HONORING THE LIFE OF CHARLES COLSON; Congressional Record Vol. 158, No. 70
(House of Representatives - May 16, 2012)

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  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Runyan). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 5, 2011, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hultgren) 
is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.

                             General Leave

  Mr. HULTGREN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks 
and include extraneous material on the topic of my special order.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Illinois?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. HULTGREN. Mr. Speaker, it is with mixed feelings that I come to 
this body tonight and will have many of my colleagues joining me over 
the next hour to remember someone who has had a huge impact, not only 
on this city and on this Nation, but on our world, a gentleman who had 
a very personal impact on my life, who passed away on April 21, 2012, 
Charles W. Colson.
  Chuck Colson, as many of us knew him, was a very intelligent man, a 
very well-spoken man, a passionate man who served people, who looked 
for ways to honor them, recognizing the value of every single person. 
His life dramatically changed through a circumstance that he went 
through by going to prison. And I'm going to pull out some information 
  We were honored to have a service today, a memorial service at the 
National Cathedral that was a memorial and remembrance of Charles 
Colson's life. Charles Colson was born on October 16, 1931, in Boston, 
Massachusetts. He graduated from Brown University. He served in the 
Marine Corps, went to law school at Brown, and then went on to practice 
  At a very young age, in 1969, while he was under 40, he was selected 
by President Nixon to be Special Counsel to the President, and served 
directly under the President from 1969 until 1973. During that time, he 
was known as a very tough guy. He was known as Richard Nixon's hatchet 
man, and was very intelligent, understood policy, understood politics, 
understood how to get things done, very driven, very focused, very 
tough. So he used his Marine Corps background, his tough upbringing in 
Boston, and his sharp intellect to be a huge impact for President 
  Well, he was also, in that time, involved peripherally with 
Watergate, and through that, he felt that he was called to be honest 
with his involvement in there and pled guilty and entered a plea of 
obstruction of justice and was sentenced to serve time in prison. And 
it was really as he was preparing for that time in prison that he 
started to examine his own life and to see what he had done, why he had 
done it, and what life was all about.
  It was really through a writer that he had read, a book that had been 
given to him, a book by a great author and great thinker, C. S. Lewis, 
``Mere Christianity.'' And through that book, and through the testimony 
of one of Chuck's good friends, that Chuck Colson came to see his own 
failings, his own sin, his need for a Savior and his need for a change. 
And it was really in the friend's driveway, as they were talking, that 
he heard his friend's testimony of what Jesus Christ had meant to his 
friend, and the floodgates just opened up.
  All of a sudden Chuck Colson understood what the fact of his need for 
a Savior, the fact that he needed to turn his life around, that he was 
going to have to pay a heavy price for his involvement in Watergate, 
that he was

[[Page H2801]]

going to have to leave his friends and family, his young children, his 
wife, to go to prison for a long period of time. He wasn't even sure 
how long it was going to be. But it was that night, in that driveway 
that he gave his life to Christ. And from that time on, before he 
entered prison in the early seventies, through his death here in 2012, 
Chuck Colson was an incredibly faithful servant of his Lord and Savior, 
Jesus Christ.

  But more than that, he also was a servant to the least among us. He 
never forgot that service, that time in prison, while he was there, and 
seeing the conditions that prisoners suffer under, the fact that we are 
all of incredible value, not because of what we've done, not because of 
what we know, not because of how much money we can earn, but because of 
how we have been created and the sacrifice that has been given for each 
and every one of us. He saw that, and he never forgot that.
  So through this time we're going to talk about much of his life since 
that time of going to prison and coming out of prison. As he came out 
of prison he had opportunities where he could have gone immediately 
back into the private sector after being one of the chief people in the 
White House. He certainly had many connections, could have had a seven-
figure income coming out of prison, but he decided not to do that.
  Instead, he decided to start a ministry to fellow inmates. And it was 
from that start that literally, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of 
inmates, millions of inmates around the world, have been impacted by 
the ministry of Chuck Colson and Prison Fellowship Ministries, and 
many, many other ministries that have come out of that.
  Angel Tree is another one that I'll talk about a little later on, of 
serving the victims of crime that we don't talk about very often, and 
that's children of inmates, unintended victims. Angel Tree is a 
service, a ministry that provides gifts to kids whose parents are in 
prison, a wonderful ministry that's provided gifts to millions of young 
children around the world.
  I am so honored tonight to be able to recognize, to honor, to talk 
briefly and to share this time with some good friends of mine and to be 
able to talk about someone who had a huge impact on my life, Chuck 
Colson. I am going to hand it over to my friend Steve Pearce in a few 
minutes here.
  But very personally, let me talk about the impact and my connection. 
I had known about Chuck Colson for the last 25 years or so, 30 years, 
through many of his books. He's written well over 25 books. He's been a 
speaker around the world. He had a weekly radio show called BreakPoint 
that would talk about issues that were going on in the world and, 
really, a Christian world view to addressing issues that we were facing 
  But throughout all of his books, all of his speaking, all of his 
literature, every time that he was talking, it was a connection that he 
cared for people. He loved people.
  One of my favorite stories that I hear over and over and over again 
about Chuck Colson is, as he would travel around the world and travel 
into the worst of the worst prisons, that he would go in there and meet 
with prisoners. Oftentimes the warden wouldn't even go into some of 
these areas and meet with prisoners. The wardens of these prisons would 
be afraid. And yet Chuck Colson would go in, unarmed, without guards 
right with him, but would go up and meet with the prisoners, talk with 
them, touch them, hug them, and just interact with them and let them 
know that he was going to continue to be thinking about them, praying 
for them, caring for them, loving them, and that he would be back. That 
made a huge impact on my life.
  Reading many of his books, he often talked about what is our role in 
government, and how should we view the challenges sometimes that we 
see? As Christians, how should we be involved in government?

