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. Michael Doran Saginaw, Michigan

    What gets to me is why are the people of New Orleans still sitting around two years later still whining about the government. They need to learn how to help themselves and stop sucking the government teat.

    August 27, 2007 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  2. BMM in FL

    This is priceless...

    Obama went from church Sunday morning in New Orleans to a Miami nightclub that afternoon, which featured "Sunday Striptease".

    August 27, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Kate Zimmermann Bakersfield, CA

    Amazing how its OK for Obama to talk at a church and rail against the administration, talk of change, etc – but let a Republican try to "use" the pulpit to get to the faithful on issues like abortion and the Dems lose their minds! Hypocrites!

    August 27, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. ZedsDead, Manhattan, NY

    So, after 400 years, Baby Doc Obama has declared America's "...foundation wasn't built on the rock" What an idiot.

    August 27, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Harry, Suffolk, VA

    Don't know how John Edwards made it into this conversation but I find his hypocrisy stunning. He's invested significantly in a company that is foreclosing on Katrina victims and confiscating their homes. If he's so compassionate, why isn't he just forgiving the loans and donating more of his own money to help them rebuild? As for Obama, I wonder if this political presentation inside and addressed to a church has done anything to jeopardize their tax free status?

    August 27, 2007 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. Al, Washington DC

    So Lance, are you going to vote for him because he can make a free throw? I bet I can hit a 3 without warming up, will you now vote for me? A lay-up is actually easier and worth more than a free throw, how about that? Get a clue, people. As correct as he is for including the state and local govts along with the federal, he still denies to have the people of New Orleans take responsibility for their share of the disaster.

    August 27, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. James Lindley, Fairview Heights, IL

    So even though it's illegal for churches to come out in support of a Republican (or lose their tax exemption), it's OK for a democrat to speak in a church and throw in some politicking. The same standard has to apply both ways.

    August 27, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Craig, Las Vegas, NV

    isn't it the democrats screaming separation of church and state, yet they slime their way into every black church they can find. Democrats represent everything that is opposite of what a real church stands for. To them, religion to them is another way to push politics.
    Heaven help a Republican if they were even caught in a church... as usual, liberal hypocrisy.

    August 27, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Jim, Pueblo, CO

    Linda what is truely frightning is that people like you vote.

    August 27, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Richard Regan, Slidell, LA

    I assume this church will retain its tax-exempt status and continue to hold political meetings. After all they only invite Democratic Lefties.

    No problem for the IRS.

    August 27, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. Steven, South Orange, NJ

    Ok there are way too many Republican idiots who don't know what they are talking about posting on this article. First off Barack Obama's father did not take him overseas because he only met his father once before his father died. Secondly it was his mother and step-father who took him to Indonesia where he studied at a good public school. Not a madrassa. Also he has been a member of the United Church of Christ for over 20 years now. HES NOT MUSLIM.

    August 27, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Martha, Atlanta Georgia

    Another politician begging for votes at a church.
    Another politician using the ignorance of his audience for political gain.
    Another politician who simply READS a speech that someone else wrote.
    If you like a politician for the speeches he/she delivers, then you need help. Look at their voting history and the laws passed. That's a "record". Once you see their record, then you can decide in a more rational way whether or not you will support them (both dems and reps alike). No politician should be immune from this standard.

    August 27, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Wade Sumrall, New Orleans, LA

    In response to Rick Moore's post calling New Orleanians "dumb" for building below sea level: If our coastline wasn't eroding daily and our swampland drained for shipping, we would have a natural defence against hurricanes. The real disaster is that we have allowed our environment to be ravaged for the sake of shipping goods to ungrateful Americans such as yourself. If you think we are all so dumb, sell us back to France. Please, sell us back to France.

    August 27, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Andy, Cleveland, Ohio

    Half of Ohio is under water now, people are being pulled off their roofs now, worst flooding in Ohio ever, now, where is Obama?

    August 27, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Bob Denver, Seattle, WA

    Quick Liberals...RUN....your savior Obama is sounding like a....dare I say it.....AN EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN.....RUN FOR YOUR LIVES....you hypocrits...

    August 27, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. Tracie, Smyrna, TN

    Funny, I was thinking the Sermon on the Mount had more to do with Christian Discipleship than it is about building a bond of brotherhood to construct a government that will take the will out of man to work for himself to put a life together, instead, leaving him sitting on the roadside, or in his government housing waiting for the government to ring his door bell and drop off this month's food supply and welfare check.

    August 27, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. T

    I'm quite sure the Sermon on the Mount is about Christian Discipleship rather than forming a bond of brothers with a goal to creat a government that instead of empowering a people to make lives for themselves, actually rips the will from man to make a life and leaves in it's place a man on the roadside or in his government housing waiting for his monthly food supply and welfare check.

    August 27, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Dan, Bloomington, IN

    Let's be theologically honest, that comment was heresy and self-serving.

    August 27, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. John Star Idaho

    Jesus was not speaking about Katrina; He was speaking about his Word being the rock you can build on as the only way to survive the certain coming judgment from the Father.

