RIP, Chuck Colson

The famous born-again Christian died today:

Chuck Colson, a former aide to Richard Nixon, evangelical leader, author and nonprofit founder, died Saturday at the age of 80.

He passed away at a hospital in Northern Virginia, three weeks after surgery to ease intercerebral hemorrhage — a large pool of clotted blood in his brain.

Colson was Nixon’s special counsel and was part of the Watergate scandal which led to Nixon’s resignation. He was known as the president’s “hatchet man,” and also served on Nixon’s re-election committee, which plotted and attempted to steal information from the Democratic Party headquarters.

Colson pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and served seven months of a one-to-three year prison sentence.

Prior to the start of his prison sentence, Colson became a born-again Christian. After his release from an Alabama prison, Colson founded Prison Fellowship, a nonprofit organization that conducts outreach to prisoners to “seek the transformation of prisoners… through the power and truth of Jesus Christ.”

According to his bio for Prison Fellowship, Colson formed the idea of Prison Fellowship when a fellow inmate told him “there ain’t nobody cares about us. Nobody!” Colson started the organization and ran it for 33 years.

Jim Liske, CEO of Prison Fellowship, told CBS News that Colson continued to meet with top elected officials and leaders but “would rather be in prison embracing an inmate.”


  1. This will give away my age (somewhat) but as a teenager I was something of a “Watergate history buff” (the entire saga, leading to President Nixon’s resignation, had consumed the minds of all the adults in my life and was the source of many intra-family debates). And, of course, Chuck Colson, who had been Nixon’s “enfant terrible,” was part of that drama. I read everything then available about him and John Dean and Jeb Stuart Magruder and Sen. Sam Ervin and the cast of hundreds.

    And, then, in the late 1970s, when newspapers reported that Chuck Colson had “gotten religion” while in the Big House, this jaded and cynical teenager — like most of America — scoffed. Still, truly, it turned out to be an extraordinary miracle of sorts, and a reminder that, as Isaiah wrote, “God’s ways are not our ways.”

    Chuck Colson — and his extraordinary story — deserve to be studied and understood and read by all of us. I never met the man, but I will miss him and pray for the repose of his soul and ask that he pray for mine as I suspect he’s in a better spot right now that I can ever hope to be.

  2. anitalounurse says:

    Wonderful works Mark. Could not agree more <3 God Bless you too.

  3. anitalounurse says:

    I meant words, not works. But “wonderful works” is a great testimony to Chuck Colson’s life and legacy. I am praying for him and his family also. <3

  4. Mark Greta says:

    We had the honor to meet Colson on several occasions and he was truly a person who had a major life changing experience and it rubbed off on those he worked with and those he served. The world was a better place for his life and as Mark quoted “God’s ways are not our ways.” Colson often used that quote when asked about his two very different lives. He gives me hope that I too might one day find a way to total surrender to God.

  5. Memory Eternal!

  6. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Hardly mentioned in the stories I have seen is the work Colson did to bring Catholics and Evangelicals together to support Christian activity in the “public square.”
    Unfortunately some of the media, so far, seem far more interested in highlighting his sins from long ago. I fear a lot of the media will be doing to Colson what was said by William Shakespeare in one of his plays: “The good was interred with his bones.”
    May he rest in peace!

  7. Deacon John:

    Watergate was too important an event in our nation that it will ( and has) been in the lead paragraph of the obituary of every major figure who was part of the story.

    Sill how is this for the lead in the Wall Street Journal tonight:

    “Before Charles Colson served God, he served Nixon.”

    I was only 12 when Nixon resigned but I was a very politically interested young man and like Mark very much recall rolling my eyes when I heard that hatchet man and political operative Colson had become ” born again” just in time I was sure for it to impact his ‘time off for good behavior’

    Boy did he ( with the grace of God) prove us all totally wrong. God’s ways are not our ways indeed! May he have already have heard the words we all pray to hear at the hour of our death “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter”

    ps – also from the WSJ today

    A prolific author, a radio commentator and a frequent speaker, Mr. Colson became one of the nation’s highest-profile evangelical figures. Before he was disabled by bleeding in his brain in March, he engaged in the debate over the Obama administration’s policy on contraception, describing it in an email as “the greatest threat to religious liberty in the history of this country.”

  8. May he be with our Lord now and rest eternal. A very good man who lived an incredible and worthy life.

  9. He did wonderful good for prisoners, which I pray will be credited to him now.

  10. His book “Loving God” was the turning point in my life that led me to conversion and the Catholic Church. He was a great man and his story is an inspiration for those called out of darkness into the light. Rest in Peace.

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