August 26th, 2007
01:45 PM ET
10 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. Douglas Babb, Princeton_KY

    Studies of the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate that the passage in the Bible known as the Sermon on the Mount is actually an ancient Essene prayer dating to hundres of years before the birt of Christ.

    August 26, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. Carolina Dude

    Obama/Edwards OR Edwards/Obama, that's the TICKET !!

    A combination of these two candidates would send the repub candidates running for cover, and clean the WhiteHouse of the status quo.

    Together, they would bring brink back something to the presidency that it hasn't seen in a long time: a focus on the average American, instead of large corporations, special interests, and war-mongers.

    America needs a CHANGE in the worst way, NOT more of the Republican (or Hillary’s) rhetoric.

    Ba-ROCK the Vote, and get aboard John’s Lifeboat !!
    THAT’s the ticket that will save America’s sinking ship !

    August 26, 2007 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. Rick Moore, Mission Viejo, CA

    The wise man may build his house on a rock, but the foolish man builds his house 16' below sea level in an area surrounded by lakes and rivers, and is then greatly astonished when a hurricane floods the city.

    There's not enough government in the world to fix dumb.

    August 26, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    The main lesson to be learned from Katrina is not to rebuild in areas that are _certain_ to be devastated again within our lifetimes unless you can afford it on your own. All the hope and prayer you like won't change that fact. Wake up.

    August 26, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. David, Salinas, CA

    I’m looking forward to President Bush’s triumphant return to New Orleans. I’m sure he’ll get a warm reception. Perhaps he can stay in a FEMA trailer.

    August 26, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. Anonymous


    August 26, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Juanito, Washington, DC

    I saw the video of Obma's speech, and was glad to see him level his criticism to the local and state people as well. So many people rightfully blame the feds for their slow response to Katrina, but not enough people call out the local and state authorities, who also dropped the ball miserably.

    Well done Obama.

    August 26, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Chima Ordu, York, PA

    Who writes these headlines on CNN??? Obama invokes Bible? Well God forbid! I mean, he was only speaking in a CHURCH of all places, so wow...he invoked a passage from the Bible...what on earth was he thinking?
    Obama spoke to the concerns of people struggling in New Orleans 2 years after Katrina, and focused on solutions and proposals to help move the recovery forward. This dumb headline is so off-base and does not do justice to what Senator Obama was talking about today.

    CNN...c' have to do better.

    August 26, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Joe from Tabb, VA

    I'd like to travel to Cuba. God gave us this world to explore and enjoy.

    August 26, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. VanReuter NY NY

    Yes, Edwards GUARANTEES a win in 2008
    Except that Edwards Couldn't even win his home state, and Cheney in debating, used him to mop the floor, he can't help the dems win, not now, not before, just look at what happened in 2004.


    August 26, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Tim, Cincinnati

    It's easy to criticize others when your own public record is paper-thin.

    August 26, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Mikel Kirk, Tacoma, WA

    Whoever hears those sayings and does them, I will liken him to a person who builds their house in a depression by the sea.
    The rains will descend, the floods will come and the winds will blow and beat on that house. It will flood and they will drown because water flows downhill.

    August 26, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Scott Smith Roanoke, VA

    Government is not "the rock" Jesus is the rock. "Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock.
    Government is not and never will be the solution to man's problems. Solomon says in ECC 3:16 And I saw something else under the sun:
    In the place of judgment –wickedness was there,
    in the place of justice wickedness was there.

    We are not to have our faith in government, or any political candidate or even the President no matter who he or she is. Want another example go back and reread how Rome treated Jesus. Pilate was a true politician. Government will always fail no matter who is in charge, because we are humans and we all have impure motivations.

    And to this comment give me a break:
    "Together, they would bring brink back something to the presidency that it hasn't seen in a long time: a focus on the average American, instead of large corporations"

    When the last time a poor person gave someone a job.

    August 26, 2007 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. Linda - Albany, NY

    This is truly frightening. Whatever happened to "separation of church and state?"

    August 26, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Amy

    Yes, I think Obama is the bestest candidatte and we shall all voute for him soone

    August 26, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Matt, Paris, Illinois

    Obama's record is far from paper thin. I love the laziness of those who will criticize a candidate and say, "What have you done in the Senate?" when they can just easily look it up themselves.