    August 27, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. Daryle- OKC, OK

    Funny thing. A Dem candidate can make Biblical (incorrect) statements in church speaking the name of Jesus and all, but if a GOP does the same its automatic "church-state separation" violation. WHY IS THAT??????
    Also, if liberal left-leaning church leaders do the same its OK. But if a conservative evangelical church leader does it, its wrong and automatic "church-state separation" violation! WHY IS THAT!?

    August 27, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Pete, NY, NY

    OBAMA THIS, OBAMA THAT...WHAT EVER HAPPEN TO THE CONTRIBUTION OF OBAMA'S WHITE MOTHER AND HIS INDONESIAN STEPFATHER WHO HELP HIM IN HIS EARLY DAYS, WHEN HIS BLACK FATHER LEFT HIM...WHAT AN INSINCERE HUMAN BEING...OBAMA IS...SELLING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AS AN ALL 100% BLACK AND ALSO REMEMBER AMERICA IS NOT AN ALL CHRISTIAN COUNTRY EITHER....LIKE ALL MEN IN HISTORY OBAMA IS STILL HUMAN...DOING ANYTHING TO GAIN POWER...BY THE WAY HIS SPEECH AT THE DNC STINKS AND BEING A SMOOTH TALKER IS NOT WHAT MAKES A TRUE LEADER AND A PRESIDENT EITHER...THE OBAMA BLUES WILL SOON LOOSE ITS LIGHT AND THE TRUE LIKE OF OBAMA WILL BE A BIG...BIG...DISAPPOINTMENT....AMERICANS OF ALL RACE AND COLOR...IS THIS THE MAN YOU WANT AS PRESIDENT WHO DON'T EVEN REMEMBER THIS WHITE MOTHER AND HIS INDONESIAN STEPFATHER, WHEN HIS BLACK FATHER IS NO WHERE TO BE FOUND...WAKE UP OBAMA...STOP SELLING BS TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC...IF YOU READ THIS MR. OBAMA, PLEASE CORRECT IF I WRONG FOR I WILL APOLOGIZE AND WOULDN'T DARE TO SAY ANYTHING STUPID TO A GOOD AND SINCERE MAN, IF THERE IS ANY TRUTH IN WHAT I JUST SAID...PLEASE COME FORTH AND BE TRUTHFUL. THESE ON THESE...ENJOY!!!

    August 27, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Matthew P, Toledo Ohio

    Umm... I may be mistaken, but isn't it a violation of the IRS tax-exempt status provisions for a church to have a political candidate directly address their congregation? Tax-exempt organizations such as churches cannot expressly or implicitly endorse a particular candidate.

    August 27, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. G Sims Atlanta Georgia

    How does brak Hussen Obamma getby with speaking in a supposedly christian church. He hasn't got a clue or a chance

    August 27, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Brent, Durham, NC

    I get so sick of Democrats always invoking the Word of the Lord while supporting political positions on moral issues that are an abomination to God. They twist the Words of God for their political gain and somehow decieve themselves into thinking that appearing in liberal churches will gain them any ground with conservative Bible-believing Christians. And they always make sure to pose for the token photo ops shaking hands with a preacher or having the congregation pray for / bless them. If he ever showed his face in the kind of churches I've attended, the congregation might reach out their hands to pray for him too, but only for his repentance / true conversion or to cast away spirits of spritual blindness and self-desception. It is wrong for someone to call themselves a Christian then do / openly support the rights to things which God has declared earns you a one-way ticket to the lake of fire if you don't repent. But then Obama belongs to a liberal, theologically heretical denomination anyway so what you can you expect? I wholeheartedly agree with the comment someone posted earlier that Christ is the Rock, not brotherhood, not government. Jesus didn't come to "bring people together." People who think that don't know their Bible. Jesus said "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." Matthew 10:34-36. Righteous living brings persecution.
    If too many people are cheering for you in this world (i.e. Obama), you better watch out cause you're probably on the wrong side... God doesn't ask for brotherhood, he asks for / demands holiness. Brotherhood exists when people submit themselves to God and follow his laws.

    August 27, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. Brent F, Durham, NC

    I get so sick of Democrats always invoking the Word of the Lord while supporting political positions on moral issues that are an abomination to God. They twist the Words of God for their political gain and somehow decieve themselves into thinking that appearing in liberal churches will gain them any ground with conservative Bible-believing Christians. And they always make sure to pose for the token photo ops shaking hands with a preacher or having the congregation pray for / bless them. If he ever showed his face in the kind of churches I've attended, the congregation might reach out their hands to pray for him too, but only for his repentance / true conversion or to cast away spirits of spritual blindness and self-desception. It is wrong for someone to call themselves a Christian then do / openly support the rights to things which God has declared earns you a one-way ticket to the lake of fire if you don't repent. But then Obama belongs to a liberal, theologically heretical denomination anyway so what you can you expect? I wholeheartedly agree with the comment someone posted earlier that Christ is the Rock, not brotherhood, not government. Jesus didn't come to "bring people together." People who think that don't know their Bible. Jesus said "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." Matthew 10:34-36. Righteous living brings persecution.
    If too many people are cheering for you in this world (i.e. Obama), you better watch out cause you're probably on the wrong side... God doesn't ask for brotherhood, he asks for / demands holiness. Brotherhood exists when people submit themselves to God and follow the laws he has made for us.

    August 27, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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