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Check The Fundamentals

June 25, 1995

I am the author of the Heritage Foundation report on the National Endowment for the Arts to which Christopher Knight alludes in his June 11 review of Alice Marquis's book, "Art Lessons." As when he attacked the report in a 1991 Times column characterized by name calling and innuendo, he offers no evidence of inaccuracies on my part. On the other hand, he himself displays little regard for the truth when he mischaracterizes my current employer, Family Research Council, as a "fundamentalist Christian organization." For the record, we have nothing against fundamentalists, but we are a nonpartisan, non-sectarian public policy research and advocacy organization whose staff includes Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans and evangelicals. Knight may not know the difference between a "fundamentalist" and the theologies of these denominations, but it is disappointing when a newspaper of the caliber of the Times puts such mischaracterizations into print.

Four years later, I still get request for copies of the Heritage study from media, academics and Capitol Hill staff. The study has become a foundational document in efforts to reform the NEA. Artist Frederick Hart, a former member of the District of Columbia Fine Arts Commission who sculpted the "Creation" facade of the National Cathedral and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial statue, said the study was the finest analysis of the NEA he had ever seen.

That's good enough for me.

ROBERT H. KNIGHT, Director of Cultural Studies, WASHINGTON D.C.

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