Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ohio's Governor Pinch-Hits On Invocation; Officials Choose Various Books For Oath

In an unusual twist on invocations at public ceremonies, yesterday at the formal inauguration of Ohio's new governor, Ted Strickland, the minister who was scheduled to deliver the invocation failed to show up. Governor Strickland, an ordained Methodist minister, filled the gap. He probably became the first public official anywhere to deliver-- unrehearsed-- an invocation at his own inaugural. No explanation appears to have been published for the failure of Portsmouth, Ohio's Rev. Evan Fisher-- a Strickland family friend-- to show up. (Akron Beacon Journal, Cincinnati Enquirer.) After that, Strickland was sworn in on a Bible printed in 1763 and used by Ohio's second governor in 1807 for his inaugural. Strickland's Lieutenant Governor, Lee Fisher, who is Jewish, was sworn in on a Bible owned by his wife, Peggy, and three copies of the Torah owned by other family members. (Columbus Dispatch).

Meanwhile other Ohio office holders mostly used a Bible to take their oaths of office. However, Jewish state Sen. David Goodman used a prayer book that belonged to his grandfather. Hindu state Rep. Jay Goyal followed the lead of all the other state House of Representatives members being sworn in and carried no book at all during the formal ceremony on the House floor. (Columbus Dispatch).