The 116th Congress is the most diverse on record. This became clear when a viral photo showed the more than one dozen “holy books” used to swear in new members of Congress this past week. The books included several versions of the Bible, but also a Muslim Quran, Buddhist Sutra, and Hindu Vera. Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, in a strange move, was not sworn in on any religious text but instead on the Constitution itself.
Of course, there is no religious test for public office in America, and simply taking an oath on the Bible (or any other book) has no magical powers. But ceremonies still mean something. Swearing the oath to office on a book is a visual way of saying, “I keep this oath to uphold the Constitution based on a deeper loyalty.”
This is why swearing the oath on the Constitution itself is ultimately circular. How can you swear to uphold the Constitution on the basis of the Constitution? That would mean there is nothing and no one beyond the Constitution, which is complete nonsense. The Constitution is and must always be secondary. It must be upheld, and amended as necessary, on the basis of God’s eternal law. That’s in the Bible, if you take the trouble to open it up.
God, we ask that you would bring about a sincere revival in our nation. We know that we cannot long prosper or survive if we ignore you and live in ways that dishonor you. So keep your church faithful to Christ as a witness in our generation. May we embody among ourselves the law of love and justice set out in the Scriptures, and may that reshape our nation’s culture and policies.
Dr. Robert Jeffress is a best-selling author of 25 books, a nationally and internationally syndicated TV and radio host and the senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, one of the largest and most influential churches in America. Pathway to Victory, Dr. Jeffress’ broadcast ministry, airs daily nationwide on more than 900 radio stations and is broadcast live to 195 countries. His latest book, Choosing the Extraordinary Life: God’s 7 Secrets for Success and Significance, is available in bookstores everywhere. He is an evangelical adviser to the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
*photo courtesy of Fox News