“An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story” Film Screening and Panel Discussion
Date(s) – March 6, 2017, a Monday night
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Emerson Auditorium in Knight Hall, Washington University in St. Louis
The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics and Eden Theological Seminary are pleased to present to the community an advance screening of a new film, An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story, scheduled to air on PBS this spring. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Prof. Marie Griffith, Director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics. Panelists will include the filmmaker Martin Doblmeier; Rev. Dr. David Greenhaw, President of Eden Seminary; and Dr. Healan Gaston, Harvard Divinity School. A reception for all attendees will be offered 8:30 – 9:30 p.m.
This event is free and open to all; no tickets required. RSVPs encouraged to firstname.lastname@example.org or (314) 935-9345. Your RSVP allow us to send you a parking pass and contact you with any event updates.
About Reinhold Niebuhr
Although he may be best remembered today as the author of the famed “Serenity Prayer,” Reinhold Niebuhr — an outspoken American-born pastor, writer, and political activist — remains one of the most influential public theologians of our time. Presidents from Barack Obama to Jimmy Carter have credited his impact on their thinking, as well as John McCain, countless historians, theologians, political thinkers, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who cited Niebuhr in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
Niebuhr’s career spanned some of the most tumultuous decades in American history, from World War I through Vietnam, from the Great Depression through the Civil Rights Movement. An early pacifist and socialist, he was closely monitored by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI throughout his life, but would later serve as a consultant to the State Department during the Cold War.
Niebuhr rose from a small Midwest church pulpit to become the nation’s moral voice — an American conscience — during some of the most defining moments in recent history. His books, Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932), The Nature and Destiny of Man (1941–43) and The Irony of American History (1952), continue to influence theological and political thinking. An American original, his unique insights into human nature and its relationship to political movements and social justice propelled him to speak openly, and often critically, to an America consumed by moral certainty. For Niebuhr the priority was always justice, his guiding principle was hope in a redeemer God, and his weapon was an extraordinary gift for clarity of thought that made him a leading voice of conscience for his time.