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. Gary Taylor, Asheville, NC

    Where's the gravitas ?

    August 26, 2007 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  2. Troy Lilja Bethlnem,NY

    DUMBO should read the part of Christ's words where he said "If you love me you will keep my commands".This man does not believe in scholl prayer BUT getting GOD out of the public square as soon and as much of possible

    August 26, 2007 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  3. DW Monroe, LA

    Katrina IS NOT NOR EVER HAS BEEN a Federal Government problem or solution!
    It is and was primarily a City of New Orleans problem, secondarily an Orleans Parish problem, and thirdly a State of LA problem.
    Federal Gov't is way down the line.
    Those goof balls in N.O. re-elected Nagan as Mayor, who left hundreds of buses idle to drown in water, why blame the US gov't (BUSH)?
    Whenever Kansas or OK. get hammered by a tornado, do you hear them screaming for FEMA? Nope!
    Why has the mass media not focused on the Mississippi Gulf Coast? They were devastated as much as New Orleans?

    Different class of people? Oh, yeah, working people not dependant on the Federal Gov't for everything.
    Katrina was 2 years ago. Rebuild and get over it, like Mississippi, Kansas, OK, Florida, etc!

    I hate to say it, but Katrina did a lot of good things for Louisiana. Shall I list them?

    Get a JOB!

    August 26, 2007 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  4. Gary Taylor, Asheville, NC

    I love to see all the critical, realistic comments – it shows that most posters who've seen this article, saw it through the Drudge Report site. Had Drudge not carried it, it would have gone unread except by the farthest Left CNN viewers.

    August 26, 2007 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  5. Michael, Menifee, CA

    The only way B. Hussein Obama will ever see the inside of the White House is as a paying tourist.

    August 26, 2007 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  6. roy davis, west pal, beach, fl

    katrina, the hurricane is and was nothing more than media hysteria.

    there have been lots of storms. why would the local government ignore the warnings.

    the media is hopelessly out of control and leading the sheep over the edge of the cliff.

    August 26, 2007 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  7. Phil, Sacramento, California

    Disappointing! Another politician wrenching scripture out of context for political exploitation.

    August 26, 2007 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  8. ray IL

    Didn't Obama grow up as a Muslim in a mahdrasa? Now he claims to be a christian. As a high profile candidate you would think some crazy mullah would have issued a fatwa against him for apostacy. The deafening silence is very disconcerting.

    August 27, 2007 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  9. Tony May - Atlanta, GA

    To David C. Powell,
    I suggest, if you're as "open-minded" as you likely profess to be, you read Case for Christ – by Lee Strobel. Then revisit your comments.

    Barak, like Hillary, is an opportunist. When it will be convenient to work at attracting the Muslim vote, he'll draw on that. When it comes to attracting the black, Christian-leaning or Christian audience, he's obviously leaning that way.

    Look at history – not just the Bible – to see the dramatic differences between Christianity and Islam. I'm not sure how anyone could study both and still manage to ride that maybe a politician.

    As to the "you're all a bunch of hypocritical Christians" type comments...guess what folks. Christians (wait for it) sin...just like you do. The difference is that Christians realize they're not perfect – just forgiven. It doesn't mean we don't try to do it right and fail...sometimes a lot. But we try.

    Barak – here's a thought for you. You might want to read the Scripture more often and with someone who can help you understand the parables. One area that was not a parable is the part where Jesus tossed the tables in the temple because the guys in there were doing business. You were pretty much doing the same thing, dude. Using a church to pimp government programs and garner support to get you elected to the most powerful political position in the world.

    Tread lightly where you walk, man. Jesus didn't like it then and I'm sure His opinion on that hasn't changed.

    August 27, 2007 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  10. David, Chicago Illinois

    Wasn't Barack Hussein Obama raised a Muslim? Weird how he's in a Christian church to praise the Lord and pass the hat. So should we be afraid because he's a Muslim or because he's a hypocrite?

    August 27, 2007 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  11. Tony Darbo NYC

    Obama has no clue, the same simps that say religion has no place in American politics are the ones now clapping like fools for this no one who was created my the media. What a joke

    August 27, 2007 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  12. Joseph Randall

    Why is it that when a Republican candidate visits a church that church comes under threat by the IRS to lose its tax exempt status but if a Democrat stumps in a church and gets an endorsement it is seen as ok?

