Charles Colson (1931-2012)
Former Nixon aide Charles ‘Chuck’ Colson, once described as an ‘evil genius’ by his political colleagues, died in April, aged 80.
Mr Colson, who was born in Boston, had been the key man during the Watergate years and spent several months in jail after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice. However, shortly before his stint in prison in 1974, Mr Colson became a born-again Christian.
Mr Colson founded the Prison Fellowship Ministries and became a philanthropic evangelist. He set up the US$50 million ministry, which aims to bring the gospel to prisoners across the world, in 1976.
According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Colson was reputed to have said, ‘he would walk over his own grandmother to get Nixon re-elected. Now, he would do the same to bring a soul to Jesus’.
The Telegraph report also said, ‘His prison ministry provided the inspiration for the sort of faith-based social initiatives favoured by the White House. He was said to be a key influence behind such luminaries of the Christian Right as then President George W. Bush’s deputy chief-of-staff Karl Rove’.
Mr Colson was once named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelical Christians in the US.
In 1993, the former lawyer won the $1 million Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. Colson’s book and film Born again remain as reminders of God’s dramatic intervention in the life of a political ‘hatchet man’.