- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Diane Knippers, an evangelical leader who encouraged conservative Christians to participate in politics, died April 18 of complications related to cancer at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington. She was 53.

Mrs. Knippers was named by Time magazine in February as one of the most influential evangelicals in America.

Since 1993, she was president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), a conservative Christian think tank based in the District.

“Diane was a mentor to many, on the IRD staff, and in the broader movement of church renewal,” IRD Vice President Alan Wisdom wrote on the think tank’s Web site (www.ird-renew.org). “She set an example of faithful Christian witness amid church and political conflicts.”

The daughter of a United Methodist minister, Mrs. Knippers was born Jan. 6, 1952, in Rushville, Ind. She received a bachelor’s degree from Asbury College, a Christian school in Wilmore, Ky., and a master’s degree in sociology of religion from the University of Tennessee.

She worked for Good News, a renewal group within the United Methodist Church, until 1982, when she was hired by IRD.

Mrs. Knippers wrote extensively for the think tank, and her articles appeared in magazines and newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, Christianity Today, the Weekly Standard and The Washington Times.

She also appeared on CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes,” CNBC’s “Capital Report,” Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor” and PBS’ “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.”

“The members of the IRD staff show the results of Diane’s wise influence. We will miss her presence among us,” Mr. Wisdom said. “But I am confident that God’s grace has equipped us through Diane, and will continue to equip us to carry her work forward.”

Mrs. Knippers served on the boards of the National Association of Evangelicals, the American Anglican Council and the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, as well as the steering committee of Anglican Mainstream International.

She was a member of Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax, serving as a warden on the vestry.

She is survived by her husband of 19 years, artist Edward Knippers Jr. of Arlington; her parents, Clarence and Vera LeMasters, of Lakeland, Fla.; and a brother, Douglas LeMasters, of Fairfax.

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