Hal Bass is professor emeritus of political science at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He is a member of the Good Faith Media strategic advisory board for news and opinion.
- What story, verse or passage from your faith tradition’s sacred texts has significantly influenced / shaped your life?
Matthew 22:21 – “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God, the things that are God’s.”
I am a political scientist. I have spent much of my professional career thinking about the intersections of politics and religion, church and state.
- Who are three people (other than your family) who have shaped your life and worldview? And why?
Dan Grant, president of Ouachita Baptist University, who hired me in 1976. The standard he sets for Christian citizenship is the one to which I aspire.
Avery Leiserson, my major professor in graduate school at Vanderbilt, who served as president of the American Political Science Association during my time there. Avery modeled for me what it means to be a professional political scientist.
Bill Sherman, our pastor at Woodmont Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, while I was in graduate school. We have kept in touch throughout the ensuing decades. By example and encouragement, Bill engaged me in Baptist life beyond the local church.
- List three of your “desert island” books, movies or TV shows.
Book: Any presidential biography, but I especially enjoy those featuring Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Movie: “A Man for All Seasons.” This account of the conflict between Thomas More and Henry VIII symbolizes the timeless tensions in the politics-religion relationship.
TV show: Any of the black-and-white episodes of the Andy Griffith Show featuring Barney Fife.
- What is one of the most critical issues people are facing today?
Confronted with the realities of heightened diversity and polarization, we find ourselves continually challenged to choose whether to build bridges or walls.
Do we retreat into our physical and intellectual enclaves, or do we reach out to those with whom we differ, in search for common ground? I aspire to be an effective bridge-builder.
- What are a few of your hobbies?
I enjoy reading, golf, cooking and spoiling our five grandchildren.
- If you could freeze your life into an already-lived 10 seconds, what would they be?
Without a doubt, they were my exchange of wedding vows with Mitzi on Jan. 8, 1972.
- Our tagline at Good Faith Media is, “There’s more to tell.” What’s your “more to tell”?
Having spent well over a half-century on college campuses, I am firmly committed to this guideline: Always bet on the future.
Reflection and resources at the intersection of faith and culture through an inclusive Christian lens.