President Obama will take the oath of office later this month “on a stack of Bibles,” the
Washington Post tells us. He will place his left hand on Bibles owned by Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Well, that’s a relief. Interestingly, not included in the stack is the Koran, about which Mr. Obama spoke so glowingly in Egypt four years ago. (No Bibles openly displayed there.)
Now, swearing on a stack of Bibles ordinarily conveys seriousness of purpose and deeper commitment to carry through on the words you have just uttered. President Obama four years ago told us he thought the “signing statements” employed by his predecessor, George W. Bush, were not only improper, but they were unconstitutional. Coming from a constitutional law professor, who was sworn in on Lincoln’s Bible, those are serious words.
But that was then. Now, Mr. Obama has issued a signing statement of his own. He does not intend to be bound by the religious freedom provisions of the Defense Authorization Bill--which he just signed. The president’s view of religious freedom, like his view of true marriage, has “evolved” over the past four years.
When he took the oath four years ago, Mr. Obama pledged “to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States” and “to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” He echoed the words appended to the Oath by George Washington in 1789, and repeated by all forty-three of his predecessors: “So help me God.”
That Constitution requires the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Except the Defense of Marriage Act, which Mr. Obama signaled early that he did not like. Except, too, the Infant Born-Alive Protection Act, which his administration refuses to enforce against Nidal Hasan. Hasan is the accused murderer of thirteen Army servicemen and women at Fort Hood—and Francheska Velez’s unborn child.
Perhaps most disturbing of all Mr. Obama’s exceptions in the Oath was his administration’s issuance of the HHS Mandate that forces all but a few cloistered Americans to subsidize abortion-inducing drugs.