Barack Hussein Obama is reported to create history during his inauguration on January 21, 2013. He is going to take oath not on one Bible but a pair of Bibles – and the oath will neither be administered by a priest nor by the chief justice of the Supreme Court which is a time-honored tradition. Obama has selected a Bible owned by Rev. Martin Luther King and the other owned by former US President Abraham Lincoln’s Bible. The oath will be administered by Myrlie Evers-Williams, wife of Medgar Evers – an Afro-American human rights activist who was murdered by a White supremacist named Byron De La Beckwith in 1963. Obama chose her after Pastor Louie Giglio withdrew his name after accused of being anti-gay. He is an old-fashioned evangelical pastor at Passion City Church in Atlanta.
Myrlie Evers-Williams will be the first-ever woman and non-clergy member to deliver president’s inaugural invocation.
It seems, the selection of the pair of Bibles is Obama’s symbolic gesture of goodwill toward his Afro-American community for whom he did almost nothing during his first term. Rev. Jesse Jackson sums up the ‘progress’ of Afro-Americans during president Barack Obama first term, this way: “In 1963 we’re un-free; today we are unequal“.
January 21 reminds the Afro-American community the day when late Martin Luther said: “I have a dream“. He was one of those leaders who wanted to raise the living standard of his fellow Blacks without rocking the boat. He wanted to play the role of American Gandhi. The later fought for the rights of 200 million untouchable Hindus (Dalit) but failed and met a terrible death at the hands of a Hindu belonging to an upper-caste. Luther, too, failed and met a terrible death at the hands of his own people.
President Abraham Lincoln’s (1809-1865) emancipation of the slaves was also symbolic as he himself kept his slaves. He was praised by Jewish elites who played a major role in African slave trade. Rabbi Isaac M. Wise in his eulogy for Abraham Lincoln had said: “The lamented Abraham Lincoln believed himself to be bone from our bone and flesh from our flesh. He supposed himself to be a descendant of Hebrew parentage. He said so in my presence“.