D.C. Premiere of Niebuhr Documentary

WASHINGTON (March 27, 2017) – The Washington, D.C. premiere of the new documentary, “An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story” will be co-hosted by Wesley Theological Seminary’s Center for Public Theology and The Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute on March 31, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Newseum. 

“In the swirl of politics here in Washington, we want the church to have a voice and Niebuhr gave us a map for that decades ago,” said Mike McCurry, director of the Center for Public Theology and former White House press secretary. “This movie illuminates that and seems relevant now more than ever. This film could not be more timely.”

Wesley’s Center for Public Theology seeks to equip faith leaders to be a voice in the public square. The partnership between the Center and the Religious Freedom Center made this premiere possible. The event is free and open to the public.

“It’s fitting that in the year of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation we reflect upon the words and deeds of Reinhold Niebuhr, who TIME Magazine called ‘the greatest Protestant theologian in America since Jonathan Edwards,’” said Rev. Nate Walker, director of The Religious Freedom Center. “The Religious Freedom Center is pleased to partner with Wesley Theological Seminary to reflect upon the roles that religious leaders can play in society, not only as first responders to oppressive agendas but as ethical agenda-setters.”

This event will feature a screening of the documentary followed by a panel discussion with filmmaker Martin Doblmeier; Mike McCurry; Josiah Young, professor of systematic theology at Wesley Theological Seminary, The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne and Gustav Niebuhr, associate professor of newspaper and online journalism in the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University .

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) impacted presidents and civil rights leaders like Jimmy Carter and Martin Luther King, Jr., who often turned to Niebuhr’s writings for guidance and inspiration on the most volatile political and social issues of the 20th Century.  Many suggest at this particular moment in America’s political life, the voice of theologians like Reinhold Niebuhr is particularly salient.

An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story” is directed, written and narrated by Martin Doblmeier, the creator of dozens of challenging, award-winning films on faith including Chaplains and Bonhoeffer. Rich in archival material, the documentary includes interviews with former President Jimmy Carter, Civil Rights leader Andrew Young, New York Times writer David Brooks, author Susannah Heschel and a host of internationally recognized historians and theologians.

This event will take place at the Newseum, 7th Floor, 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. While the event is free and open to the public, space is limited – registration is required at https://www.religiousfreedomcenter.org/event/2017-03-31-p/

For media inquiries, contact Sheila George at [email protected] or 202/236-9952, and/or Kristen Looney, Project Director, [email protected], 202/292-6473.


Wesley Theological Seminary’s Center for Public Theology, located in the heart of the nation’s capital, gives churches and seminary students tools to help navigate the connections between faith and public policy. Our goal is to improve the tone of national political discourse by fostering a new ethic of civil discourse. We are non-partisan, but not disinterested, in the great issues of the day. Located in the nation’s capital and centered in the Christian tradition, Wesley Theological Seminary, with its Institute for Community Engagement and the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, equips exemplary teachers, preachers and leaders to be prophetic voices in the church and the world.

The Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute is a nonpartisan national initiative focused on educating the American public about the religious liberty principles of the First Amendment. We envision a world committed to religious freedom as an inalienable right for all people. In carrying out this vision, our mission is to educate the public about the history, meaning and significance of religious freedom and to promote dialogue and understanding among people of all religions and none.

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