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Posted by on Dec 11, 2008 in Politics | 5 comments

Bush Medal for Nixon Felon

In one of his last presidential acts, the Compassionate Conservative pinned a medal yesterday on Richard Nixon’s Watergate hatchet man, Chuck Colson, for “sharing the message of God’s boundless love and mercy with prisoners, former prisoners, and their families.”

In the season of Scrooge and redemption, it would be surly to see anything autobiographical in the gesture, but…

Just as Bush himself discovered God after half a lifetime of hell-raising, Colson in a jailhouse epiphany rehabilitated himself into Religious Right respectability after a career as Nixon’s White House counsel, the brains behind the Watergate break-in and countless other assaults on the rule of law.

William F. Buckley, the now sainted conservative, summed up the general skepticism about Colson’s conversion thus: “Those among us who consider themselves most worldly…treat [it] as a huge joke, as if W. C. Fields had come out for the Temperance Union. They are waiting for the second act, when the resolution comes, and W. C. Fields is toasting his rediscovery of booze, and Colson is back practicing calisthenics on his grandmother’s grave.”

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  • AustinRoth

    That is right. Only cop killers and child rapists can truly find God in prison.

  • Manchester2

    I first heard Charles Colson speak at the Praise Gathering for Believers in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1978. At the time, he was newly out of prison, and his book, Born Again, was all popular among evangelicals. Since that time, he has written numerous books, some meditative (Loving God) and other more scholarly (Kingdoms in Conflict. He founded Prison Fellowship, a group that at Christmas each year organizes the “Angel Tree” program, networking church members to provide gifts and loving concern to the children of inmates. His group also goes into prisons and ministers to inmates, giving them hope in very dismal circumstances. Yes, Colson is a Republican, and he is socially conservative. He is a walking model of the ecumenical spirit, since his wife is a Catholic, while he is a Baptist. Say what you want about “jailhouse conversions.” I applaud Gov. Jeb Bush for restoring this man’s voting rights. In Colson’s case, it’s the real deal. Good for you, Chuck!

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Colson is way too conservative for me. But I think his conversion was genuine. I think he has genuinely tried to help other convicts.

    I don’t see any reason to mock him.

  • kritt11

    I agree with George Sorwell, and am not sure why this is even still an issue.

    Watergate occurred more than 35 years ago, so I’m pretty sure if Colson were faking it, it would have been noticeable by now.

  • NoahJenda

    I think this is the worst sort of journalism. Stein pulls out a William F. Buckley quote that casts doubt on Colson’s sincerity but doesn’t bother to tell us that the statement was made in 1974 in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Buckley had a right to be skeptical. Since that time, Buckley recognized Colson’s sincerity and supported his work. Unlike Sten’s shoddy misdirection, this can be readily proven by checking many sources, but one in particular is Buckley’s 1998 book, “Nearer My God,” where he praises Colson. Colson’s “second act” has proven to be one of genuine repentance, effective service, bridge building and rare modesty.

    I was hopeful that once the elections were over some of the political vitriol would abate. It saddens me to think that we can’t look beyond our short-sited cynicism to the truth.

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