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Letter from Reinhold Niebuhr to William Sloane Coffin, Jr., October 26, 1960.
William Sloane Coffin, Jr. Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Michael Pomeranz 09, On the University Chaplaincy

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Two days after Coffin wrote to Niebuhr, Niebuhr wrote Coffin about the Yale Chaplain's recent public lecture on civil disobedience. Reinhold Niebuhr, also a Yale graduate, was himself a leading theologian and intellectual. Known especially for his theological defenses of American policy during the Cold War, Niebuhr was a political liberal interested in civil disobedience and other national issues. This letter also demonstrates Coffin's position as public intellectual - the Yale man telling the world what to think about public affairs. Niebuhr invokes the language of the prophets, portraying Coffin as a light unto all nations.