Reverend Richard John Neuhaus (May 14, 1936 - Jan. 8, 2009) founded of The Institute on Religion and Public Life, a nonpartisan interreligious research and education institute in New York City. He was also editor-in-chief of the Institute’s publication, First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life. Among the best known of his more than 20 books are Freedom for Ministry and The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America, a book widely regarded as the blueprint for President Ronald Reagan’s policy on religion in public life.
As a Lutheran clergyman who later converted to Catholicism, he was for seventeen years senior pastor of a low-income parish in Brooklyn, New York. He played a leadership role in organizations dealing with civil rights, international justice, and ecumenism. Father Neuhaus was one of the primary architects of Evangelicals and Catholics Together, a document that aimed to identify common ground in Christian faith. His work has been the subject of feature articles in popular and scholarly publications around the world. He was also the recipient of numerous honors from universities and other institutions, including the John Paul II Award for Religious Freedom. He has held presidential appointments in the Carter, Reagan, and first Bush administrations. In a survey of national leadership, U.S. News and World Report named Father Neuhaus one of 32 “most influential intellectuals in America.” In September 1991, he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.
Born in Canada, Neuhaus received his formal education in Ontario and in the United States and is a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.