September 29th, 2007
08:00 AM ET
11 years ago

Obama the next Joshua?

Does Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign have a Biblical parallel?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, appeared to draw comparisons between a biblical figure, the civil rights movement and his presidential campaign during a speech at Howard University on Friday.

The presidential candidate likened the civil rights movement to the Bible story of Moses and Joshua’s journey through the desert. He called on the students of Howard University to be the “Joshuas of your generation,” and to finish the work in the civil rights movement.

“When Joshua discovered the challenge he faced, he had doubts, and he had worries,” Obama said. “He told God, ‘Don’t choose me. I'm not strong enough. I'm not wise enough. I don't have training. I don't have enough experience.’”

Obama is often criticized for his lack of political experience, and the similarity between Joshua’s task and the Illinois Democrats’ bid to win the White House with only two-plus years in the Senate under his belt was not lost on the audience.

In the Bible, Moses takes his people to the promised land but on the last leg of the journey, God asks Joshua to be the guide.

- CNN Ticker Producer Xuan Thai

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. James, Phoenix AZ

    The difference, Mr Obama, is that God had the power to work miracles with his servant, Joshua, ... the Democratic Party doesn't have God (ACLU made sure of that). You're left with Moveon.Org to help you out with your inexperience problem.

    Not to worry, George Soros will insure any critic of yours is properly and publicly scourged (AND get a hefty discount while doing so from the NY Times).

    September 28, 2007 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. Wesner, Miami Beach, Fl

    Preach on brother!!! I beleive. you got my vote...

    September 28, 2007 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  3. Aaron, American in Taiwan

    It's easy to love Obama, but I don't like him playing the underdog card. He needs to say he is the best, the smartest, with the cleanest record, and he needs to repeat again and again and again..if you want experience, ask why Rumsfeld or Cheney aren't running. No one has more political experience than those two.

    September 28, 2007 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. Debi, Philadelphia, Pa

    Mr Obama you are no Joshua

    September 28, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  5. LinnieFB, Corona, CA

    It was Joshua who entered the promised land with the people. He was known for telling the truth, even if it meant going against the majority. He answered the divine call to lead and God was with him.

    Go Obama!

    September 28, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  6. chuk Josiah O


    We are quick to complain about the shady nature of our politicians and we cry for a new face in politics.

    We have a new face and hope in Obama but some funny Americans want more seasoning or Washington experience in him. If Obama satisfies their thirst for more seasoning we will call him one of those Politicians we can't trust in Washington.

    The truth is you can't eat your cake and have it. Obama is the real deal now, he is fresh and is not soaked in Washingtons' political games, and he has the right experience starting from the grassroot level to the Senate.

    What else do we want? Now is the time not tomorrow. Obama is not a VP candidate and will never accept it because he has his own agenda for a real change. IT IS NOW OR NEVER.

    So fellow Americans lets show our hypocrisy by not voting for him. So when the next government comes we cry again for a new face for someone not in the purse of Washington.

    Shame on all self serving ignorant Americans who have nothing to do but make fools of themselves every election year; and cry for help after roping themselves in like they are smart.

    Obama, if my vote does not help you, at least i can live in peace knowing i did right by voting for you. Enough of all this political spining garbage.

    September 28, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  7. monica, rochester new york

    Juan Williams recently said, "a lawyer whose not a social engineer, is a social parasite." The first thing Obama did after getting his Harvard Law degree was go out among the "least among us" to help them rebuild their communities. He worked with and among the most disenfranchised, forgotten members of our society, when he could have instead pursued the lucrative careers his education and intelligence would have brought him. He has over a decade of experience as an elected public official. I can't understand why the media tries to minimize this experience, as if the only way an American can gain experience is in Washington DC. Furthermore, just this week 15-20,000 new yorkers came out to rally and support the senator because they're inspired by his uniquely hopeful and sincere message of hope and change. He asks each of us to have the courage to change our country for the better. The media and the pundits want us to scoff at the idea that we ordinary citizens can elect a leader who has such optimism. Through an Obama presidency the American people can start making the kinds of changes that will make our country heal and be respected again in the world community.

    September 28, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. Sybil+

    Oh my God, here we go. Religion and politics don't mix. Obama will never get my vote.

    September 28, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. Corbett

    AHHHHHH! No more Bible references for Gods sakes! I don't like seeing Rudy and Barack the on ticker reading from the same book on the same day!