                              {time}  2020

  He talked very clearly about that--of the respect of government but 
also of the importance of everybody from all faiths to be involved in 
government--and to recognize that this is our responsibility as 
citizens to be engaged and involved in the political process. So I had 
learned much about Chuck Colson through his readings, through hearing 
him speak.
  I had a wonderful opportunity a couple of years ago when I had heard 
about a program that he did, that he had started up about 10 years ago, 
called the Centurions Program. What this is is a program that Chuck 
Colson and Prison Fellowship Ministries puts on. It's a yearlong 
program of study--of seminars, of training--of really talking about how 
to be involved in our country, to be involved in our government, to 
make an impact in our communities. It involved dozens of books that we 
read in a year: going through what impacts our culture, looking at 
movies, looking at music, looking at government, looking at education--
every single sector.
  Then we would come from all over the country out to Washington, D.C., 
three times during that year, to spend a long weekend together. Chuck 
Colson personally led those seminars, along with wonderful speakers 
from around the country who had come to train men and women from all 
over the Nation to be more effective in their communities, to be more 
effective in their families, to be passionate about using their gifts 
to impact others for good.
  I was privileged to be selected to be a part of this Centurions 
Program in 2009, and I went through that yearlong process. Little did I 
know at that time, honestly, that I would have the opportunity to serve 
in Congress. This was before I even considered the idea of running for 
Congress, but it was really through that program and through much that 
I had learned that I was brought to start thinking about this, to pray 
about it, to talk to my wife, to talk to my family, to talk to my kids 
of how important this is and what a pivotal time in our Nation this is 
right now. So it was much through the impact that Chuck Colson had on 
my life and that the ministry had on my life that I decided to run for 
  I was so excited to have Chuck Colson here in the Cannon Caucus Room 
just several months ago to be able to meet with Members of Congress and 
to make the connection again. I had spent so much time with him in that 
year but hadn't had a chance to really connect with him since I had 
been elected to Congress. He came up to me and gave me a big hug and 
said, I am so proud of you. He wrote me a little note just saying, 
again, of how excited he was and how he wanted me to continue to be 
faithful in all that we had been studying together and learning 
together. He continued to challenge me, and we talked about how we 
were, hopefully, going to work together for many years to come.
  Unfortunately, there was his untimely death. It was a very sudden 
death. He was speaking before a group of people and had a dizzy attack. 
Within a short period of time, he had a blood clot in his brain, which 
had an impact there. Over weeks, they tried to do everything that they 
could to save him and weren't able to. Unfortunately, we won't be able 
to continue to work with him, but his legacy lives on in me and in so 
many others, in literally millions of others around the world whom he 
touched. So that is why it is such a privilege for us to be able to 
honor him tonight as to the direct impact that he had on us.
  Really, before I had the chance to get to know him more personally, 
part of the impact that he had was on the studies that I was doing when 
I was involved in our State legislature back in Illinois. My wife and I 
had had our fourth child, and we were trying to think of a good name 
for our new son. We decided together that we would name him Koleson. We 
call him Kole, but his name is Koleson, named after Chuck Colson. So it 
is such a privilege and a reminder all the time as I'm now with my 8-
year-old little boy, Koleson, of the legacy that he has, of the big 
shoes that he has to fill and, really, of the power that his name means 
to me of a man who had a huge impact on my life.
  So, again, we will take this time over these next minutes to honor a 
man we could spend days talking about. I am so privileged to have my 
colleagues here tonight, and I am going to turn it over to my good 
friend from New Mexico, Stevan Pearce.
  Mr. PEARCE. I thank the gentleman for bringing this issue before the 

