An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story

About This Episode


An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story examines the career and global impact of renowned American-born theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who became a voice of conscience to a country reaching the pinnacle of its economic and political power. As the Great Depression gripped America, he rocked the liberal Christian community with "Moral Man and Immoral Society," which challenged the idea of inherent progress and justice in history. During and after the war, Niebuhr helped establish the infrastructure that gave Christian churches and thinkers a voice in postwar politics, and proved instrumental in the effort to form the World Council of Churches.

Through archival photos, recordings and interviews with his daughter, former students, The New York Times writer David Brooks and civil rights icon Andrew Young, the documentary also explores Niebuhr's influence and impact on numerous leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., President Barack Obama, and former President Jimmy Carter. With revealing insights from academic experts who discuss his life and influence, the stories capture Niebuhr's seminal role in American life.