In Memoriam: Diane Knippers


The Dude was singing to himself in the back seat: “There’s a hole in the world tonight. . . ”

He didn’t know it, but it’s true. With the loss of Diane Knippers, after a brave battle with cancer, at 2:00 this afternoon, there is a hole in the world tonight.

Diane Small.jpg
Diane Knippers

There will be a lot said and written about Diane in the coming days — as President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, she was recently named as one of the nation’s top 25 most influential evangelical leaders by Time magazine.

But I just knew Diane as my friend.

She so deserved that honor from Time. And I’m sure she was pleased about it. But that kind of recognition was not what Diane was about.

When I first moved to Washington D.C., straight out of college, Diane took me out to lunch. She was a busy woman, everyone in Washington is, but I do remember that she asked a lot of questions and let the lunch go long. It was the kind of lunch that you leave feeling a little chagrined that you talked too much . . . because she listened, and she cared.

That’s who Diane was. She wasn’t about landing in Time magazine. “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” (Samuel Johnson) That was me — no gain for Diane. I was young, and needed a friend, and she was one. Even in a town where they say there is no such thing as a friend.

In a city marked by ambition and compromise, Diane modeled conviction, dediction to purpose and a purity of faith.

Truly, there’s a hole in the world tonight. . .


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