“An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story,” a documentary produced by Honors College Dean Andrew Finstuen, will be screened at 6 p.m. March 8 in the Skaggs Hall of Learning in the Micron Business and Economics Building.
The film is directed by award-winning filmmaker Martin Doblmeier and will air nationally on Public Television in April but comes to campus early as part of a 30-city national tour. It tells the story of Reinhold Niebuhr, an outspoken pastor, writer and political activist who rose from a small Midwest church pulpit to become the nation’s moral voice during some of the most defining moments in American history. Niebuhr’s “Serenity Prayer” remains one of the most quoted writings in American literature, yet his impact was far greater. Presidents and civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. often credited Niebuhr’s writings for guidance and inspiration on the most volatile political and social issues of the 20th century.
Finstuen said Niebuhr is one of the giants of American thought.
“He modeled the best of a public voice speaking from conscience to a nation full of promise and peril,” Finstuen said. “As a historian, I saw a film about Niebuhr as a tool to provide a history lesson about America’s experience with industrialization, race relations, World War II, nuclear power and the Cold War.”
Doblmeier, the film’s director will be at the screening and a Q&A moderated by Jill Gill from the Department of History will follow featuring Doblmeier and Finstuen.