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
- Miami’s Watergate mystery man at heart of newly revealed CIA report
- The Anthropocene epoch: scientists declare dawn of human-influenced age
- ‘No Vacancies’ for Blacks: How Donald Trump Got His Start, and Was First Accused of Bias
- New Yorker profiles activist who's drawing attention to lynchings
- Wisconsin GOP senator wants to replace history professors with Ken Burns videos
- OAH President Nancy Cott says the Library of Congress is being politicized
- NYT publishes historians' plea for the revival of political history
- Some Ohio University professors ditch the textbooks, and the prices
- Renowned Israeli Holocaust Historian: ‘If I Were a British Jew, I’d Be Worried’
- Heather Ann Thompson pries loose the long-kept secrets of Attica in her new book