Charles Colson

From Academic Kids

Charles Wendell "Chuck" Colson was the chief counsel for President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973. His later life has been spent working with his nonprofit organization devoted to prison ministry called Prison Fellowship. Colson is also a public speaker and author.

Colson was born in Boston in 1931 and earned his B.A. from Brown University and his J.D., with honors, from George Washington University. Colson served in the Marine Corps from 1953 to 1955.

In 1969, Colson was appointed as Counsel to President Nixon. Colson also became involved in the Committee to Re-elect the President (CRP). Known as President Nixon's hatchet man, he once bragged, "Id walk over my own grandmother to re-elect Richard Nixon." At a CRP meeting on March 21st, 1971, it was agreed to spend $250,000 on "intelligence gathering" on the Democratic Party. Colson and John Erhlichmann appointed E. Howard Hunt to the White House Special Operations Unit (the so-called "Plumbers"). Colson organized the Plumber's burglary of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office in September 1971. Colson hoped that revelations about Ellsberg could be used to discredit the anti-war left.

In 1974 Colson pleaded nolo contendere (no contest) to obstruction of justice in the Ellsberg case. He was given a one-to-three year sentence. He served seven months in Maxwell Correctional Facility in Alabama.

Several months before his plea, Colson became an evangelical Christian. Editorial comics in several U. S. newspapers, as well as Newsweek and Time, ridiculed the conversion, claiming that it was a ploy to reduce his sentence.

After his release from prison, Colson founded Prison Fellowship. Colson has worked to promote prisoner rehabilitation and reform of the prison system in the United States. He disdains the "lock 'em and leave 'em" warehousing approach to criminal justice. He led the effort that liberated Elizabeth Morgan from prison.

Colson has helped to create faith-based prisons whose populations come from inmates who choose to participate in them. He also maintains a variety of media channels which discusses contemporary issues from an Evangelical Protestant worldview. Colson is the author of over twenty books. The royalties from those books are donated to Prison Fellowship.

In October 2002, Colson, along with several other prominent American evangelical leaders, was a co-signer of the Land letter to President Bush which outlined a "just war" endorsement of the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq.

On June 1, 2005 Colson appeared in the national news commentating on the revelation that W. Mark Felt was Deep Throat. Colson expressed disapproval in Felt's role in the Watergate scandal and suggested that if Felt could not remain loyal President Nixon, then he should have simply resigned.


  • Charles W. Colson, Born Again, New Jersey: Chosen Books, Inc., 1976, ISBN 9060672836.
  • Charles W. Colson, Loving God, New York: HarperPaperbacks, 1983, ISBN 0061040037.
  • William A. Dembski, Charles W. Colson, The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design, Inter Varsity Press, 2004, ISBN 0830823751.
  • Burden of Truth: Defending the Truth in an Age of Unbelief (Tyndale House 1998) ISBN 0842301909.
  • Life Sentence (Revell 1999) ISBN 0800786688.
  • How Now Shall We Live? (Tyndale House 1999) ISBN 0842318089.
  • The Body (W Pub. Group 1994) ISBN 0849935792.
  • Being The Body (W Pub. Group 2003) ISBN 0849917522.

Note: Mr. Colson has a long list of publications, collaborations and has written forewords for several other books.

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