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Freemasonry Watch

Lincoln's Bible, not Freemasons, to be used for Obama inaugural swearing-in ceremony

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Los Angelas Daily News

Lincoln's Bible to be used for swearing-in ceremony


Wire Services

WASHINGTON - President-elect Barack Obama will use the same Bible at his inauguration that Abraham Lincoln used for his swearing in. Obama will be the first president since Lincoln to use that Bible, part of the collection of the Library of Congress.

The burgundy velvet-bound volume known as the Lincoln Bible was purchased in 1861 by then-Supreme Court Clerk William Thomas Carroll for use in Abraham Lincoln's inauguration because the president-elect's family Bible was packed away and en route from Illinois to Washington.

There is no constitutional requirement that a Bible be used at presidential inaugurations. George Washington began the tradition at the first inauguration in 1789, using what was known as the Masonic Bible. The passage read was Genesis 49:13, chosen, according to the Architect of the Capitol, because the Bible was "opened at random due to haste."

Over the years, presidents have chosen family Bibles and famous Bibles for use at the ceremony. In 1989, the first President Bush used Washington's Masonic Bible.

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