In 1936, Neuhaus was born in Pembroke, Ontario, Canada, to a Lutheran pastor and his wife. Later the family moved to the United States, and Neuhaus attended a Lutheran seminary in Austin, Texas. He then did graduate studies at Concordia Theological Seminary before working as a pastor in Brooklyn, emphasizing civil rights and empowerment for his mainly African-American and Puerto Rican congregation. Involved in liberal politics for many years, Neuhaus changed course to adopt a more conservative mind frame.
His emphasis turned to each individual's personal relationship with God, promoting faith-based charities. He advocates less government involvement and more public, Christian action to combat social problems. Neuhaus converted to Catholicism and became ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1991. An already prolific author and editor, he works and writes to help bring understanding to both Catholics and Protestants, trying to bridge a large religious gap between the denominations. Neuhaus started the Institute on Religious Public Life and is editor-in-chief of its journal First Things, promoting neoconservative ideas. An unofficial advisor to President George W. Bush, Neuhaus stays active in politics, religion, and writing. He penned the foreword to Welfare Reformed and has written many books and articles of his own, including the popular book The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy.
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