Niebuhr Wasn’t a Politician

Intellectuals and religious figures who invoke Niebuhr can't separate him from his religion.

Reinhold Niebuhr may not be Bono, but he might come close. Ever since President Bush declared a war on terror in 2001, intellectuals and religious leaders have invoked Niebuhr's politics, Atlantic Monthly reporter Justine Isola writes in her piece "Everybody Loves Reinhold."

"[B]y now a well-turned Niebuhr reference is the speechwriter's equivalent of a photo op with Bono," she quotes Paul Elie.

Niebuhr thus came to be associated in many people's minds as much with the politics of power as with the tenets of Christianity, Isola writes.

But those who invoke Niebuhr tend to ignore his religion and focus on his political concerns, Isola writes after interviewing Paul Elie, author of November Atlantic piece "A Man for All Reasons."

Niebuhr's conclusions, Elie reminds us, were thoroughly informed by what Elie calls a ?biblical perspective' - a long sense of human history as reflected in the stories and lessons of the Bible - and by his view of human nature as ?rooted in human sinfulness.'
For Elie, ...
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview
To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.
Already a CT subscriber? for full digital access.
April
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Posted by:

Read These Next

close
hide this
Access The Archives

Member-Only Access

Subscribe to Christianity Today to continue reading this article from CT's digital archives.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? to continue reading.