takes the oath — for instance, swearing on the Bible and saying "so help me God"?

Filed under: City Voices
Tagged: Up for Debate

101 Comments on this post:

By: Ask01 on 1/21/13 at 5:38

I believe the oath covers all the points pertinent to carrying out the duties of the president.

"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."

'So help me God' is not part of the actual oath although some oaths did have the words precribed. There is debate about whether George Washington used the phrase, and some historians cite Abraham Lincoln as the first Chief Executive to reliably have been reported to have added the phrase.

Likewise, use of a Bible is not required.Theodore Roosevelt, for example, did not, and John Quincy Adams used a book of law to represent the constitution.

I believe the purpose of the Bible or other book is to employ an object the oath taker holds sacred and dear to convey the seriousness of the event. 'So help me God,' as a personal prayer is appropriate if the person feels the need to add this.

All things considered, all this is mere formality to publicly and verbally express the intent to perform the duties one is undertaking faithfully and honestly to the best of ones ability. The oath of enlistment for the armed forces, for example, is a basic recitation of the contract one signs. So help me God, by the way, is part of the oath, although, I believe it may be omitted for reasons of conscience concerning swearing an oath in God's name, or a disbelief in the same.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/21/13 at 6:10

It is a ritual, like all rituals to show the masses that something great is being done. Just like is done in England or Russia. It make us feel good, which in itself is not a bad thing.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/21/13 at 6:18

By: Rasputin72 on 1/20/13 at 9:37
Diversity will ultimately bring the United States to its knees.

If diversity keeps coming, I will be in the minority and I will become a second class citizen. I will have to ride in the “Back of the Bus.´

By: Captain Nemo on 1/21/13 at 6:24

The country should be run as a monarchy and I would be its Emperor.

Raymond Collier the Great-

By: yogiman on 1/21/13 at 6:29

It would be good if the "man in office" followed the Constitution they swear they will follow. Regrettably, too many forget their oath when they finish it's last word.

By: yogiman on 1/21/13 at 6:40

A multimillion dollar show will be put on tonight although the oath was taken yesterday. We could use those millions in a debt paying obligation instead of entertainment.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/21/13 at 6:45

By: Rasputin72 on 1/20/13 at 4:39
Rat Nemovitz..........What has been up your ass

Not my head old boy. If you remove your head from your own, you might see what a bore you are.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/21/13 at 7:14

Austria has moved all of Lance Armstrong’s books to the Fiction Section.

By: Loner on 1/21/13 at 7:31

Good morning, Nashville.

President Lincoln added the phrase, "So help me God", to the oath...he then kissed the Bible....618,000 soldiers and sailors died under his stewardship of the office. The nation does not need more Christians like that sitting in the White House....Lincoln was capable of self-bullshitization on a grand scale....IMO, he screwed up...should have let the Southern bigots go their own way.

Obama used the "God" phrase to suck-up to the Evangelicals...of course, this will avail him nothing with that group of close-minded bigots, but he tried.

Obama increased the budget , power and scope of Junior Bush's pet project: The Faith-based Initiative. This is part of the reason why I did not vote for him in 2012.

Swearing an oath is actually forbidden by Scripture: "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation" (James 5:12, KJV Evangelicals conveniently forget passages like that one...they pick and choose the Scripture that fits their narrow agenda.

BHO is a political chameleon and he is certainly on the take to the special interests.....once Bibi Netanyahu secures his re-election this week, Obama will revert to playing the role of vassal to the Israeli Prime Minister.....or else.

Obama swore an oath and more Holy War is sure to follow.

By: Ask01 on 1/21/13 at 7:33

Good morning Captain Nemo.

You have hit the nail squarely on the head.

The entire spectacle, like the pomp and circumstance associated with all rituals from a high school graduation or wedding, to what is witnessed in religious ceremony around the world, is designed to impart a sense of the importance of what is transpiring and the high expectations which follow.

The entire process could be summed up with simply declaring, "Tag, you're it!" and having the winner sign a contract to perform the duties for whatever compensation is given these days. We could also save an enormous sum of money.

That would not, however, instill the desired sense of awe in the citizens in attendance, or impart a sense of responsibility in those taking the oath, I believe was intended by the originators.

The biggest downside is politicians becoming even more overawed with an unjustified, overinflated ego than before.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/13 at 7:35

There is no record of a Bible being used from the time of George Washington's second inauguration through to the inauguration of John Quincy Adams.

The only record of John Tyler's "swearing-in" is an affidavit where there's no mention of a Bible.

Some say Franklin Pierce affirmed his oath of office on a law book.

