Race and gender may have been the most visible currents in the 2008 presidential primaries, but what really unsettled the political waters was a riptide of religion, and perhaps we could call Reinhold Niebuhr Barack Obama’s theologian. Parts of The Irony of American History are time-bound, but Neibuhr does sketch an existential drama that is born of the human condition. He appropriates the ideas of tragedy, pathos, and irony to portray three enduring theories of human nature and destiny. With Abraham Lincoln as his exemplar, the preacher casts his lot with irony.
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