NiebuhrWatching the introduction of Obama's security team on CNN right now. With focus on the new administration's foreign policy, some attention has been showered upon Reinhold Niebuhr, a theologian born near the turn of the last century who is said to be one of the president-elect's favorite philosophers. Over the course of the campaign and the election's aftermath, various articles came out detailing the scope of influence that Niebuhr has had on Obama, and how his work has shaped Obama's worldview. Obama himself said:
I take away [from the works of Reinhold Niebuhr] the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away . . . the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard.
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The story so farSeptember 2004