Biden’s victory speech gets biblical

Biden’s victory speech gets biblical

When US President-Elect Joe Biden declared victory in a speech on Sunday, 8 November, he evoked a number of familiar passages and sayings.

In a speech delivered in Delaware at a socially-distanced, drive-in rally, President-Elect Joe Biden claimed on Sunday 8 November, “a clear victory.”

“I sought this office to restore the soul of America,” he said.

While not a biblical passage, Mr Biden invoked, “the moral arc of the universe”, a saying first said by slavery abolitionist and Unitarian leader Theodore Parker and later made famous by Rev. Dr Martine Luther King Jr.

“Once again, America has bent the arc of the universe more towards justice,” he said.

With his speech regularly making appeals to national unity and the need to move on, at one point, the former Vice President adapted Ecclesiastes to the present moment in American politics.

“The Bible tells us, to everything there is a season. A time to build, a time to reap and a time to sow. And a time to heal. This is the time to heal in America,” he said.

Mr Biden is the second Catholic to be elected to the White House, with John F Kennedy’s first election in 1960 marking a significant change in US history.

In the United States, politicians are more likely to use religious language to tap into the cultural resonance of the avowed most populous Christian country. Australian academic Dr Marion Maddox outlines in her work how politicians Down Under are more reluctant to use such language in a nation where the number of people self-identifying as having ‘no religion’ is growing as a Census category. In her book, God Under Howard, Dr Maddox argues that this leads to politicians less likely to explain and defend the Christian credentials of their policies,

President Donald Trump is yet to concede the election, and has flagged a legal challenge over the result.

Inauguration Day takes place on 21 January 2021 (Australian time).

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