September 29th, 2007
08:00 AM ET
12 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. Wesner, Miami Beach, Fl

    Some of you guys are upset because your candidate did not mention it first. Don't be surprise if Hellery come out with quote from some where and some how. That is what she's known for. "A follower"!! Some of you people need to learn how to read and analyze before making stupid statement.

    You got my vote Obama!!!

    September 29, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Skull & Bones Society, Washington D.C.

    you guys are idiots the headline threw u people off and u didn't even finish reading the article...he didn't compare himself to God

    September 29, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Lyn,MD

    CNN you are a disgrace...he was not comparing it to hisself. Quote the whole thing or nothing. He was making an analogy for the college students he told them they were like Joshua. You just want you fabricate it.

    September 29, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Charles, Washington, D.C.

    Oh my goodness, there's a great deal of acrimony across all these comments...

    I applaud Sen. Obama for using the Word to encourage those of my generation to plow on like Joshua...

    Yes, the Scripture was from Moses, but goodness gracious...I don't understand all my fellow Christians getting worked up over stating the wrong speaker of that verse...

    Is it not wonderful that we have a major political figure planting a seed of God's love in those who will be leading our country in the near future?

    However, Sen. Obama, you should remember that the more you follow his Word and put God above all else, the more he will lead you as he led Joshua into battle.

    Take this to heart when considering policy...does it honor God to advocate abortion and gay rights? Please understand that we should love gay people and treat them equally outside those restrictions God meant us to implement, but be mindful of God's purpose for you...I sincerely doubt a Presidential run comes even remotely close to a fraction of the importance of the salvation of His children 🙂

    September 29, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Donna, White Mountains, NH

    Yet another article to prove the CNN is spinning the truth for its own political interests. You don't surprise me that you didn't mention that Barack received an Honororary Doctorate of Law yesterday.

    To prove CNN is misleading all of us, please read this quoted text from Barack's speech yesterday.

    "And yet, it was not in God's plan to have Moses cross the river. Instead He would call on Joshua to finish the work that Moses began. He would ask Joshua to take his people that final distance.

    Everyone in this room stands on the shoulders of many Moses. They are the courageous men and women who marched and fought and bled for the rights and freedoms we enjoy today. They have taken us many miles over an impossible journey.

    But you are members of the Joshua Generation. And it is now up to you to finish the work that they began. It is up to you to cross the river.

    When Joshua discovered the challenge he faced, he had his doubts and his worries. But the Lord told Joshua not to fear. He said, "Be strong and have courage, for I am with you wherever you go."

    Those are the words I will leave you with today. Be strong and have courage. Be strong and have courage in the face of injustice. Be strong and have courage in the face of prejudice and hatred. Be strong and have courage in the face of joblessness and helplessness and hopelessness. Be strong and have courage, in the face of our doubts and fears, in the face of skepticism, in the face of cynicism, in the face of a mighty river. Be strong and have courage and let us cross over to that Promised Land together. Congratulations on another year, and thank you so much."

    CNN, I ask you to please start reporting the truth.

    September 29, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. RuthieM

    Well Joshua picked up the baton, just like Obama has, and will reach the finish line.

    September 29, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. providence, RI

    What a Joke! Outrageous! Comparing to Joshua! Didn't Rudy compare himself to Jesus? Leave religion out of politics, and respect the Constitution. I am shocked, and he went to Harvard??? I have the same degree (J.D.), a law egree that he does, but I respect the U.S. Constitution by separating state and religion...

    September 29, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Tim, Madison, WI

    providence, RI, this has nothing to do with "separating state and religion." First, leaders have a right to express their faith, so long as they don't impose it on anyone else via their policies. Second, Obama's story had nothing to do with God or religion, per se. The speech was about the willingness of a people to work towards a better life for everyone. Just because he mentioned the Bible doesn't mean he's going to plant the Ten Commandments on every lawn and turn the US into a theocracy, in the same way that mentioning baseball doesn't mean you're going to force the nation to watch the Yankees game.

    I wonder if your JD taught you any critical reading skills, or if it just taught you how to be a reactionary partisan.

    September 29, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. sonya, atlanta, ga

    I have to finally admit, Americans are stupid? Did anyone read the article or just the headline? Obama was calling the students Joshua, that they have to take the baton of the civil rights movement and lead us to America's promise land. Also, faith has always been central to America. The founding fathers were deeply religious men. But they didn't want religion to take over the country as it had in Europe and wanted people to be able to believe what ever they want to believe in.

    I love Obama's spirtualness. He is not George Bush who claims to be doing the work of God like God is speaking directly to him. Obama sustain him but doesn't dictate his policies. Obama is not an ideologue. He has core principles and beliefs and has demostrated the ability work with others to get done what can be done. He is truely inspirational and is what the country needs right now.

    September 29, 2007 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  10. Sam, IA

    Obama has been a christian and proclaimed and lived the life of a christian for many years, This is a LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN A MAN WHO PROCLAIMS CHRISTIANITY TO COVER FOR DUIS, LIES, CHEATING, AND DRUG USE DURING HIS FIRST 45 YEARS.

    September 30, 2007 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  11. colony14 author

    I thought Obama was the next Jesus? When did he get demoted to Joshua? Either way, feel free to nominate him for President, and after the convention I look forward to the media exposing Obama. No one outside Illinois is yet aware of the dirty deals Obama has made with some of this state's pond scum, but that will eventually come to light. (At least one reporter will eventually place his own career ahead of placing Kum-Bah-Yah in the White House.)

    September 30, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. James, Phoenix AZ (the real one)

    Obama is more than Joshuan. He is the Savior who can pull us out of the darkness of George W. Bush's dark reign of terror.

    Posted By James, Phoenix AZ : September 29, 2007 9:37 am

    – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

    Nice – Obama worshippers.

    September 30, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Jim OR, I agree with you. Obama is dreaming now, his speech is not reliable and I will never trust him, because he changed his mind and lied to public several times during a few months campaign. I doubt his root too.
    "What is learned in the cradle is carried to the tomb" I am afraid of his childhood education and religion.
    America is founded very much by pure Chistianity.

    September 30, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. sonya, atlanta, ga

    Thomas Jefferson and Benijamin Franklin were atheists. The founding fathers had varying degrees of faith. And til this day, now one knows how much or how less religious George Washington was. People need to pick up a book once in a while.

    September 30, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Is Joshua black? I don't remember Bible says so. Obama blashpemed against the Bible. He is not Joshua, don't confuse yourself with Holiness.

    September 30, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. shawnie

    Iam formally from Ill, obama is not a sure to it will all come to light.i dont want a preacher either for president.

    September 30, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  17. Brianna, McEwen, TN

    Well let me think about this for a minute. Would Joshua have refused to help a young Sailor abused in boot camp who begged for his help? No I don;t think he would have but you did Mr. Obama. How can you take care of 49 other states when you won't even bother to help those at home?

    September 30, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  18. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Can this guy open his mouth without the Bible falling out?

    October 1, 2007 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  19. Hank Macknee Durham, NC

    All I can say is read Obama's book, and see whether you agree with him about what America needs.

    October 1, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
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