Saturday, March 28, 2015

Do You Swear?

Is Corbett's taking the oath of office William Penn's bible dangerous?

Do You Swear?

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: We might have a problem here.

BE: What now?

JB: Corbett's using William Penn's personal Bible to be sworn in as governor today outside the Capitol.

BE: You think Penn will mind?

JB: No, no. This Bible's 313 years old, a precious rare book, preserved as part of the collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, always kept in a protective archival box.

BE: And?

JB: Think it through. The icy rain. Corbett's paw on it. Can't be good.

BE: His aides don't carry umbrellas?

JB: There's more. I contacted the inaugural folks and asked if the bible stays in the box and Corbett only touches the box, is that really swearing on a Bible or just swearing on a wooden box?

BE: Good question.

JB: Right, he could be a faux-guv who swore his allegience to walnut. And, on the other hand (get it, the other hand?), if the Bible comes out of the box, how does it survive the elements and Corbett's paw?

BE: Get any answers?

JB: Inaugural press secretaty Kirsten Page tells me the Bible "will not be in the box" when it's on stage with Corbett and his wife, Susan, who gets to hold it. Page says, "If it's not raining," the Bible gets handed to Susan Corbett and then handed back after the oath.

BE: That should keep Billy Penn happy.

JB: But what if it IS raining? What then? Risk ruining a centuries-old treasure? Or keep it under wraps and risk an invalid, Godless, non-biblical swearing-in?

BE: You might be making too much of this.

JB: That's what the spawns of satan are saying. GRRR!

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
Also on
Stay Connected