Biden’s Bible puts him in line with inaugural tradition

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FILE – In this Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden, left, places his hand on the Biden family Bible held by his wife, Jill Biden, center, as he takes the oath of office from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, right, during an official ceremony at the Naval Observatory in Washington. While many presidents have used Bibles for their inaugurations, the Constitution does not require the use of a specific text and specifies only the wording of president’s oath. That wording also doesn’t include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically resonant Bibles for their inaugurations. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning.

Their choices wrote new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law.

Biden was sworn in using a Bible that has been in his family since 1893 and was used during his swearing-in as vice president in 2009 and 2013. The 5-inch thick Bible, which could be seen on a table next to Biden’s chair on the dais, has a Celtic cross on its cover and was also used each time he was sworn-in as a U.S. senator.

While the Constitution doesn’t require the use of a specific text, most presidents have used family Bibles, and many have chosen specific verses with meaning for them.

Members of Congress also have chosen texts that reflect their personal faiths for their ceremonial oaths

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