Here is the oath of office that President Obama took on inauguration day, January 20th, 2009. Read the history, see the photos and video, and read the controversy being generated by some fringe elements of society.
Update: The speech on January 20th is here. The oath of office video is below in which Obama and Chief Justice Roberts flub the lines.
There was silly speculation by Clinton operatives during the primaries that Obama might place his hand on the Koran or eliminate religious symbolism entirely from the ceremony. Obama travels everywhere with a lucky Hindu icon in his pocket, so that will undoubtedly be present in a hidden way. And Obama may recite a familiar Islamic prayer from his youth that comforts him in the silence of his mind.
But for public consumption and his adoptive religion, Obama will follow the usual presidential oath of office which is to place his hand on a Christian Holy Bible and swear to God Himself that he will faithfully execute the office of the presidency. Obama has elected to use the Lincoln bible from the Library of Congress collection, the same one used by Abraham Lincoln on March 4, 1861.
Constitutionally, Article II, Section 1, Clause 8 declares only that Barack Obama must affirm the following:
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 the constitution prescribes a specific oath the new president must take which is a minimum requisite. All presidents say (or affirm) the minimum, but all have embellished it in ways by adding “so help me God” at the end and most have included their name in the beginning, such as,
“I, Barack Hussien Obama, do solemly swear 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.”
Obama’s oath has been challenged by atheist Michael Newdow, who claims the religious embellishments are unconstitutional. He will loose the lawsuit like he has lost previous ones.
The early presidents simply affirmed what was read to them, by merely saying “I do, so help me God.” Later presidents began repeating the oath that was read to them.
Barack Obama will be using his middle name Hussein in the oath by choice. Despite his team’s insistence that he is following tradition, there is no tradition that a middle name be included. Jimmy Carter did not use his middle name and neither did Ronald Reagan.
The constitution does not require a bible either but almost all have used one, or even two. LBJ used JFK’s Catholic Missal.
The Obama swearing-in ceremony will be conducted by Chief Justice John Roberts as is customary. Again, no requirement that a chief justice or anyone particular administer Obama’s oath. Johnson was sworn in on Air Force One by a U.S. District Court Judge.
Meanwhile, the opportunist Obama staffers are encouraging the public to submit videos of themselves taking the oath of office so that Obama can presumably incorporate ideas. Based on his past such contests, these are devices used to increase Obama’s mailing list for (incessant) fundraising purposes.
See more photos of the oath of office ceremony below. Obama’s oath will look quite familiar.
Obama Oath of Office (Video)
(Obama swearing-in, January 20th 2009)