[[Page H2802]]

  It is rare that a person can impact your life in a very strong way. 
It is almost never that a person can impact your life in a very strong 
way on different ends of the spectrum.
  In 1970, I graduated from college. I had drawn a very low draft 
number earlier in my college career. I had joined the Air Force ROTC in 
order to avoid going to Vietnam in the middle of my college career; 
but, as an ROTC graduate, I then had an obligation to go to pilot 
training. I attended pilot training and then went overseas. I was 
assigned to the C 130s. We were stationed at Clark Air Base in the 
Philippines, but most of our missions were in Vietnam. For the next 
year and a half, that's where I was.

  On one particular mission there in that time of 1971 and 1972, I was 
a copilot who was flying into Cambodia. Now, at that time, we were 
supposedly not going into Cambodia, and we were supposedly not going 
into Laos, but we were in and out on several trips that day. That 
evening, when I got back to the BOQ, to the quarters there at Korat Air 
Force Base, which I think is where we were stationed at that time for 2 
weeks, I was interested to see that President Nixon was on TV. The 
camera zoomed in very close to him, and he described that American 
soldiers were not in or around Cambodia, that that mission was not one 
that we as soldiers were fulfilling.
  Now, having just been in and out around Cambodia the entire day, that 
struck me as unusual that a President would say things that were 
completely untrue, that I knew to be untrue. In my heart, I began to 
believe that he could have said, I don't think the American people have 
a right to know. He could have said, It's secret, and that's classified 
information. But he came out with the camera looking him square in the 
face, and he said that we were not there. Now, maybe he did not know. 
I'll give him that.
  Yet, when I got back to the U.S. and had found out about Watergate--
that was beginning to unravel--the idea of who to vote for in those 
1972 elections was ever present on my mind. His opponent, there was no 
chance I would vote for him. His opponent was Eugene McCarthy. I would 
not vote for him, but I ended up filling my ballot out that neither man 
was qualified or deserved this office. I did not vote for a President 
that year simply because of my personal experience. Then in watching 
this whole problem with Watergate, Chuck Colson, Haldeman, those guys 
who were inside--the Plumbers--it began to give me a sense that this 
was a very bad point in my life and that Mr. Colson was a part of that 
group that was willing to mislead a Nation, that was willing to say 
things that weren't true. At the end of the day, President Nixon, as 
you know, stepped down. He gave up his office because of misdeeds that 
a small group of them pulled together.
  Now, it was with that background that I knew Chuck Colson for most of 
my life. Then in 2003, when I arrived here at the Capitol when being 
first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, I started going to 
just a very small lecture series, and it was hosted by a gentleman 
named Chuck Colson. It didn't take long to make the association; but he 
was bringing in some of the best Christian worldview thinkers in the 
entire country, and I was able to experience Mr. Colson in a far 
different way than that remote acquaintance I had made in the early 
  In this way, he was one of the most compelling thinkers in the 
country. It was he who said that he lived in the dark until he saw the 
light. It was he who committed himself to a different view of the 
world, one that said that we must have redemption, that we must have a 
savior, that there is no hope for us as human beings if we are not to 
deal with those problems that each one of us faces in our lives. As he 
began to develop his insights and began to be one of the premier 
organizers of the Christian worldview, bringing in literally people 
from around him, he established his pillars for glorifying God through 
the works that we do.
  Those pillars are: One, prepare well; two, keep an eye on the horizon 
rather than up close to you; three, engage and enlist others; four, run 
assessments; five, seek the abiding fruit, not just that that is 
temporary; and, finally, have guidelines that you have applied.
  It is in those principles of glorifying God that Mr. Colson really 
developed a presence that affected the world and affected my life 
significantly. He began to compel those of us attending this lecture 
series in this House of Representatives, in one of the rooms beneath 
us, to enlist those around us, to be a light that shines out to others, 
to let our lives be different, to let our lives be the equivalent of 
salt and light, which are rubbed, so to speak, into the fabric of the 
American mind-set so that those around us will know that they have 
embraced a lie.

                              {time}  2030

  It was Mr. Colson who told me the most dramatic thing. His perception 
was--and I believe it is still--``The greatest problem facing 
America,'' he said, ``is truth.'' We don't know the truth in this 
country anymore. It's not revered. As we don't know the truth, then we 
see the fragments of society beginning to come loose around us.
  I hear my own daughter and grandchildren say: Which side is right? 
They're all saying different things. When we as a Nation walk away from 
the concept of truth, when we as elected officials fail to honor our 
obligations to speak the truth as we know it, when our courts declare 
that there is no truth, then the Nation truly does suffer.
  He made that extraordinarily clear and lived it in his life. It's at 
that point that I began to be compelled that I should be more honest 
and transparent in my own faith. Not that I would go out and be 
interrupting people and thrusting myself into their consciousness, but 
that they would look and see there's something different. They would 
say: Maybe we can trust that viewpoint.
  So it is with sincere appreciation to my friend who is honoring Chuck 
Colson with this time tonight--because I believe that the Nation has 
lost one of the premier thinkers, one of the premier people who would 
guide us along a path, who would give us a wake-up call saying that we 
must find that salvation, we must find that way back when things have 
gone wrong. He was speaking from his experience of having gone so 
desperately wrong at a young age, being upheld and lifted into the very 
White House in this country, and having stumbled so badly.
  He could speak with experience saying we all have to come back. There 
are things that every single one of us slip into that eventually we're 
going to want to change course. It's through his example, through his 
words, through his values, through his ideas that I know there are many 
here in this Congress who have lived a different life because of those 
  He came to New Mexico a couple of years ago. They had a large 
conference on the weekend. Again, I remember the same clarity, the same 
professionalism, the same looking toward the horizon there at that 
conference in New Mexico as we heard in this building here. He was a 
constant. He was refreshing to speak so openly about his problems. He 
was never able to let them loose, never get them away from him, never 
get that stain off of him. But he embraced that, yes. That's who he was 
and now he was different, that he had lived in the dark until he had 
seen the light.
  Each one of us, if we were to make those same understandings and give 
those same acknowledgements, I believe, would live better and more 
transparent lives with truth being a greater part of that life. And I 
think the Nation would be better off for us living, as it is for him 
having lived.
  We mourn his passing, but we also glorify God that he was placed into 
our midst that he might truly shine the light of truth into the 
darkness that he found around him.
  My friend, I will stay around to hear what else we have. Thank you 
very much.
  Mr. HULTGREN. I want to thank my colleague from New Mexico. I thank 
you so much.
  Now I want to yield to my good friend from North Carolina, Mike 
  Mr. McINTYRE. Thank you so much.
  Mr. Speaker, I share with these dear friends today marking the 
passing into glory of Mr. Charles Chuck Colson. We new Chuck as a dear 
friend and Christian brother, author, radio commentator, and also one 
who challenged us all to think more about our world view.
  With his passing, our Nation has lost an uncommon leader, a true 
example of

[[Page H2803]]

the transformative power of Jesus Christ, and a reminder of the beauty 
of second chances in life. While some will forever remember Mr. Colson 
for his role in the Watergate scandal, I will remember and honor him 
for the grace and perseverance with which he advocated for the least of 
these in our society: those that were marginalized, those who were seen 
as helpless.
  With his work through Prison Fellowship, the world's largest 
organization for outreach to prisoners and former prisoners and 
prisoners' families, and through his inspirational books and 
commentaries, Chuck Colson touched thousands of lives and advocated 
tirelessly for programs that would not only address the physical needs 
of those in our Nation's prisons, but also their spiritual needs, as 
  In addition, Mr. Colson's daily radio show ``BreakPoint,'' during 
which he would share a commentary on the life of Christ and also on the 
Christian world view on the issues of the day, was such a challenge and 
an inspiration to me that as a young lawyer in southeastern North 
Carolina, in my hometown of Lumberton, I actually put copies of his 
``BreakPoint'' commentaries out on the coffee table so that those 
clients and prospective clients who came to our law office would take 
time to hear from this lawyer, Chuck Colson, whose life had been so 
transformed by the experiences he had gone through.

