President-elect Joe Biden plans to use a family heirloom Bible when he takes the oath of office on January 20th.
The ancient Bible, said to measure five inches thick and has a Celtic cross on its cover, has been with the Biden family since 1893. President-elect Biden has used the huge Bible for all his swearing-in ceremonies since he became a US senator in 1973 and twice as vice president to President Barack Obama, reports Business Insider. It was also used by his late son, Beau, when he was sworn in as attorney general of Delaware in 2006.
“It’s just been a family heirloom on the Biden side of the family, and every important date is in there,” Biden said in an interview with Stephen Colbert. “For example, every time I’ve been sworn in for anything, the date has been on that and is inscribed on the Bible.”
The nation’s second Catholic president, Biden keeps a rosary in his pocket, the one that belonged to Beau, and regularly attends Mass, especially on historic occasions such as during Election Day in November. He usually quotes Bible verses in his speeches and his faith will be a major influence on how he leads the country.
It’s just been a family heirloom on the Biden side of the family, and every important date is in there. —President-elect Joe Biden
In his book, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics, Biden wrote: “I’m as much a cultural Catholic as I am a theological Catholic. My idea of self, of family, of community, of the wider world comes straight from my religion. It’s not so much the Bible, the beatitudes, the Ten Commandments, the sacraments, or the prayers I learned. It’s the culture.”
Biden disclosed that each and every person should be treated with equal rights and dignity, “because we are all beloved children of God.” He added that, “These are the principles that will shape all that I do, and my faith will continue to serve as my anchor, as it has my entire life.”
Senator Chris Coons (D-Del) admired Biden’s faith and said, it was not “a prop or political tool.” He pointed out that, “Joe’s faith is really about our future, about a world with less suffering and more justice, where we’re better stewards of creation, where we have a more just immigration policy and where we call out and confront the original sins of this nation, the sins of slavery and racism.”
Anthea Butler, professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, noted Biden’s language and choice of words in speaking engagements. “I think he wants to set a tone that is not simply conciliatory but that is faith-based.”
Meantime, Biden’s vice president, Kamala Harris, identifies as a Baptist, and was raised on Hinduism and Christianity. She is married to a Jewish man.
Butler said, “This speaks to the ways in which religion is fluid in America, and the ways in which people are holding things together in interfaith marriages and interfaith families.”