Chuck Colson passed away yesterday at the age of 80. I never had the honor of meeting him but he was one of those political characters from my youth. My father once told me of a political dirty trick instigated by Chuck Colson in 1966 on behalf of Elliot Richardson in the Massachusetts race for Attorney General. The target was Francis X Bellotti, the Democratic nominee for AG. With about a week before the general election, a rumor was floated through the media that Bellotti was taking campaign money from members of the Mafia. The rumor was not true but by the time the truth came out ( remember, this was before the Internet), Bellotti’s support imploded and Richardson won the race.
Chuck Colson later became an advisor to Richard Nixon. Colson, a former Marine, was not only politically astute but was mentally and physically tough. He was the epitome of the saying: “No greater friend, no worse enemy.”
Chuck Colson had power and prestige. He also ended up in legal trouble for using his political office to go after Daniel Ellsberg and spent time in jail. It was this time in prison when Chuck Colson became a great man. Colson accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and began a 40 year journey preaching the Gospel word to prisoners and non-prisoners. To be sure, he had many skeptics who (still) believed that his conversion was an act to minimalize his prison sentence. His dedication to his ministry and personal humility belie such silly speculation.
Unfortunately, we still live in a society incapable of forgiving political sins. For many, Chuck Colson’s greatest sin was becoming a Christian. These folks never will understand the essence of life. Perhaps, the legacy of Chuck Colson will influence them and continue to influence many others.
Godspeed, Chuck Colson.