Good works over transgressions

Convicted Watergate conspirator Chuck Colson has died. That’s how most mainstream press accounts reported the death of Mr. Colson, a tough-minded, ex-Marine who rose in the Nixon White House to be the president’s "hatchet man."

Those who knew him better reported that Colson, who nearly four decades ago as he faced his prison sentence professed faith in Jesus Christ, has gone home to be with his Lord.

For his complicity in Watergate, Colson was forever branded by the press first as a criminal, and then secondarily for anything else he did in his 80 years.

But, as described earlier this week on this page by columnist Cal Thomas, Colson’s redeemed life touched countless thousands of those cast aside by society -- prisoners and their families -- through his Prison Ministry Fellowship, the world’s largest, operating in 113 countries and hundreds of prisons, as well as millions of believers and non-believers through his Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

One newspaper account deigned to credit Colson with re-inventing himself. He would be the first to disagree, giving credit, as he always did, to his Lord Jesus Christ for his changed life. But just as the press misunderstood the significance of Colson’s life, it likewise misunderstood his motivation.