    August 27, 2007 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  13. ehurman burgess wilmington, n.c.

    to all of you religous nuts who think that one dose not know what the bible say,becauce they draw an analogy to a scripture, please explain how one can get a beam in their eye? that is a small one, 4×6".

    August 27, 2007 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  14. Amy, Springville, Utah


    August 27, 2007 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  15. Ron--Boulder, Colorado

    Absolutely, Ralph. You cannot be a Christian–or claim to be one of God's–and support abortion. It's impossible, and it's hypocirsy. Check this out:

    'Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils: and in they name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity'.

    -Mat 7:21-23 Jesus Christ.

    Please don't invoke Jesus and think He's a great guy all of a sudden because of your political candidate. He is love, but He will ALSO pour out His wrath on the unbelievers and disobedient–somehow many of us seem to forget that.

    August 27, 2007 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  16. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    Ralph learn how to spell hypocrite before you call someone else one. And by implying that people who support a woman's right to choose are non-religious you are shooting a wide brimmed attack against many of the poster's here on this article. What if I shot a wide brimmed attack against you that, because you support the War in Iraq you are supporting the deaths of other human beings, making you non-religious? I would be wrong to make that judgment about you just like you were wrong to make that judgment about other people.

    August 27, 2007 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  17. Ron Stelzleni Mondovi, WI

    The Rock is Jesus Christ. So much for this ignorant politician.

    August 27, 2007 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  18. EMC, Temecula, CA

    Maybe Obama-Osama would be the winning ticket since the liberals are so hypocritical. They don't like the candidate that is religious, unless it is their own. Obama-Osama 2008 and I'm sure there is a place in the cabinet for Edwards, Hilly-Billy and the rest of the commies.

    August 27, 2007 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Christ is the only sure foundation – not brotherhood, not ideas, not politics, and not the government. People will let you down, Christ never will. HE is the sure foundation. Mr. Obama, our country WAS built on the proper foundation – Christ. Sadly enough, however, we have wondered far away. May Christ once again be our foundation – not men – Christ and Christ alone!

    August 27, 2007 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  20. Ramón - San Francisco, CA

    Exactly how many visits to post-Katrina stricken New Orleans did the presidential candidates make, and what tangible help did they provide?
    If the media don't post a detailed answer to similar questions, it's safe to think that visits such as these, two years after the disastrous event is nothing more than political hay and posturing.
    Americans have had enough of that, and they shouldn't allow media to lead their thinking and their ability to ask the hard questions and get the unequivocal answer – their lives and futures depend on it.

    August 27, 2007 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  21. Tommy Marin, Las Vegas NV

    Why don't they quote Jesus when he said not to borrow or lend money?

    Or how about the bit about it's easier for a camel to go though the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the gates of Heaven?

    Something to consider when all of the major canidates range from multi-millionaires to billionaires.

    Ah, America – the best government money can buy.

    August 27, 2007 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  22. Brett, Memphis TN

    uuhhh...soooo...obama is going to build the federal government and our response to natural disasters on the foundation of Jesus Christ? Can someone help me with this one? I only did my Master of Divinity at Yale and I'm not quite good enough to plumb the depths of this one.

    August 27, 2007 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  23. Scott, Iraq

    With all the shouting and screaming that liberals do about the seperation of church and state, why are Democratic candidates given a free pass when campaigning at a church?

    August 27, 2007 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  24. Tom, Irmo, S.C.

    "Prayer – the last refuge of a scoundrel. –Lisa Simpson"

    Thus, Obama acknowledges he is losing the election by seeking to boost his ambitions by using Christianity. Evidently the faith of churchgoers in New Orleans is up for sale.

    August 27, 2007 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  25. Echo

    Sadly, New Orleans was actually built in the mud. No amount of brotherhood (or rocks) can change that reality.

    The federal government CAN take some lumps because its response was fettered by ill-chosen efforts in a rock called Iraq. You might say New Orleans ended up between Iraq and a soft place.

    August 27, 2007 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
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