President Obama Invokes Scripture in Inaugural Address

January 20, 2009

Jan. 20, 2009 - Barack Obama took the oath of office this morning as the 44th President of the United States and declared himself "humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors."


"Every so often," he said, "the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms," and he acknowledged that at this time in history, "our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age .... Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet."


But while "the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time .... he asserted, "Know this, America: they will be met."


At such moments, he said, America has carried on "because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents."


He invoked Scripture in saying, "We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."


And he said that we know that "our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness":


"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace."