Note: Mark O. Hatfield, longtime United States Senator and Oregon Governor, died Sunday, August 7, 2011. Christianity Today will soon be publishing his obituary, but in the meantime we offer this extensive interview, which was the cover story of our October 22, 1982, issue (the last issue for which Kenneth S. Kantzer served as editor). The interview concludes with a question about whether Hatfield planned to seek reelection; he did, and continued to serve in the Senate until 1997. He never lost an election.
What makes Sen. Mark Hatfield so different? Newsmen and radio commentators find it difficult to place him in a neat pigeonhole. As the New York Times puts it: "Mr. Hatfield does not fit the mold." He is a Republican, but is known as a liberal in politics. He is against nuclear war, but he is not a pacifist. He supports all sorts of programs to aid the poor, but he is a diehard fiscal conservative. He is a friend of Billy Graham, and he cosponsors a resolution with Sen. Edward Kennedy. He has never been a "wheel" of the Senate's power structure, but he has become chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee. He antagonizes his Oregon constituency by voting flatly against a measure 90 percent of them badly want, and they turn right around and reelect him to office. He is a devout evangelical and an active member of Georgetown Baptist Church, but no fundamentalist or evangelical organization has him in its pocket.
What makes that kind of man? We believe this interview will reveal his secret: it is his deep commitment to Jesus Christ and a conscience structured and refined by Holy Scripture as his own final rule of faith and practice.
Senator, would you describe your spiritual and religious roots?
I am convinced that ...