An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story


Video from Journey Films


"Although he may be best remembered as the author of the famed "Serenity Prayer," Reinhold Niebuhr — an American-born pastor, writer, and outspoken political activist — became as one of the most influential public theologians in American history. Over a career spanning a half-century, he was a moral voice - a conscience - during some of the nation’s most defining eras. In 1948, Time magazine selected Reinhold Niebuhr for its cover story for the 25th anniversary issue, a testament to the public theologian’s importance to the wider American culture. For more info, visit: www.journeyfilms.com" from video introduction.


"In his lifetime, Niebuhr was a restless and paradoxical figure: an evangelical preacher and the author of the Serenity Prayer, a foe of U.S. isolationism in the 1930s and of U.S. intervention in Vietnam in the 1960s. After his death, Niebuhrian became a synonym for American political realism—the school of thought that places national self-interest above idealistic schemes for social reform. But the war on terror has brought Niebuhr’s broader vision into focus: not only the struggle between realism and idealism in our foreign affairs, but the ongoing debate over the place of religion in America’s sense of itself. The fresh interest in his work, then, ought to be invigorating—a source of clarity and perspective." from the article: A Man for All Reasons (link)