Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama Treats Oath of Office like a Sacrament

Well didn't we learn in Sunday school that sacramentum in Latin means oath?

President Obama retakes the Oath of Office:

The do-over was aimed at dispelling any confusion that might arise from Tuesday's take -- in which "faithfully" was said out of sequence -- and erase any question that Obama is legally the president.

However, per the Constitution, Obama became president at noon Tuesday without taking the oath.

"We believe that the oath of office was administered effectively and that the president was sworn in appropriately yesterday," White House counsel Greg Craig said Wednesday in a written statement.

"But the oath appears in the Constitution itself. And out of an abundance of caution, because there was one word out of sequence, Chief Justice Roberts administered the oath a second time," the statement read.

full article, CNN

As a devotee of Sacramental Christianity, I find this whole exercise refreshing. They respected the words and spirit behind the oath of office enough to do it right; albeit on the second try. Aside from the obvious motive of avoiding litigation, the Obama Administration is showing that what's written in the Constitution regarding the proper transfer of power actually matters.

I don't think it's a stretch to connect this to our concept of Sacrament in the Orthodox Church. The Liturgy shouldn't be done sloppily nor are we free to rearrange or reword it solely for our convenience. Now, I won't go ahead and argue that a mistated word in the liturgy makes the Eucharist null and void, but I will say that just as Obama recognized that there was indeed something amiss, we too should be meticulous with things as they are handed down to us.

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