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. Mike Konczal Dallas, TX

    ..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.

    Vote for me and you will get jobs, police, and health care that will protect you from natural disasters?
    ..based on the "principle of brotherhood"?

    If anyone can see a rational connection in his statements, he is a miracle worker!

    August 27, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Jeremy Darlington, SC

    Someone needs to tell Obama that the "rock" is Jesus himself. A child in sunday school would know that. The Bible says that Jesus is the "stone which the builder rejected". He is the foundation.

    August 27, 2007 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  3. Jason Bryant, Elkhart IN

    Wow, Libs are the first to fight for the church to stay out of politics, but are willing to embrace any church that will let them campaign from the pulpit. This church he spoke at should immediatly lose it's tax exempt status. I wouldnt want a politicain campaigning from my church, not the place. Church is about God, not the advancement of one's career.

    August 27, 2007 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  4. Pam L.

    Loser. Politicing in a church. Being an independant, I was quite interested in him when he first came on the scene. He's proven time and again he's not 'old enough/mature enough/educated enough' at this time to claim the roll of POTUS. What a shame it will be to have the purchased votes wasted on him that don't quite make it to hillary.

    August 27, 2007 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  5. Teresa Santo, Albany NY

    So why hasn't this church's tax exempt status been pulled?

    It's a shame really. If Barak actually read the Bible he would know that many of the issues he is for are considered and abomination to the Lord.
    Like leaving babies who survived an abortion alone to die.
    Sad days indeed. The democrats are a pathetic and morally blind party.

    August 27, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. Dell Dean, Phoenix, AZ

    Why are Christian people allowing this man a venue? Our America was founded on The Rock, unfortunately our government has moved away from the Christian principles of our founding. Look to the muslim countries and see how much religious freedom is enjoyed there!

    August 27, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. Jason,ATL,GA

    I did what everyone was saying on here to put Barracks name in the search and it didnt pull anything up but his fans,and his websites!Is that what you are talking about the mans own website for truthful info!Hahahaha by the way almost all elected officials have the local or state experience,they just dont brag about it!If you played AAA baseball all your life does that make you a MLB star.

    August 27, 2007 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. Ben In Madison WI

    The rock is not some principal of brotherhood, the rock is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

    As he did say though, I do agree that Christian Organizations "the body of Christ" will do a better job than the federal government 10 times out of 10 of taking care of the needs of the American people.

    August 27, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. Bob Lancaster, Pa

    The "Rock" in scripture is Christ and if Obama wants to quote Jesus and run the country according to God's authority, I would vote for him. But I don't think that's his intention. Scripture interprets scripture. You can not apply your own meanings to the Word.

    August 27, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. Don Thailand

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

    So the central them of the Sermon on the mount was "Brotherhood?!"

    Anyone who has a high regard for scripture can see that Obama does not know how to handle exposition of the Word of God (comparing Scripture with Scripture). While This was only a portion of his comments, and perhaps out of context, we should be reminded that 1 Corintians 3:11 says "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

    August 27, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  11. keith dillon effort pa

    Be careful what you wish for. Churches are at the forefront in katrina response. Government no where to be found, maybe thats because we "separated God"and He wasn't there to make sure we do the right thing.

    August 27, 2007 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. Mark Woodrow, Portland, Oregon

    The "ROCK" referred to in the Sermon on the Mount was Jesus Christ Himself. Obama doesn't even know basic Christian theology!

    August 27, 2007 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. Dr Michael Williams D.C.Ed., Jefferson, OH

    With all due respect, Senator Obama's use of Scripture was not accurate. The "Rock" referred to is NOT "a principle of brotherhood exemplified by the church." The rock is the Word of God! The house, is anything that man attmpts to do. It is teaching that unless everything you do is based on the Word of God, then there is no solid foundation that can be relied upon. Secondly, America was built on that foundation, the Word of God, but we have forgotten that, hence we have a loss of brotherhood. I may not agree with Senator Obama on most issues, but I believe his point is valid: we must learn to rely upon one another more and government less.

    August 27, 2007 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. Larry Trenton II, NY, NY

    Obama, Edwards, Rudy, Mitt, it does not matter. Unfortunately it took segregationist Governor Wallace to reveal the truth that "there's not a dime's worth of difference between" Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats willingly went along with the War in Iraq, suspension of Habeas Corpus, detaining protesters, banning books like America Deceived (book) from Amazon, stealing private lands (Kelo decision), warrant-less wiretapping and refusing to investigate 9/11 properly. They are both guilty of treason.
    Support Dr. Ron Paul and save this country.

    August 27, 2007 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  15. Lefty

    Mr. Obama should brush up on his US history. Even a cursury examination of the writings of our founding fathers clearly indicates this country WAS founded on The Rock.

    August 27, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. John Hilger, Huntington Beach, CA

    The Rock is the principle of brotherhood? Obama may know politics but he doesnt know the Bible. His interpretation and application is severly lacking.

    August 27, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. Bill, Alabama

    I hope the IRS takes away this churches 501c tax status. If a republican did this at a baptist church in Alabama, that would happen.

    August 27, 2007 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  18. Diane, Virginia Beach, VA

    Obama's ignorance and foolishness show through in his comment, "Our foundation wasn't built on 'the rock." It sure was! The United States was founded as a Christian nation. And while we respect all religions, we are a Christian nation! Of course, government schools don't teach this important truth (not to mention that our founding fathers were sincere Christians or at a minimum had a Biblical worldview)!! There is NO other nation like the United States of America!

    And as for the myth of separation of church and state....WAKE UP! You know the old saying 'tell the lie enough, and the people will believe?' Read the Constitution yourself. The only separation suggested is that the government cannot control the church (as was the case in England at the time our WISE founding fathers wrote the Dec. of Indep.)!!!

    August 27, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. RightyTighty

    Obama in church doesn't raise the nervous level of lighting strikes near as much as when the Clintons attend.

    August 27, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. Ana Perez

    "Brotherhood?" Please! Very sexist of Obama. Also, his mixing of religion with politics is most unwelcome. He seems to be taking a page right off the Republican hate mongers who use religion to impose their cruel, sexist and discriminating political agenda. Separation of church and state is the need here, not comingling. Obama is a loser. President Hillary Clinton cannot come fast enough.

    August 27, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Anyone who supports Abortion has no place in the Church!

    August 27, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. Rich Mitchell, Denver, CO

    "There are points of similarity between the Sermon on the Mount and various known teachings and phrases in use at Qumran, but there is no single document that comes even remotely close in content/structure to the Sermon on the Mount." See:

    August 27, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  23. R.J., Albuquerque NM

    The first shall be last and the last shall be first. Shrub is going down, down to perdition.

    August 27, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  24. Keith San Antonio Texas

    Why does this church still have its tax exempt status?

    August 27, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. will jackson ms

    Im glad some people have pointed out that he completelty miss used scripture, what was the pastor of that church thinkig?? Almost as bad as kerry saying that job was his favorite New Testament book......If you dont use the Bible dont try to sell it like you do cause those that do cant tell the difference!!!

    August 27, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
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