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For immediate release
June 28, 2005
Contact:
Chad Campbell, NPR:
ccampbell@npr.org | 202.513.2404

Social and Political Commentator Andrew Sullivan's Personal Essay on This I Believe, the NPR Series Exploring Values

In celebration of July 4, Sullivan Shares His Essay Exploring Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness on Morning Edition

Sullivan Joins Colin Powell, Director Errol Morris and John Updike Among Contributors to Series


WASHINGTON - This I Believe, the NPR® weekly series of personal essays about core values and beliefs - a contemporary version of Edward R. Murrow's landmark 1950s project - will celebrate Independence Day with commentator Andrew Sullivan's thoughts on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness on the July 4 edition of Morning Edition®.

Sullivan, a popular social and political commentator and blogger, states in his This I Believe essay that "I believe in freedom of speech and of contract, the right to offend and blaspheme, as well as the right to convert and bear witness. I believe that these freedoms are connected - the freedom of the fundamentalist and the atheist, the female and the male, the black and the Asian, the gay and the straight." He adds, "I believe in the pursuit of happiness. Not its attainment, nor its final definition, nor its necessity, nor even its joy - but its pursuit. I believe that virtue and happiness are as elusive as they are indivisible."

Sullivan is former editor-in-chief of The New Republic and author of several books including Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality, which was the first to argue for civil marriage rights for gay couples, Same Sex Marriage: Pro and Con and Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex and Survival. He also writes for Time Magazine and the Sunday Times of London.

Sullivan joins an impressive list of essayists who have contributed to the series since it made its premiere April 4; participants have included former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Academy Award-winning director Errol Morris, authors John Updike and Isabel Allende, psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison and scientist Brian Greene. This I Believe also features the work of NPR listeners from around the country who have responded with essays on a variety of subjects.

During its original run in the 1950s, Murrow's This I Believe launched a national dialogue about core values and beliefs. The contemporary version covers a broad spectrum of topics such as compassion, faith, love, the power of change, the importance of knowledge, the value of family and tolerance. The essays range from poignant to humorous, and provide unique insight what Americans believe in the 21st century. This I Believe essay writing has already been incorporated into the activities of schools, community groups, places of worship and even birthday celebrations. This I Believe essays have been read or played at weddings and funerals. Additionally, blogs have been launched based on the concept by groups as diverse as college students, senior citizens and people affiliated with various religious and political associations. The segments air every Monday, alternating between NPR's signature newsmagazines Morning Edition and All Things Considered®.

To date, all of the aired This I Believe essays have ranked among the top e-mailed stories on www.npr.org. To listen to past essays or to submit an essay, please visit www.npr.org/thisibelieve.

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 26 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 780 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, npr.org offers hourly newscasts, special features and eight years of archived audio and information.