Archive for September 22nd, 2011

The Death of Sen. Mark Hatfield

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

One of my heroes as a young Christian has passed away: Senator Mark Hatfield (August 7). Wes Granberg-Michaelson has a fine obituary in the current Christian Century. Thanks to David Jacobson for pointing this out, and for indicating the following important paragraph from the article:

Yet Hatfield was wary of attempts to use religion to give a patina of righteousness to political power. Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1973, with President Nixon on one side and Billy Graham on the other, he said, “If we as leaders appeal to the god of civil religion, our faith is in a small and exclusive deity, a loyal spiritual Adviser to power and prestige, a Defender of only the American nation, the object of a folk religion devoid of moral content.” Speaking against the backdrop of Vietnam, Hatfield said that “we must turn in repentance from the sin that scarred our national soul.” Few of his speeches received such widespread attention as this one did. His prophetic words touched many people—and solidified his position on President Nixon’s “enemies list.”


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