How Obama's favorite theologian shaped his first year in officeBreaking News
The answer may be seen by looking at Obama's first year in office, several scholars, and a relative of Niebuhr's, suggest.
At first, there seems to be little resemblance between the cool, cerebral Obama and the pugnacious Niebuhr.
Niebuhr was a blunt critic of morally complacent Christians. He thought the church was full of idealists who believed that progress was inevitable and that love alone would ultimately conquer injustice, some Niebuhr scholars say.
The president's political rhetoric reflects some of Niebuhr's world view, says great-nephew Gustav Niebuhr. He says Obama, like his great-uncle, avoids moral absolutes in his speeches: The U.S. is not always right, and its enemies are not always evil.
Niebuhr says he saw this attitude embedded in Obama's speech to the Arab world in Cairo, Egypt, last year. Obama acknowledged U.S. involvement in helping overthrow a democratically elected government in Iran during the 1950s and avoided "clash of civilizations" rhetoric that implied that the U.S. is free of moral taint.
comments powered by Disqus
- 159 scholars at Harvard sign petition reprimanding the school for rejections of Chelsea Manning and Michelle Jones
- Fact Check: Steve Bannon’s Bad History
- The Story Behind the Truman Quote in President Trump's U.N. Speech
- As Trump Declares Missing in Action Recognition Day, How Many Service Members Are Missing?
- The ‘nation’s report card’ says it assesses critical thinking in history
- Eric Foner discusses the manipulation of history
- Male historian tapped to lead Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Kansas
- Decline in History Majors Continues, Departments Respond
- He’s 75 now. When he started teaching at the University of New Orleans students walked out on his class.
- ‘Fake news’ from 1738 offers lessons for modern historians, says Missouri scholar