“One of the many burdens of the person professing Christianity has always been the odium likely to be heaped upon him by fellow Christians quick to smell out, denounce and punish fraud, hypocrisy and general unworthiness among those who assert the faith. In ruder days, disputes about what constituted a fully qualified Christian often led to sordid quarrels in which the disputants tortured, burned and hanged each other in the conviction that torture, burning and hanging were Christian things to do….”
– Russell Baker
Russell Wayne Baker is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer known for his satirical commentary and self-critical prose.
Baker was born in Morrisonville, Virginia. He received his B.A. from the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in 1947. He went on to become an essayist, journalist and biographer, as well as the host of the PBS show Masterpiece Theatre from 1992 to 2004.
Neil Postman, in the preface to Conscientious Objections, describes Baker as “…like some fourth century citizen of Rome who is amused and intrigued by the Empire’s collapse but who still cares enough to mock the stupidities that are hastening its end. He is, in my opinion, a precious national resource, and as long as he does not get his own television show, America will remain stronger than Russia.” (1991, xii) He received his Pulitzer Prizes for the New York Times “Observer” column he wrote, and for his memoir entitled “Growing Up.”