The current administration is going to extreme measures to take away the values we, as Christians, hold dear. In light of recent events in Washington, Dr. Dobson and Chuck Colson discuss the issues of infringement of religious liberties and legislation being pushed through. There is a war at hand and it is time for us to stop sitting on the sidelines. Listen, be inspired and get involved!
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More than 30 years ago, Charles W. Colson was not thinking about reaching out to prison inmates or reforming the U.S. penal system.
In fact, this aide to President Richard Nixon was "incapable of humanitarian thought," according to the media of the mid-1970s.
Colson was known as the White House "hatchet man," a man feared by even the most powerful politicos during his four years of service to President Nixon.
When news of Colson's conversion to Christianity leaked to the press in 1973, the Boston Globe reported, "If Mr. Colson can repent of his sins, there just has to be hope for everybody."
Colson would agree. He admits he was guilty of political "dirty tricks" and willing to do almost anything for the cause of his president and his party.
In 1974, Colson entered a plea of guilty to Watergate-related charges; although not implicated in the Watergate burglary, he voluntarily pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the Daniel Ellsberg case.
He entered Alabama's Maxwell Prison in 1974 as a new Christian and as the first member of the Nixon administration to be incarcerated for Watergate-related charges. He served seven months of a one-to-three year sentence before being released.
But Colson never really left prison. Haunted by the desperation and hopelessness he saw behind bars, Colson knew he had to do something to help the men he left behind. In fact, he had a promise to keep.
One day, shortly before leaving prison, Colson was going about his business in the prison dorm while some inmates played cards. Suddenly, one of the players, a six-foot-tall prisoner named Archie, bellowed, "Hey, Colson. You'll be out of here soon. What are you going to do for us?"
Suddenly, the whole room fell silent. All ears were straining to hear the answer. "I'll help in some way," replied Colson. "I'll never forget you guys or this stinking place."
"Bull!" roared Archie, slamming down the pack of cards on the table. "You all say that. I've seen big shots like you come and go. They all say the same things while they're inside. Then they get out and forget us fast. There ain't nobody cares about us. Nobody!"
But today, 35 years later, thousands upon thousands of Christian volunteers and churches do care. They care enough to visit prison, mentor prisoners, help their families, and share the Good News of Christ with them.
That's because in 1976, Colson founded Prison Fellowship®, which, together with churches of all confessions and denominations, has become the world's largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families, with ministry taking place in 113 countries around the globe.
Today Prison Fellowship has numerous ways for Christians to join in ministry that is not only transforming prisoners and their families, but also transforming the criminal justice system, our communities, and the culture itself: From in-prison Bible studies and mentoring programs to helping the children of prisoners understand how much God loves them, from advocating for biblically based justice reforms to promoting a biblical worldview.
Colson sensed God's calling to comment on the culture through the written and spoken word. He has written more than 30 books, which have collectively sold more than five million copies. His autobiographical book Born Again was one of the nation's best-selling books of all genres in 1976 and was made into a feature-length film.
In 1999, Colson and Nancy Pearcey co-authored the groundbreaking book How Now Shall We Live?, challenging Christians to understand biblical faith as an entire worldview--a perspective on all of life. In this book, Colson and Pearcey argue that the great battle of the twenty-first century is a struggle between the spiritual and the secular worldviews.
In his most recent book, The Faith, Colson issues an urgent call to the Church to recapture its passion for the historical, orthodox truths of Christianity--especially in this age when the Church is besieged on all sides by secularism, radical Islam, and militant atheism.
While Colson is one of the Christian community's most sought-after speakers, he has resolutely refused to establish a speaking fee. Perhaps anticipating criticism of any appearance of self-enrichment by a former Watergate figure, Colson donates all speaking honoraria and book royalties to Prison Fellowship, and accepts the salary of a mid-range ministry executive.
In recognition of his work, Colson received the prestigious Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1993, donating the $1 million prize to Prison Fellowship. And in 2008, Colson was honored by President Bush with the Presidential Citizens Medal for his years of work with prisoners and their families, which Colson accepted on behalf of the volunteers and staff of Prison Fellowship. Colson's other awards have included the Humanitarian Award, Dominos Pizza Corporation (1991); The Others Award, The Salvation Army (1990); several honorary doctorates from various colleges and universities (1982-2000); and the Outstanding Young Man of Boston, Chamber of Commerce (1960).
Despite his work critiquing the culture, Colson's heart is ever with the prisoner. He has clearly never forgotten the promise he made to his fellow inmates during his brief stay in prison: that he would "never forget" those behind bars.
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