August 26th, 2007
01:45 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama invokes Bible in NOLA

Obama attends church service in New Orleans.

(CNN) - Speaking to Sunday church congregants in New Orleans, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama invoked Jesus' Sermon on the Mount days before the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

"Getting ready to talk to you today, I recall what Jesus said at the end of the Sermon on the Mount," Obama said at New Orleans' First Emmanuel Baptist Church. "He said, whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock."

"The rains descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. But it did not fall, because it was founded on the rock," he continued.

That rock, he said, was a principal of brotherhood exemplified by the church during Hurricane Katrina - but not the federal government.

"Something was wrong in America. Our foundation wasn't built on the rock," he said.

Obama blasted local, state and federal response to the storm, and touched upon ingredients necessary for the city's rebuilding, namely more employment opportunities for residents to rebuild, community-based law enforcement to tackle the city's crime epidemic, and improved health care.

President George Bush and several presidential candidates plan to visit New Orleans this week to commemorate the hurricane's anniversary.

Obama spent Saturday in Miami, where he brushed aside criticisms of running his campaign on the intangible platform of hope, calling himself a "hope monger," and proposed easing travel restriction with Cuba.

– CNN Political Desk Editor Mark Norman


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. Steven, South Orange, NJ

    Hey Van your a poet, did you know it?!

    Tim I just have to say since everyone has corrected you so far and you are probably a Hillary fan or a republican... you're an idiot who we shouldn't even take the time to explain Obama's record to.

    August 26, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  2. Ryan Cass, Denver, CO

    Obama's experience in the Illinois State senate is worthless. The world is far too dangerous for a naive amateur like Obama. By contrast, Hillary has eight years as co-President of the US. No one in this race has more experience.

    August 26, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. Britannica

    Whether or not we accept the literal interpretation of the Scriptures will be the only thing that matters in the end.

    You have the right to choose what you believe, but when the end for you is here and you would it be better for you to find that what you believed in was correct or wrong?

    Wouldn't it be better to believe and find in the end that you have made the right decision, than to not believe and find in the end that you were wrong. Because once you're gone there is no coming back.

    About the Scripture and it's interpretation, one thing is true, the Word has many applications. We cannot limit the Scriptures. We know that all of it was not revealed at once and the depth of it is still being unveiled.

    August 26, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  4. David, Salinas, CA

    It’s ironic to read the same false rumors about Barack Obama being a Muslim under a story in which he’s quoting the Sermon on the Mount in a Christian church. For the record, Senator Obama, his wife Michelle, and his daughters Malia and Sasha are all members of the Trinity United Church of Christ.

    You can find out more about Senator Obama on his web site:

    http://www.barackobama.com/index.php

    August 26, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  5. Tim H, Madison Wisconsin

    obama is too biased/sarcastic/chauvenistic/complaceny/dogmatic/nagger/easily agited/eccentric/hot-tempered/stubborn/phony/selfish and greddy-thats my reading about him-hes an ox year born-this is a phsychic lady commneting his real triats- eside america is not ready for black american like him-besides ehs muslim
    guy. its hard for him to convince 5oth state all over america to accept him as black muslim pres, BARACK HUSSIEN OBAMA.POLE WAS INFANTUATED BY HIM NOT ANYMORE THEY FINALLY WAKIGN UP.HE AHS TO GO BACK TO THESENATE AND HAVE EXPERIENCE.THANKS FOR READING YM COMMNET-UR PHYCHIC LADY

    August 26, 2007 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  6. Tim H, Madison Wisconsin

    obama is too biased/sarcastic/chauvenistic/complaceny/dogmatic/nagger/easily agited/eccentric/hot-tempered/stubborn/phony/selfish and greddy-thats my reading about him-hes an ox year born-this is a phsychic lady commneting his real triats- eside america is not ready for black american like him-besides ehs muslim
    guy. its hard for him to convince 5oth state all over america to accept him as black muslim pres, BARACK HUSSIEN OBAMA.POLE WAS INFANTUATED BY HIM NOT ANYMORE THEY FINALLY WAKIGN UP.HE AHS TO GO BACK TO THESENATE AND HAVE EXPERIENCE.THANKS FOR READING YM COMMNET-UR PHYCHIC LADY

    What a joke. Barack Obama is NOT a Muslim. He is a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ. Your "psychic" (or is it "phychic"?) reading of him is not based on facts. It is not based on research. This is a joke. You are a joke.

    August 26, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. Lioness

    Scott Smith, shame on you for asking if a poor person every gave anyone a job.

    Actually, the poor are consumers too. They help business too. They are parents too.

    Are you suggesting that they deserve no consideration? Maybe you need to attend a poor "boot camp." I am sure you will see the world differently.

    Having no compassion or care for others, many of whom contribute greatly to society, smacks of psychopathic thinking – hardly a "family value."

    August 26, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. danni wilmington, nc.

    I agree w/ "Jeff Spangler" and anyone else who calls for common sense when it comes to N.O.

    When NO was founded, it was back in a century in which they didn't have technical knowledge, didn't know that towns cannot survive forever if they are built BELOW SEA LEVEL. Katrina was a rare occurance, but COULD HAPPEN AGAIN. What're we gonna do? Bail them out over and over again?

