- Director of Cornell United Religious Work
- Has stated that America must “see itself through the eyes of other nations” who have been victims of U.S. “colonialism and imperialism.”
Reverend Kenneth I. Clarke, Sr. is the director of Cornell United Religious Work (CURW), a department in Cornell University’s division of Student and Academic Services. CURW programs include worship services, religious studies classes, social events, and interfaith dialogues. Prior to his work at Cornell, Reverend Clarke was the director of the Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs at Pennsylvania State University.
A native of Baltimore, Clarke earned a Bachelors degree in English from Morgan State University, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, New York. He currently resides in Ithaca, New York with his wife Yolanda, who is the assistant dean of Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences.
Clark is political leftist. On September 11, 2002, he was the host and featured speaker of a Cornell University ceremony commemorating the victims of the horrific events that had occurred a year earlier. This event was advertised as one that would offer “reflections on the tragedy and comments on its continuing implications.” Instead, it quickly morphed into a leftwing rant on the evils of American oppression. Clarke compared the September 11 attacks to other world tragedies: “We share in the global community of tragedy. . . . Thirty years ago on September 11, Chilean President Salvador Allende was assassinated. On September 11, 1977, the South African leader Stephen Biko was killed. . . . We share in a collective tragedy.” He stated that America must “see itself through the eyes of other nations” who have been victims of U.S. “colonialism and imperialism.”
Clarke similarly commemorated the 9/11 attacks by denouncing America. “We must reject simplistic approaches and solutions to the [world’s] complex problems,” he said. “[We must] challenge our ideologies . . . we must consider the current war with Iraq and the degree of disquiet that is left with us as a society.” He added that Americans should consider the “sources of anger, hate, and dehumanization . . . that lead to acts of violence.” Citing the work of leftwing academic Martha Nussbaum, Clarke urged his listeners to “think beyond” America and instead look to the global community for solidarity. “We must have a deeper comprehension,” he said, “of the concern, anxiety, and fear [of others in the world] and understand the wrongs they suffer . . . [as well as] the societal problems we must address — racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-religious sentiment, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia.” He concluded his remarks by warning of the “hazard of [American] supremacy” and urging people to “seize the moment to grow [out of their] us versus them” mentality.
This profile was adapted from the article “Cornell Celebrates 9/11,” written by Joe Sabia and published by FrontPageMagazine.com on September 12, 2003.