January 18th, 2013
12:03 PM ET

God is all over inauguration

By Lisa Desjardins, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @LisaDCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – With inaugurations, U.S. presidents come and go. But through all of them, including the ceremony this Monday, God alone has maintained a consistent role.

This includes the oath of office, the bibles most presidents use in swearing that oath, and starting with George Washington’s first inaugural address, the speeches of the presidents.

Don Ritchie is the US Senate historian:

[3:06] “every inaugural address, except for [Washington’s] second inaugural address, has [a reference to God or an almighty power.]”

At least two presidents have said their own prayers at inauguration (listen to our story to hear which ones), and for decades inaugurals have opened and closed with prayer.

Rev. Luis Leon, pastor of St. John’s Episcopal Church and minister who will be saying invocation at inauguration this year says,

[5:17] “I think when we’re asking a blessing for the country… I think we’re asking God to lift up what’s good in us. To remind us of what’s good in us."

Leon says he thinks inaugural prayers should touch on current issues, and to him, the thing on American’s minds right now is the desire for leaders and others to learn how to work together.

Listen to our story for thoughts on why inaugurations are woven with religion, a surprising note about the phrase “so help me God,” and a trip to the vault holding the Lincoln bible.

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Filed under: Faith • History • Politics • Soundwaves • Stories
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. dwerbil

    "God is all over inauguration"

    Get out the fire hoses!

    January 25, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alfons Scholing

    It would be nice to hear... something along the lines of: "and let all of mankind be witness" instead of a entity of which all religions have a different input about.

    January 20, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. GDC

    "God is all over inauguration" Lisa Desjardins, CNN YOU are IGNORANT, STUPID, ILLITERATE, ILLOGICAL, IRRATIONAL, DELUSIONAL, and SERIOUSLY MENTALLY SICK, PSYCHOTIC!!!!!!! YOU provided ONE (1) reference to the "almighty power" Which does NOT NECESSARILY MEAN "God" in George Washington's speech. Lisa Desjardins, YOU like ALL who believe in ANY GOD/s LIVE in a PSYCHOTIC DELUSIONAL World of YOUR OWN making but NOT based on REALITY!!! YOU NEED to get PSYCHIATRIC help, ANTI-PSYCHOTIC Medications and have ECT RIGHT AWAY!!!

    January 19, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      get BETTER not BITTEr

      January 22, 2013 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  4. Kenrick Benjamin

    and rightly so.

    January 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |