A bust of Mark O. Hatfield from the Oregon capitol. Attribution Some rights reserved by GlenBledsoe.

The peaceable senator

Mark O. Hatfield, 1922–2011

In the midst of today's rancorous politics and the trivialization of religion in the public square, the death of Mark O. Hatfield on August 7 called to mind a different kind of political style and a different kind of Christian political witness.

When Hatfield entered the U.S. Senate as a Republican from Oregon in 1967, the Vietnam War hung over the nation like a dark cloud. He had already registered his opposition to the war by casting the lone vote against Lyndon Johnson's policies at the national governors' conference. He joined Democratic Senator George McGovern in 1970 to introduce legislation to cut off funds for the war. Following President Nixon's invasion of Cambodia that year, that legislation became the political focus of the antiwar movement.

 

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