Theodore Roosevelt did not use a Bible at his first swearing-in ceremony.

Calvin Coolidge did not place his hand on the Bible, which was close-by, when sworn in by his father.

Rutherford B. Hayes, at his Sunday, March 3, 1877 private ceremony, did not use a Bible.

JFK did not place his hand on his family Duoay Bible, which rested on top of the podium.

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_Presidents_didn't_swear_in_on_the_Bible#ixzz2IcJKR4Du

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/13 at 7:36

Private donors pay for the inaugeral ball - not tax payers.

By: Loner on 1/21/13 at 7:39

Since the Bible that our Presidents use to swear upon contains the Old and New Testaments, one could argue that by swearing an oath on the Bible is tantamount to supporting Jewish ethnic cleansing, as the Old Testament is filled with passages that document the horrific war crimes committed by the ancient Hebrews.

If swearing an oath on the Koran is to condone murder, mayhem and hate, then that also holds true for the Bible.

Holy Wars and Holy Books go hand in hand.........Holy Wars Suck.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/13 at 7:40

Loner, I think they should be sworn in using a book of law. After all, according to the Treaty of Tripoli we are not a "Christian nation."

By: Ask01 on 1/21/13 at 7:42

Good morning Loner.

I believe George Washington was the first to kiss the Bible, a tradition which, if I remember correctly, carried on until President Eisenhower broke the chain. Just to display a little trivia.

You are correct, however, stating that no matter what, some will never accept Barack Obama as president. For that matter, some are still uncomfortable with African Americans going to school with Euro Americans, drinking from the same fountains, eating in the same rooms, and sitting in the front of the bus.

By: Loner on 1/21/13 at 7:45

Special interests pick up the tab for the massive balls, parades and associated inaugural extavaganzas....that's part of the "circus" in bread & circus governance. They'll be repaid many times over during the next 4 years....services rendered.... in exchange for the festivities and hoopla. These are not "gifts"...these are bribes.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/13 at 7:46

Indeed, that is true, Loner.

By: Loner on 1/21/13 at 7:47

I did not claim that Abe Lincoln was the first POTUS to kiss the Bible.

By: Loner on 1/21/13 at 7:51

BN, I agree, the Constitution of the USA, not the Hebrew Bible, is the bedrock foundation of this nation....IMO. the POTUS should swear the oath with one hand on the Original Constitution.....and no other document.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/21/13 at 8:01

Good morning Ask01

Good morning Blanket. The right-wing fringe never understands American history, but the lack of that knowledge does not stop them from making fools of themselves.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/13 at 8:02

Indeed, Nemo. The stupidity of the comments never ceases to amaze me.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/21/13 at 8:12

Blanket all we need is the pomposity of a mouse acting as a rat, the prayers of a hypocrite and the antics of the mini-me troll to make this a fun filled day.

By: budlight on 1/21/13 at 8:16

Loner, you stated your reasons for NOT voting for Obama in 2012. Those are the same reasons I didn't vote for him - EVER!

And if the 10 commandments were really taken seriously by those who hate the bible, then we'd have no crime or pain.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/13 at 8:17

If the 10 commandments were taken seriously by those who claim to be Christians the world would be a better place. Instead they are often used to just judge others - see above.

By: Rasputin72 on 1/21/13 at 8:17

The inference is that the phrase "So help me God" is becoming a relic. Diversity and the waning of the christan religion has put the phrase on the chopping block.

I would propose a cafeteria plan of phrases for the office holder.Let the office holder choose his "help"

Since the 47% were the mainstay of the Obama re-election,he might choose the phrase "So help me wasted ones"

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/13 at 8:18

If you want to live in a theocracy move to Iran.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/13 at 8:19

I'm a loser and a disappointment even to myself so I'll have a made up online persona to make me appear to be successful.

-- Ray Collier

By: govskeptic on 1/21/13 at 8:22

It's a day of pomp and fashion, military swagger, and the beauty of a huge number
of armored government limo's and such. The oath is just required whatever is
spoken and means nothing compared to actions. We've far larger problems to
solve than how and what is spoken at this ceremony.

By: bfra on 1/21/13 at 8:27

Blanket - Raspy's made up presonna has a big glitch. He doesn't have a good enough memory to carry it through. He contridicts his tales too much!

By: yogiman on 1/21/13 at 8:27

You're right, Ask01, I will not accept the "man in office" who refuses to identify himself to prove his eligibility. Is he in that office legally? I don't think so. How can an Indonesian citizen (even former Indonesian citizen) be eligible for that office?

