Friday, April 15, 2005
Mark Hatfield, published a book in 1971 entitled Conflict and Conscience.
Ellie and I were involved at the Church of the Savior about that time where Wes Michaelson, one of the senator's aides, also worshipped. In those circles Mark was thought to be the one sure Christian in the Senate.
Our older readers may recall that in 1971 we were still suffering from the agonies of the Vietnam War. As usual in many Christian circles it was considered unpatriotic and unChristian to express any opposition to the war. Mark's book had some juicy quotes on that subject.
He began with several letters from constituents denouncing him for his anti-war sentiments; the first one reads:
"I thought you were the man for the job of senator because we need Christian men in vital places. But, when anyone chooses to go against the president of the United States the way you have, that's where my support ends. .... Yours in Christ". (This was perhaps the most moderate of the ones he quoted.)
"There is a theological 'silent majority' in our land who wrap their Bibles in the American flag, who believe that conservative politics is the necessary by-product of orthodox Christianity, who equate patriotism with the belief in national self-righteousness, and who regard political dissent as a mark of infidelity to the faith" (p 23).
Mark went on to lambast opposite extremists in the same way. He referred to the two groups as "Biblical Nationalists and Political Messiahs". Both "set forth rigid political criteria as the basis for judging another's Christian faith".
The spiritual scene today seems to differ little from what it was in those days. In fact neither differs much from the days of the High Priest of Israel (A.D. 33).