Guest / Limited Access /

For nearly four decades, perhaps American evangelicals' most prominent and admired politician was a man associated with liberal politics, one of the country's leading voices against the Vietnam War and military spending, and a critic of the nascent religious right.

Mark Hatfield, who served 30 years in the U.S. Senate and two terms as governor of Oregon, died Sunday, August 7, at age 89.

"For a certain sector of evangelicalism, he was the political hero," said David R. Swartz, assistant professor of history at Asbury University. "He was morally upstanding, explicitly spiritual, and they really admired him for identifying as an evangelical so publically. Someone admired by the secularists and political elite was exhilarating for them, especially before the 1970s Newsweek cover on 'The Year of the Evangelical.' Hatfield offered respectability they craved."

Indeed, Hatfield's outspoken faith earned him the nickname (used both warmly and derisively) "Saint Mark" among his colleagues. But his staunch opposition to the Vietnam War also put him at odds with many evangelical leaders. A group called the Christian Freedom Foundation, with heavy backing from Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, sought to "get rid of those so-called liberal Christians like Mark Hatfield." Bright himself promised "to pray the wrath of God on Mark Hatfield," though he had invited Hatfield to join Campus Crusade's board of directors in the late 1950s, when the politician was Oregon's secretary of state. (Hatfield himself had become interested in Campus Crusade while teaching political science at Willamette University, where he was an advisor to the chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.)

Wheaton College president Hudson Armerding felt that ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueOur Sustaining Force
Subscriber Access Only Our Sustaining Force
How the gospel truth lightens our load.
RecommendedTrump Won. Here's How 20 Evangelical Leaders Feel.
Trump Won. Here's How 20 Evangelical Leaders Feel.
Pastors, authors, and others weigh in on 2016 election.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickThe Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
The Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
How the New Testament offers a better, higher calling than the Declaration of Independence.
Christianity Today
Mark Hatfield, Maverick Evangelical Politician, Dies at 89
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

August 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.