Mark Hatfield, a high profile United States Senator and Governor of Oregon, died yesterday, Sunday, August 7, 2011 at a Portland residence. He had become increasingly frail for the last couple of years. He was as much known for his Christian faith as he was as a politician. This writer got to know him through our frequent appearances together on The PTL Club, the international Christian TV program out of Charlotte, North Carolina, hosted by Jim and Tammy Bakker.
He was a Republican, but was known as a liberal in politics. He was against nuclear war, but he was not a pacifist. He supported programs to aid the poor, but wanted to put an end to welfare. He was a friend to Billy Graham, co-sponsored a resolution with Sen.Edward Kennedy and he would become the Chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee.
While he would often vote against a measure that 90 percent of his constituents wanted, they would continue to reelect him to office. As the New York Times lamented, "He does not fit the mold."
In an October 23, 1982 interview with Christianity Today (CT), Hatfield recalled that he responded to Jesus in April of 1935. He went to Williamette University, a Methodist school in Salem, where he had to attend chapel every day, three days a week.
He served in the navy in 1943, and carried with him a little New Testament that his parents gave him, which he kept with him right up to the end of his life.