When Maryland Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller swore the oath of office on Wednesday, she placed her left hand on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu text — likely the first lieutenant governor to do so.
The eight modern lieutenant governors who preceded Miller were all Christian or Jewish, according to their official state biographies.
“I grew up in an interfaith home, where both Hinduism and Christianity was practiced,” Miller told reporters Wednesday evening ahead of the inaugural gala.
Miller’s father practiced Hinduism and her mother was raised Hindu but later went to Catholic school and considered becoming a nun. (“Good thing that didn’t happen,” Miller joked.)
“Hinduism is not just a religion, I think it’s more of a culture,” Miller said. “We are seekers of peace and making sure that good things happen in the world and to others as well.”
Miller said using the Bhagavad Gita for the oath of office was meaningful as both a cultural symbol and a sign of spirituality.
Gov. Wes Moore, meanwhile, placed his hand on two Christian Bibles: one that once belonged to Marylander and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and the other belonging to his late grandfather, a minister.