Bible story: Doubts raised over a Texas inaugural tradition

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Belief that 199-year-old Texas Bible was Sam Houston’s no longer taken as gospel.

George W Bush called it Sam Houston’s bible. And on Tuesday, the Texas governor-elect, Greg Abbott, is set to preserve one of the oldest inaugural traditions in the US when he lays his hand on the historic tome to take the oath of office.

Caretakers of the brittle, brown 199-year-old holy book long known as the Sam Houston Bible – a would-be link to the former president of an independent Texas cherished by both Republicans and Democrats – have evidence that suggests the book may have never belonged to the state’s equivalent of George Washington. In Texas, the oath almost exclusively involves Sam Houston, the titan of Texas history who led the fight for independence from Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto.

He is so idolised by Perry that last year the governor was baptised in the small creek where Houston, who struggled with alcohol, once went to be born again. They have filled a thin manila folder with old newspaper clippings that dispute decades of Texas tales about a thieving janitor who tore Houston’s signature from the Bible during a game of dominoes in the court basement. “You would think that if he [Houston] had given the Bible to the court, and journalists are writing stories about it in the late 1800s, they would have mentioned that,” said the Texas supreme court clerk, Blake Hawthorne, the Bible’s custodian.

Houston’s connection to the book is fuzzier, and a big clue is long gone: the Bible’s flyleaf reads “Supreme Court of the Republic of Texas” but the bottom half is torn away.

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