Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., writes in this week’s NYTBR:

In the midst of this religious commotion, the name of the most influential American theologian of the 20th century rarely appears – Reinhold Niebuhr. It may be that most “people of faith” belong to the religious right, and Niebuhr was on secular issues a determined liberal.

Schlesinger asks if we are “Forgetting Reinhold Niebuhr.” As usual, on political issues my friend Alan Koenig already had a bead on this some time ago. Here’s an excerpt from his Beliver essay “Where are the Real Niebuhrians?”:

In noting America’s unease and odd naïveté in wielding power for universal ideals, Niebuhr cautioned that, “Consistent with the general liberal hope of redeeming history, the American Messianic dream is vague about the political or other power which would be required to subject all recalcitrant wills to the one will which is informed by the true vision.”

In the present circumstances, something about that seems awfully timely.