    Im sorry, but New Orleans is an antiquated idea that CANNOT survive. It's from a time that is dead. From a people that were not as smart as we are now.

    August 26, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  9. andy - overland park, ks

    it is a shame that he is misinterpreting the scripture. he should know as a "self-proclaimed" Christian that scripture should not be misinterpreted.
    also – can a republican get equal time in this church? my guess is no. the african-american churches seem to dangerously straddle the line of the seperation of church and state.

    August 26, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  10. Robert, Linden, VA

    "Something was wrong in America. Our foundation wasn't built on the rock," he said.

    The problem is that America WAS built on the rock. Only now liberals are chipping away at it and taking religion out in every public arena they can.

    August 26, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  11. Joseph, Houston, Texas

    If a Republican spoke in any church as Mr. Obama, let me tell you . .the press would wet themselves just getting the story out . . .separation of church and state . . .yea, only for Republicans.

    Katrina . . the city and state have been given billions of dollars . . .the problem is there is not a literate around to be creative in the entire bunch . . .but, they whine like a small child . . .constantly and the press and you, CNN. love that kind of mess.

    Oh, well, I know you will not print this, but it was nice to vent.

    August 26, 2007 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  12. Cary, Lowell, IN

    Why should we be afraid Mitt Romney would impose his religion on anyone or let his religion influence his decisions as potential President, when Barack Obama is going around pointing up his Christianity? Where are all the Christian bashers NOW?

    August 26, 2007 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  13. ann, new mexico

    This is incredibly hypocritical of the liberal Democrats who post on the cnn blogs.

    When it's to your advantage, and when you want to discredit conservative candidates, you call for separation of church and state. When conservative candidates DARE to evoke God in a speech, you call for separation of church and state; but when Barack Obama quotes the Bible and does a CAMPAIGN STOP in a church, it's perfectly OK with you.

    August 26, 2007 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  14. Erin Heinz, Virginia

    Jesus was referring to building a spiritual foundation ... it was a parable, not a construction guide for building housing. I pray Barak has built his spiritual house on the rock of Jesus Christ.

    August 26, 2007 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  15. Ed, Bridgewater, NJ

    What we have here is political pandering, plain and simple. I can't wait to see who panderers to a church next week. Will it be Hillary? Or Edwards? I guess time will tell.
    Just remember one important thing Mr. Obama: God says He will not be mocked. Take it for what it worth.

    August 26, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  16. Erik, Philadelphia, PA

    Applying that parable to FEMA's incompetency is not "invoking the Bible," it's bastardizing the Bible.

    August 26, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  17. mauricio in Ely Nv

    Pity the fools who believe that there is a difference between the Republicans andthe Democrats. Put the koolaid down kiddies. Your losing your country, your Constitution and your sanity. Quit thinking your government is going to fix things. Ask this: do ANY in this sloppy heard of lying candidates have a solution to our impending fiscal suicide?

    August 26, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  18. Lee Cary

    If this was a Republican candidate CNN and the other mainstream media outlets would be ridiculing this event as pandering to the religious right.

    August 26, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  19. Bradford, Atlanta GA

    Douglass Babb, you know not what you speak of. What are your credentials? Mine are a BS., MDIV., and a PHD. You are ignorant of the truth, Doug.

    August 26, 2007 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  20. S. Bell

    Yes Jesus said to build your foundation upon the and the rock is God almighty not the goverment. So the church is the best place to build your foundation, don't you think.

    August 26, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  21. Digger, Miami Florida

    Hey, Scott Smith,
    "When was the last time a poor person gave someone a job." Well, plenty of ordinary Mom & Pop people like me give other people jobs, until a Walmart wipes us out. Maybe we'd have a lot more good jobs if so many of us weren't being peonized by international corporations.

    August 26, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  22. Ed, Bridgewater, NJ

    And another thing. Aren't there IRS statutes that say a church can lose it's 501c(3) tax status if they allow campaigning or electioneering on church property? After all, the church leadership here must approve of Obama and his message if they allowed him to speak today. Would they allow Guiliani or Thompson the same latitude in speaking. After all, democrats are pushing for the return of the Fairness doctrine in the media, so why should there not be the same kind of laws when it comes to a non-profit organization participating in political campaigns?

    August 26, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  23. Linda - Albany, NY

    To Robert, Linden, VA:

    *Whose* religion are you referring to exactly? Last I checked, Americans are made up of a wide variety of religions and beliefs, which is exactly why there should be a separation of church and state.

    Being an American also includes acceptance of the Constitution, but it seems a lot of people have forgotten that "little" part.

    So, again I ask, whose religion are you referring to?

    August 26, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  24. Larry Webb, Fort Worth, TX

    See what happens when you don't wait for the government handouts.
    "The Vietnamese have done a good job of rebuilding their community because they are self-reliant, according to the Louisiana Weekly. About 12,000 Vietnamese lived in New Orleans.

    Their rebuilding efforts were led by Father Vien Nguyen of Queen Mary of Vietnam Church, who negotiated with the city not to cut their water and electricity. He and the community organized a petition drive to show that the community was sincere in returning and rebuilding. And they did."

    August 26, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  25. bob dallas tx

    U CROCK OBAMA!!!

    August 26, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
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