NEW YORK (AP) - A leading intellectual of the Christian right has died; the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, founder of the religion and public policy journal First Things, was 72.
President George W. Bush says "Father Neuhaus was an inspirational leader, admired theologian and accomplished author who devoted his life to the service of the Almighty and to the betterment of our world." Bush said he was also a "dear friend" and that he "treasured his wise counsel and guidance."
First Things editor Joseph Bottum says Neuhaus died from the side effects of treatment for cancer.
A one-time Lutheran minister, Neuhaus led a predominantly African-American congregation in Brooklyn in the 1960s, advocating for civil rights and protesting the Vietnam War.
He later broke with the left, partly over the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling legalizing abortion. He converted to Catholicism in 1990, and a year later was ordained a priest.
He then worked to break down the historic mistrust between evangelicals and Catholics over their theological differences.
He laid out his argument in the influential book, "Evangelicals and Catholics Together: Toward a Common Mission," which he edited
with Watergate-figure-turned-born-again Christian, Chuck Colson.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)