Hobart alum challenges religious fundamentalism
National Public Radio recently featured an interview with noted Hobart alumni Frederick Clarkson ’75, a nationally recognized expert on the religious right. Clarkson appeared on NPR’s “Fresh Air” as part of a debate about separation of church and state, Christian nationalism, and theocratic movements. The program also featured conservative leader D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries.
Clarkson is a well-known independent writer and political commentator. He specializes in covering the religious right and has been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and many other newspapers. Clarkson has made television appearances on Fox News, CNN, ABC’s 20/20, the CBS Evening News and the BBC.
Frequently asked to speak at colleges, churches and political organizations, Clarkson has written two critically acclaimed books “Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy” published by Common Courage Press. In the early ’90s he co-authored “Challenging the Christian Right: The Activist’s Handbook.”
Clarkson argues that the founders of the United States, although religious, specifically endeavored to remove established religion as a governing force in the federal government. “[Article 6 of the Constitution] unravels the false claim that the U.S. was founded as a ‘Christian nation.’ Indeed, it was Christians, members of established churches, who wrote the Constitution and who ratified it in the state legislatures. In that sense it was Christian political leaders who believed so deeply in the need for religious equality that they disestablished their own churches.”
Fresh Air is heard daily at 12 p.m. on WEOS, 89.7FM, the Colleges’ public radio station. NPR maintains an audio copy of Clarkson’s interview that can be accessed on the Web.