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What Bible Did Harris Use for the Inauguration?

Harris Placed Her Hand on Two Bibles When Sworn in as Vice President

Kamala Harris was sworn in as the 49th vice president on January 20, 2021.
Kamala Harris was sworn in as the 49th vice president on January 20, 2021. (Photo: videograb)

Kamala Harris chose to place her hand on two special bibles for her swearing in as the 49th vice president of the United States during the inauguration ceremony.

“When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need: Justice Thurgood Marshall and Mrs. Shelton,” Harris tweeted January 19, the day before the inauguration ceremony.

As Harris reveals in her tweet, one of the bibles she used belonged to Regina Shelton, a neighbor who looked out for Harris and her sister. Shelton was “like a second mother to Harris and her sister Maya,” according to ABC News.

In addition to attending services at a Hindu temple, Harris, 59, frequently attended a Church of God congregation with her neighbor Shelton as a youth.

“On Sundays, my mother would dress my sister, Maya, and me in our Sunday best and send us off to the 23rd Avenue Church of God in Oakland, California, where Maya and I sang in the children’s choir,” Harris told the Religion News Service. “That’s where I formed some of my earliest memories of the Bible’s teachings. It’s where I learned that ‘faith’ is a verb and that we must live it, and show it, in action.”

The vice president identifies as a Baptist and reportedly considers Third Baptist Church of San Francisco as her home church. Her husband, second gentleman Douglas Emhoff, is Jewish.

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Second Bible Belongs to Civil Rights Icon

As for the second Bible used during her inauguration, Harris requested to use one belonging to the late civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall, whom she has called a hero. Harris and Marshall also share Howard University as their alma mater. Marshall was the first Black Supreme Court justice and served on the High Court from 1967 until 1991.

Making history with her own firsts, Harris is the nation’s first woman vice president and the first of Black and South Asian descent. The former senator, daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, also requested to be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor is the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

Claim: Harris Used a Purse, Didn’t Place Her Hand on a Bible

A strange claim circulating on the internet alleges that Kamala Harris didn’t place her hand on a Bible when she was sworn, but instead placed her hand on a purse.

As Reuters reports in its fact check of the claim, a cropped photo has been used to make the false assertion that Harris didn’t use a Bible. Those wrongly taken in by the cropped photo have cited it to suggest that Harris is an illegitimate Vice President.

“The confusion may have stemmed from the zipper visible on one of the two bibles used by Harris during the ceremony, which had a black leather case,” according to Reuters.


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    Written by FM Editors

    Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.