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Obama Using MLK, Lincoln Bibles During Oath; Inaugural Pastor Withdraws Over Anti-Gay Remarks

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will take the oath of office for his second term with his hand placed on two Bibles -- one that belonged to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and one owned by Abraham Lincoln.

The selection of the pair of Bibles is symbolic of the struggle for racial equality in America -- from Lincoln's emancipation of slaves 150 years ago this month, through King's leadership of the civil rights movement, to Obama becoming the nation's first black president.

The inclusion of King's Bible is significant since the inauguration comes on Jan. 21, the federal holiday in honor of the civil rights leader, who delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech 50 years ago at the Lincoln Memorial.

The inaugural committee says Obama will use the first lady's family's Bible for a private swearing-in at the White House on Sunday, Jan. 20. That Bible belonged to Michelle Obama's grandmother, who was the first African-American manager of a Moody Bible Institute bookstore.

The pastor chosen to give the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration has withdrawn from the ceremony after critics publicized a sermon he made two decades ago condemning the gay rights movement.

The Rev. Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta said in a statement he withdrew because it was likely that his prayer would "be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration."

The presidential inaugural committee suggested if it had known about those comments, Giglio would not have been invited.


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