Event Title

A Juxtaposition of Dorothy Day and Reinhold Niebuhr as Christian Socialists

Presenter Information

Jessica Doscher, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor

Stephen Smith, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Political Science

Location

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 220

Start Date

24-4-2015 2:05 PM

Description

The Christian social justice movement in the United States is far from new. For years, men and women of the faith have rallied against the treatment of the poor and impoverished, coming from all walks of life and political persuasions. Dorothy Day and Reinhold Niebuhr are perhaps two of the most recognizable names in that regard, championing the fight against poverty and speaking out against the hypocrisies and inequalities that they viewed in the world around them. Despite fighting for like causes, Day and Niebuhr were two very different people. Day, a woman who was an open Leftist who found herself drawn to the Catholic Church, presents a sharp contrast with Niebuhr, who was a Protestant Calvinist. Socially, one again finds a distinct division. Day was an outspoken protester and rabble-rouser to those who did not care for her and lived among the poor to bring herself closer to God; Niebuhr was a seminary professor who wrote, thought, and wore suits. However, at the core, the ideologies of Day and Niebuhr had significant similarities as well as important differences. Day was a pacifist, and Niebuhr flirted with the idea on and off throughout his life, but even more than that, they both believed in equal treatment of the downtrodden and the exploited. This is no coincidence. What brought the two together was a combination of their religion and their political views, a combination that opens up new doors for analysis and understanding. In exploring both their Socialist ties and their core beliefs, one not only sees the extent to which these social justice ideas stretch across the span of Christianity, but also the fluidity and flexibility of the Socialist mindset concerning morality and faith, which ultimately acts as a guide for a person aspiring to live a good and moral life.

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Apr 24th, 2:05 PM

A Juxtaposition of Dorothy Day and Reinhold Niebuhr as Christian Socialists

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 220

The Christian social justice movement in the United States is far from new. For years, men and women of the faith have rallied against the treatment of the poor and impoverished, coming from all walks of life and political persuasions. Dorothy Day and Reinhold Niebuhr are perhaps two of the most recognizable names in that regard, championing the fight against poverty and speaking out against the hypocrisies and inequalities that they viewed in the world around them. Despite fighting for like causes, Day and Niebuhr were two very different people. Day, a woman who was an open Leftist who found herself drawn to the Catholic Church, presents a sharp contrast with Niebuhr, who was a Protestant Calvinist. Socially, one again finds a distinct division. Day was an outspoken protester and rabble-rouser to those who did not care for her and lived among the poor to bring herself closer to God; Niebuhr was a seminary professor who wrote, thought, and wore suits. However, at the core, the ideologies of Day and Niebuhr had significant similarities as well as important differences. Day was a pacifist, and Niebuhr flirted with the idea on and off throughout his life, but even more than that, they both believed in equal treatment of the downtrodden and the exploited. This is no coincidence. What brought the two together was a combination of their religion and their political views, a combination that opens up new doors for analysis and understanding. In exploring both their Socialist ties and their core beliefs, one not only sees the extent to which these social justice ideas stretch across the span of Christianity, but also the fluidity and flexibility of the Socialist mindset concerning morality and faith, which ultimately acts as a guide for a person aspiring to live a good and moral life.