Uwe Siemon-Netto (born October 25, 1936), the former religion editor of United Press International, is an international columnist and a Lutheran lay (non-ordained) theologian. He is the founder and emeritus director of the Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life (CLTPL) and League of Faithful Masks, a non-profit religious corporation based in Capistrano Beach, California. CLTPL/LFM champions the Lutheran doctrine of vocation as an antidote against the destructive force of contemporary narcissism.This doctrine holds that Christians have a divine calling to serve their neighbor in all their secular endeavors. CLTPL was formerly located at Concordia Seminary St. Louis, Mo., where Siemon-Netto served as scholar-in-residence until 2009. As a journalist, Siemon-Netto specializes in issues relating to faith and society, and in foreign affairs. He is a correspondent of freepressers.com, an internet publication, and was a contributor of The Atlantic Times, an English-language monthly newspaper produced by leading German journalists for the North American market; he also taught as a visiting professor of journalism at Concordia University Irvine. He publishes his regular commentaries on his blog site, www.uwesiemon.blogspot.com.
Siemon-Netto began his journalism career 1956 as a trainee at Westfalenpost, a large regional newspaper in southern Westphalia. In 1958, he joined the Associated Press in Frankfurt first as copy editor, then as slot editor and roving reporter, covering, among other things, the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. From 1962 to 1969, he worked as a correspondent for Springer Foreign News Service in London, Paris, New York, Vietnam, the Middle East and Hong Kong. His assignments included the United Nations, the U.S. civil rights movement, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War (over a period of five years),the Arab-Israeli Six Day War, and China's Cultural Revolution. From 1969 to 1973 Siemon-Netto was North American correspondent for the magazine, Der Stern, writing about many major news events in North, Central and South America, East Asia, France, and again Vietnam.
From 1973 to 1986, Siemon-Netto served as Managing Editor for Hamburger Morgenpost, taught journalism at Hamburg's Journalistenschule Henri Nannen, worked as a freelance correspondent for German, Swiss, French and U.S. publications, and as a media consultant overseeing a variety of design and management tasks at publications in Germany and the United States.
In mid-career, at age 50, he began his theological studies, first in Chicago, then in Boston. During these studies, Siemon-Netto freelanced as a magazine correspondent.At the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and Germany's subsequent reunification, he served, concurrently with his academic work, as an editorial consultant and—as independent contractor—executive editor for Bild, launching its East German editions, helping plan newspapers for Leipzig and Dresden, training Eastern German journalists and developing a new curriculum for Journalistenschule Axel Springer.
From 1993 to 1994 he managed the redesign of Der Tagesspiegel, a Berlin daily, the Scientific American, in New York, and idea-Spektrum, a Protestant magazine in Wetzlar, Germany. He also co-founded CA-Confessio Augustana, a Lutheran quarterly magazine in Neuendettelsau, Bavaria. From 2000-2005, he was religious affairs editor of United Press International and a Washington-based columnist for a variety of German-language publications.
He attended a variety of schools in Germany. He studied for his M.A. in theology at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. His Ph.D. in theology and sociology of religion is from Boston University under Peter L. Berger, Carter Lindberg and Uri Ra'Anan. He spent a post-doctoral year at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, N.J. working on a project to bridge the gap between theology and the media.
Honors and awards
- D.Litt, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. (2004).
- Friedrich Hecker Freedom Award (2009).
- Siemon-Netto, Uwe. The Fabricated Luther: The Rise and Fall of the Shirer Myth. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1995, 17–20.
Selected articles and essays
- Siemon-Netto, Uwe. "Bewitched By Bolivar." Civilization 7 (April/May 2000) No. 2:78–86.
- _______________. "I Was an East German, Elian Gonzalez." Wall Street Journal – Eastern Edition 235 04/06/2000) No. 69:A22.
- _______________. "J.S. Bach in Japan." First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion & Public Life (June/July 2000) No. 104:15–17.
- _______________. "Luther and Hitler : Friends or Foes?" 35 Dialog: a Journal of Theology(Summer 1996):188–192.
- _______________. "Luther and the Jews." Lutheran Witness 123 (2004) No. 4:16–19.
- _______________. "Luther versus Lenin." Lutheran Quarterly ns 5 (Winter 1991):403–417.
- _______________. "The Next Pope." National Interest (Winter2003/2004) No. 74:109-114.
- _______________. "Sonderweg." National Interest (Winter2002/2003) No. 70:33–44.
- Siemon-Netto, Uwe. The Acquittal of God: a theology for Vietnam veterans. New York: Pilgrim Press, 1990; ISBN 0-8298-0833-7.
- _______________. The Fabricated Luther : the rise and fall of the Shirer myth. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1995; ISBN 0-570-04800-1.
- _______________. Luther als Wegbereiter Hitlers?: zur Geschichte eines Vorurteils Gütersloh : Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1993; ISBN 3-579-02203-2.
- _______________. One incarnate truth: Christianity's answer to spiritual chaos. Concordia Publishing House, 2002; ISBN 0758602774;
- _______________. Duc: A reporter's love for the wounded people of Vietnam. Amazon, 2013; ISBN 978-1482692808
- _______________. On the brink: the myth of German anti-Americanism Washington, D.C. : Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1982; ISBN 0-89633-056-7.