    They just want to hear the candidate say it because in reality, they're not committed to being an informed voter. They lack the intellectual motivation to research candidates themselves.

    August 26, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    How ironic Tim from Cincinnati, I'm pretty sure you are talking about yourself!

    August 26, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Jim, Norman, Oklahoma

    "It's easy to criticize others when your own public record is paper-thin.

    Posted By Tim, Cincinnati : August 26, 2007 11:56 am"

    Yes, paper-thin. 8 years in the Illinois Statehouse and more than 2 in the Senate. Yeah, ten years+, what a political rookie. I mean, that's a longer record than more than 50% of the candidates, but yeah, what a rookie.

    And since we're talking about records, when will America realize that a politician with a 15-0 record is better than one with a 1-100 record? Being intelligent and correct is more important than being experienced. Way more.

    August 26, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. Dan, TX

    1. Obama
    2. Biden
    3. Clinton
    4. Edwards
    5 Richardson

    My opinion based on what I've learned so far.

    August 26, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. airplane.jim Missouri

    Barack (promise them everything) Obama

    August 26, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Sean, San Diego

    Tim,nice try!

    August 26, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    Obama is totally right to rail on the powers that be about what happened and what is still happening because of Katrina. There are still maybe 70,000 people living in crappy trailers in sight of an oil refinery, it stinks, both literally and figuratively.

    Greg Palast talks about going there to shoot the camp called "cancer alley." in his book Armed Madhouse. They don't allow anyone to shoot video there because supposedly the refinery is a high value terrorist target. Yet you can see it clearly on google earth. Pretty damn convienent place for a refugee camp you don't want to see in the news.

    After Palast shot video there, they tried to press charges under the patriot act, as if he was a terrorist.

    The charges didn't stick, but interesting to note that even though he's a BBC reporter on the news every night, it took them two weeks to hunt him down.

    He also notes that New Orleans was a democratic party bastion in the south. I'm sure that George Bush loves seeing all those black voters disbursed to a whole bunch of Republican districts where he doesn't have to hear from them as a voter block anymore.

    It is ridiculous, insane, nearly pornographic that more progress hasn't been made in restoring these people to there homes in TWO YEARS!!!

    This is what the richest country on the planet does for its citizens? Stick them in a trailer, put some barbed wire around the camp and make sure they get a good view of that stinky refinery until they get fed up enough to leave and go live with relatives elsewhere, is that it?

    Did you hear about the couple hundred homes in New Orleans "accidentally" scheduled for demolition and torn down?

    Hmn... makes sense. At the rate the idiots in charge are going they might as well demolish what they already haven't of the constitution and our whole country, I hear the rest has been scheduled too.

    Barack Obama represents the best hope the middle class of this country has. He would bring back some semblance of fiscal responsibility and some sense of our responsibility to our own citizens.

    I am tired of a government that puts international corporations ahead of our own citizens. I want a leader that will turn a camera, not away from the problems of our country, but TOWARD them. Day, after day, after day, Barack Obama proves himself to be that man.

    Day before yesterday he was in a school in the south where it sweltered over a hundred degrees in their gym, yet that is where the children were expected to play.

    Barack made a free throw shot in that gym, without a warm up. He then pointed out that it is a very sad thing indeed to have a school swelter with an air conditioner broken for months without funds to fix it.

    The basketball was not the slam dunk, he is.

    Obama 08

    August 26, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. Micah, Baltimore, MD

    Tim in Cincinnati:

    Obama has more experience as an elected official than Hillary or Edwards. Why don't get take a minute or two, since you are really interested in knowing Obama's public record, and actually look it up? i mean...all it takes it doing a Google search on Obama's record in the State Senate or the US Senate.

    I suspect you actually don't really want to know, that way your willfull ignorance will allow you to attack him.

    August 26, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. lavelle

    Keep doing your thing Obama i think you just turned the corner. Not so often great people come around and put the masses in awe. You are doing just that. There are greats in everything in this world.You may not be the greatest president ever. But he will be a great president for this country.

    August 26, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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