    September 28, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  10. Jeff Morgan, Mission Viejo, CA

    My Bible history is a little rusty but wasn't it Moses who had the doubts and made the comments (quoted by Senator Obama) when GOD chose him to lead GOD's people from Egypt? Later, due to Moses' and the Israeli peoples' lack of faith upon initially reaching the promised land, GOD punished the Israeli people with an additional 40 years in the Sinai and Moses wasn't permitted to enter the promised land. Joshua was chosen to lead the people into the land instead. 40 years earlier, Joshua was one of the spies who entered the land when Moses hesitated. Joshua was the only spy to give a glowing report and recommended obeying GOD and occupying the land immediately. The other spies said the existing occupants of the land were too strong and would defeat the Israeli's. Hence GOD's displeasure!

    September 28, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. Korrey Detroit Mi

    I love this guy!

    Obsms 08

    September 28, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. Lance in Monrovia CA

    Obama as Joshua? No. Obama is David, taking on the Goliath that is The Washington Beltway, The Clinton Dynasty, HMOs, Big Oil and Iraq.

    The people are Obama's sling, and the bar rock that takes down Goliath is a hard thing indeed. It is composed of the finest and strongest metal elements. Things like truth, honor, integrity, and freedom.

    September 28, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  13. Charles - Van, Texas

    I am soory, but Obama has his wires crossed. It was Moses that said that, not Joshua. Joshua was willing to take on the tasks when he was given the mantle by Moses.

    September 28, 2007 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  14. Louis, St. Louis, MO

    This country already has too many hypocrites.

    September 28, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  15. Rick Yorktown, VA

    This man is a fraud! Please read the first chapter of the Book of Joshua. God commands Joshua to lead the people and encourages him. Joshua then immediately begins issuing orders to the people to prepare for the campaign ahead. Think about it. THis man has done nothing noteworthy his adult life excpet to organize welfare recipients inot demanding the taxpayers GIVE THEM MORE.

    September 28, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  16. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    This strikes me as a cheap Biblical spin used on a captive audience by a guy who is not ready for prime political time.

    What do his own campaign's numbers say? To the extent that polls are accurate this far out, I'm betting they tell him there is no way in Hades he can either beat any other Democratic candidate in the primary.

    September 28, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  17. Seekster, Arlington, TX

    Is Obama the next Joshua?

    Short answer: No

    Full answer: hell No!

    September 28, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  18. Chencho Huarachez, expat in Jalisco Mexico

    I'm glad that Obama is a fellow Christian. But just as I don't like Republicans hijacking religion in order to win sympathy...I don't like Obama doing it either. Clinton said religion got her through her marital strife. But, I don't think that's the same as what neo-con's and Obama seem to be doing. I don't want to hear him say that he believes God wants him to be president of the United States, either. I listen to TD Jakes for my sermons.

    September 28, 2007 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  19. Dan, TX

    Where does Obama compare himself to Joshua? Sounds like he's trying to inspire people to be strong and keep their faith.

    September 28, 2007 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  20. anon, Ottawa, OH

    Obama is right to draw his similarities to Joshua in that, to be the next US president, Obama is not strong enough, wise enough, not enough training and not enough experience.

    Obama is wrong that God will ask him to be the leader of the american people in the next election.

    It appears to me that Obama uses the bible this time to show that he is a christian, not muslim in hiding as many people suspect him. Although he had a muslim upbringing when young by his muslim father and muslim stepfather, he started going to a christian church is US on an irregular basis in the 1980's, and only more frequently in recent years when he decided to run for the presidency.

    September 28, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  21. Jim, Bend, OR

    Give me a break, come on people, this guy is all sizzle and no substance, a used car salesman turned politician. Do you know see him for what he is, NOTHING......He cannot be trusted, read about his past, his anti-white church that he attends, and that rich lady he hangs with who talks about "whities"....please America, see thru this.....

    September 28, 2007 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  22. Chris, Middletown, CT

    The day we eliminate all discrimination from the United States is the day we can all stand up and cheer! The first step would be to eliminate all black colleges – since this is yet another dividing block in a country already racially divided. Executive Order 10925 (1961, President John F. Kennedy) WHEREAS discrimination because of race, creed, color, or national origin is contrary to the Constitutional principles and policies of the United States – not understanding where there is an exclusion – but this dividing line needs to be erased – along with unions that are attached to public service – we can no longer be held hostage by those sworn to protect the public good. Obama is candidate for office of the President – he is NOT a white candidate....nor is he a black candidate – nor is he a male running for office – he is first and foremost a candidate – institutions such as Howard need to be eliminated.

    September 28, 2007 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  23. Truth Teller

    President Obama will be our guide.

    September 28, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  24. ronnie - knoxville, tn.

    why doesn't Hussein Obama start telling voters what experience he does have and let them decide

    September 28, 2007 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  25. R. Snowden Charleston, S.C.

    He HAS to be KIDDING!?!? Comparing himself to someone in the Bible to give himself some kind of credibility?!?! All I can say is GOD help us if he OR Hillary gets in.

    September 28, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
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