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.
Wesley Granberg-Michaelson’s most recent book is From Times Square to Timbuktu: The Post-Christian West Meets the Non-Western Church. He served for 17 years as the general secretary of the Reformed Church in America and has been active in several ecumenical initiatives, including Christian Churches Together in the USA and the Global Christian Forum.