Those familiar with Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentaries on faith and society might not recognize the work as being that of an ex-con. But then again, Colson is no typical ex-con.
From 1969-1973, Colson acted as then-President Nixon's special counsel. In an administration already known for its tough guys, Colson was the toughest. He was known as the White House "hatchet man," and the media once referred to him as "incapable of humanitarian thought."
Then Colson found himself caught up in the Watergate scandal. He had helped to organize the illegal wiretapping of Democratic headquarters, and in 1973 Colson realized he was in big trouble. After some hesitation, Colson took a friend's counsel and turned to God in his moment of distress. He found something in Christianity that changed his life. Of course, outsiders had a hard time believing that the "hatchet man's" faith was genuine. When news of Colson's conversion to Christianity reached the press, the Boston Globe wrily commented, "If Mr. Colson can repent of his sins, there just has to be hope for everybody."
Colson entered Alabama's Maxwell Prison in 1974 as a new Christian, and gained the vision there that led him to found Prison Fellowship Ministries in 1976 after his release. While an inmate, he promised his fellow prisoners that he would "never forget those behind bars." He fulfilled his promise by investing the royalties from his book Born Again to begin Prison Fellowship.
Today there is no larger outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, crime victims, and their families in the world than Prison Fellowship Ministries. The Christian nonprofit has more than 50,000 prison ministry volunteers in 88 nations. Its programs range from various programs for prisoners and ex-prisoners; to Justice Fellowship, aimed at reforming the criminal justice system; to Angel Tree, which annually provides more than 500,000 children of inmates with Christmas presents on behalf of their incarcerated parents. In 1991, Colson also launched a daily radio commentary called "BreakPoint," which aims to provide a Christian worldview on everyday issues. BreakPoint, which is aired daily on over 1000 radio outlets nationwide, is a Silver partner of Townhall.com.
Colson has received many awards in recognition of his contributions to society. These awards include the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion (1993), Dominos Pizza Corporation's Humanitarian Award (1991), The Salvation Army's Others Award (1990), and several honorary doctorates from various colleges and universities. Colson donated the $1 million Templeton Prize to Prison Fellowship, and he consistently gives all of his speaking honoraria and book royalties to the organization as well.
Today, the efforts of Nixon's former hatchet man have made a huge dent in the lives of countless prisoners and prisoners' children, and have even influenced federal criminal justice legislation. President Bush referred often to Prison Fellowship's InnerChange Freedom Initiative Program when calling for support for faith-based initiatives. The prolific conservative has also published 38 books which have captured the hearts of millions of Americans over the last 25 years.
Just before Thanksgiving, researchers in Wisconsin and Japan announced a breakthrough in stem-cell research. This time, it was good news for those of us who believe in the sanctity of human life.
Despite howls of protest, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue publicly prayed that God would send rain to his drought-stricken state. It is exactly what the Pilgrims would have done—and did.
I was deeply moved by Navy Lt. Michael Murphy's story, which is recounted in Marcus Luttrell’s riveting bestseller, but R-rated book, Lone Survivor. What better time than Veterans Day to remind our youth of these precious stories?
Since late September, the crackdown on pro-democracy forces in Burma has brought unwelcome attention to one of the most oppressive regimes on Earth. Given the coverage, people might be surprised to learn that Burma not only has a substantial Christian population, but that these Christians have long been the junta’s preferred target.
This week is White Ribbon against Pornography Week—a good time to remind ourselves of how destructive porn is. The numbers are staggering.
Having grown up in Boston buying 60-cent seats to the bleachers to watch my heroes, the Red Sox, I became a lifelong fan. But now they are playing the Colorado Rockies, which is going to test my loyalty as a member of the Red Sox nation.
One of the most disillusioning recent moments for me was when the New York Times ran that ad—at a discount, by the way—for MoveOn.org calling General Petraeus “General Betray Us.” This honorable West Point graduate with a distinguished military career: We do this to him?
Hundreds of thousands of American military personnel have placed their lives on the line for an ungrateful nation. And there is plenty of blame to go around.
A 1991 Book-of-the-Month Club and Library of Congress survey asked members which book had most influenced their lives. As expected, the Bible finished first. Unexpectedly, Rand’s most famous book, the novel Atlas Shrugged, finished second.
One of the biggest obstacles facing what’s called the “New Atheism” is the issue of morality.
Under intense goading from the gay-rights lobby, the House of Representatives is poised to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, called ENDA. This legislation would add “sexual orientation” to civil rights law. If passed, ENDA would cut deeply into the religious rights and freedoms of all Americans.
Every time you turn around, a presidential candidate whips out his Bible—or a position paper—to let us know how faithful he or she is. Senator John Edwards (D-N.C.) says God "would be happy with the fact that" he's focused on people without health care. Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) says we should "discuss religion . . . in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations towards one another." Republicans, also, are quick to point out how faith informs their policies.
It is good to be back to work this week, refreshed from our summer breaks. Patty and I took our time in August to visit our son and daughter-in-law and their two children at their beach cottage on the lovely island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts—yes, that Martha’s Vineyard, made famous by the Kennedys, the Clintons, and scores of other politicians and media figures who take refuge on this lovely wooded island, covered with charming cedar-shingled cottages, rocky wind-swept coastlines, and surrounded by yachts.
Since 1782, the Latin phrase E pluribus unum—“out of many, one”—has appeared on the Great Seal of the United States.
A young coed named Heather paid a visit to her campus health clinic. She told the doctor she was suffering from depression. The doctor explored possible causes, but Heather could not come up with any reasons for her sadness. Oh, wait—there is one thing, she remembered. Since Thanksgiving, she said, “I’ve had a ‘friend with benefits.’” That is, a male friend that she is not in a relationship with, but has casual sex with.
As the summer grinds on, the war of words over the real war in Iraq is growing hotter every day. Critics of the war are saying that the American people are fed up and want the troops to come home; that the Iraqi government needs to step up and take responsibility for the growing violence; that the war is straining our military—and our soldiers—to the breaking point.
Are Americans gradually becoming illiterate? It’s not because we never learned to read, but because we’re relying more and more on images instead of words.
The lead in a recent Washington Post article paints a disturbing picture: “Children rank as the highest source of personal fulfillment for their parents but have dropped to one of the least-cited factors in a successful marriage, according to a national survey.”
I have what some might consider the macabre habit of reading the casualty reports from Iraq every day in the New York Times. This may reflect the fact that I served in the military or that I worked in the White House during Vietnam.
Recently, scientists warned that the red knot, a small shorebird, might join the Dodo on the list of birds driven to extinction by human activity.