And I can't understand how any reasonably intelligent person will so willingly accept someone as their president who refuses to identify themselves and they don't even know his official name or what nation he's a citizen of.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/21/13 at 8:27

I have nothing against rituals. They serve a purpose to humanity, by breaking up the mundane everyday life. The lights of Christmas for example come from early pagans rituals, to brighten up dreary winter days. The Presidential Inaugural proceedings are our way of celebrating a new leader or in this case the continuation of a leader.

By: Loner on 1/21/13 at 8:28

President Obama may be a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate...and he may swear oaths on a Hebrew Bible...and he can invoke the name of, "God" in his theatrics, but the sad truth is that BHO has signed off on hundreds of drone strikes that have killed scores of children and non-combatants...these murderous strikes are often based on faulty intelligence or disinformation and the US media do not follow-up on reports of civilian casualties, tragic mistakes and collateral damage from these state-sponsored assassinations.

Obama may have left a bloody handprint on the Holy Book?

BHO is living by the sword....and we know what the Bible says about that sort of thing.

Bibi Netanyahu is about to be re-elected Israeli Prime Minister with an even more war-like coalition....and they have an ambitious agenda.....and BHO may appear to stand in their way, and they are losing patience.....Biden doesn't want to know a thing.....LBJ style. This feels like 1963 all over again.

The Israelis hate Obama's guts. It will be miraculous, if he survives 4 more years as POTUS....I hope & pray that I am wrong on this.

By: Rasputin72 on 1/21/13 at 8:30

I remember the late great street philosopher Archibald Beauregard saying to Brannon Brishop.

"When you were born it was a sad day for mankind"

By: Captain Nemo on 1/21/13 at 8:30

By: Rasputin72 on 1/21/13 at 8:17
The inference is that the phrase "So help me God" is becoming a relic. Diversity and the waning of the christan religion has put the phrase on the chopping block.


I should be treated as a God.

By: slacker on 1/21/13 at 8:34

How about ''I'll never go hungry again''
-Scarlett O'hara

By: Loner on 1/21/13 at 8:35

I did not vote for Obama, because he is a reneger....and he goes along, to get along....I foolishly expected more from the guy, back in 2008...I voted for Gary Johnson, former NM Governor...he had some great ideas...of course, the EC makes a third choice inconsequential....we got "Democracy Lite" here, not the full-strength stuff....we couldn't handle the full-strength stuff......we have been dumbed down as a nation....fat dumb & happy, for the most part.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/21/13 at 8:40

No one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or scornful, than Rasputin who is anxious about his virility.

Simone de Beauvoir-

By: Loner on 1/21/13 at 8:40

Good morning, Slack....Lance Armstrong said the same thing in, "Gone With The Schwinn".....if I recall.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/13 at 8:43


By: Captain Nemo on 1/21/13 at 8:43

I don’t mind being called stupid if it means that I get the attention I deserve.

Ramón Collier-

By: yogiman on 1/21/13 at 8:44

It's funny, isn't it, Loner; you voted for Obama in 2008 to be the first black president of our nation. Why? Simply because of his race even though you know nothing about the man.

Yet you call me a racist for not voting for him because of my reason (which by the way, was, and is, his refusal to identify himself) but you didn't vote for him in 2012.

He's still the first black man in office, Loner. Did you make a mistake in 2008?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/13 at 8:44

I resent that I am a member of the 47% so I'll say scornful things about them and maybe someone will believe I'm superior.

-- Ray Collier

By: Loner on 1/21/13 at 8:44

In cycling, the leg-strong, not the arm-strong win races....the officials should have smelled a rat right there?

By: govskeptic on 1/21/13 at 8:46

"Gone with the Schwinn" , that's got to be trademarkable.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/13 at 8:46

Since I'm not bright enough to comprehend anything above a sixth grade reading level, I'll just make stuff up and pretend it's true or reference chain emails as a source.

-- Paul Wade

By: slacker on 1/21/13 at 8:48

Loner that's perfect.

By: Rasputin72 on 1/21/13 at 8:49

Humble though I be, I must admit that it takes very little to appear superior to the "Simple Six"

This it for today. Productive society calls!

By: Loner on 1/21/13 at 8:50

In 2008, the choice was clear...either Obama & Biden or McCain and Palin....Hope & Change versus Same Old Shit...with an added twist: An Alaskan Bimbo as VPOTUS....how could any reasonable person have voted for that ridiculous GOP ticket?

Obama won in 2008, by default?

By: slacker on 1/21/13 at 8:51

Lance said: ''I only have one ball.. to give to my country''

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/13 at 8:52

There must be a new woman serving food at the mission today.