  When I think about his insights, it's because they were so 
challenging and so clear in their wisdom that they were so touching. 
His books challenge you to think deeply about your own calling in life: 
What was God calling you to do, and how could you take even the worst 
of experiences? I remember him describing looking out on the south lawn 
of the White House thinking he was just one door down from the 
President and the neatly manicured lawn. I remember Chuck two or three 
times in different testimonies describing that experience and thinking, 
You know, I've made it.
  But then Chuck Colson went from the White House to the very depths of 
understanding what it meant to be in prison. But instead of letting 
that ruin his life after the Watergate scandal, he came out of that 
with his life being changed. His great book, ``Born Again,'' was a 
bestseller back in the 1970s when I was in college. And I still 
remember when my own father, who passed into glory last year, read that 
book. Along with other experiences that happened to my own father, that 
book, ``Born Again,'' told a story that my dad could identify with and 
that helped to change his life.
  Having heard Chuck Colson speak at Montreat, where my own dad made 
his own Christian commitment, and hearing Chuck Colson speak at other 
events with the late Dr. D. James Kennedy down at Coral Ridge 
Ministries down in Florida, and being with Chuck so many times here on 
Capitol Hill, being part of the lecture series that my good friend 
mentioned just a moment ago--that I still remember he organized here on 
Capitol Hill and would invite Members of Congress to come and to think 
more deeply and challenge us to go beyond the politics of the issue.
  Then in his monthly newsletter called ``Jubilee,'' he would have an 
editorial at the back that I regularly read and made sure that often I 
ripped that out and put it in a file because his thoughts were so 
provocative and challenging in terms of our own world view.
  I also had the opportunity to get to know Chuck Colson and count him 
as a brother in Christ and as a friend, participating not only in the 
lecture classes here on Capitol Hill, but when he rewrote the book that 
he had written in 1982, ``Kingdoms in Conflict,'' which greatly touched 
my life as I thought about the possibility of one day maybe coming to 
this place. He rewrote that book on ``God and Politics,'' and 
challenged us to think about where we are in our faith as we deal with 
the tough times in the political world, so much so that my wife, Dee, 
asked me if for our 25th wedding anniversary that instead of a gift or 
going on a trip, could we be in the Centurion Program that Chuck Colson 
had where he had 100 citizens from around this Nation participate and 
spend an entire year studying the Christian world view on issues 
ranging from health care to business, from medicine to education, from 
law and government to issues within religion itself, and challenging us 
to study the biblical perspective and the Christian world view, and to 
think how we deal with those issues as Christians in the everyday 

                              {time}  2040

  So with those 100 citizens from across the country, my wife and I 
spent a year studying under Chuck Colson's guidance and went to three 
different seminars that he hosted not too far from here in Washington. 
What an inspiration this man was because he didn't just teach and he 
didn't just talk, but he walked the walk and he changed lives by God's 
power in the process.
  I know some of you here with us today--so often, we shared the night 
before the National Prayer Breakfast. Before we came and led the 
spiritual heritage tours here at the Capitol that so many hundreds of 
people have now done over the years, that we made it a regular habit to 
go to Chuck Colson's annual Prison Fellowship dinner that he had on the 
Wednesday night before the Thursday National Prayer Breakfast in 
February. And we looked forward as much to that as being central to the 
celebration of what the National Prayer Breakfast was all about because 
we knew the night before, Chuck Colson was having his annual dinner, 
usually honoring some great religious leader or reformer in society 
before we had our spiritual heritage tour back here at the Capitol.
  He often also talked about his experience as a United States Marine 
at Camp LeJeune, just on the edge of my congressional district. And he 
also talked about the practical ways that faith can change your life. 
That's the great legacy I know Chuck Colson would be pleased with 
today. We're talking about a man not only who was a great author and 
speaker but a man whose life changed lives and made a difference.
  Thank you very much.
  Mr. HULTGREN. I want to thank my good friend and fellow Centurion. 
Thank you so much, Mike. I appreciate you being here.
  I yield to my other good friend, Robert Aderholt from Alabama.
  Mr. ADERHOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening, along with my 
colleagues, to honor the life and legacy of Charles Colson, better 
known as Chuck Colson.
  Many people remember Chuck Colson as the hatchet man for President 
Richard M. Nixon and also the first member of the administration under 
Richard Nixon to go to prison.
  But Chuck Colson is probably known better as a central figure in the 
Christian community since his conversion to be a follower of Jesus 
Christ. Some at the time of his conversion may have said it was a 
jailhouse conversion. However, if you knew and you looked at the life 
of Chuck Colson and saw the life that he led following his release from 
Maxwell Federal Prison Camp in Alabama, you would come to a far 
different conclusion.
  Chuck Colson emerged from prison with a new mission, and that mission 
was to mobilize the Christian Church to minister to prisoners. This 
would perhaps be his greatest contribution to the church and to the 
  Chuck Colson was someone who rose to high places in the eyes of the 
world during his time here in Washington and in his political career. 
But it actually wasn't until Chuck Colson hit rock bottom that really 
his life was turned around. It wasn't until he realized that he was 
living in darkness, that he was in need of a savior, and that he was 
powerless to earn God's favor that his life actually turned around.
  If he were here with us tonight, I think Chuck would unashamedly say 
that placing his trust in Christ, recognizing that Christ had paid the 
penalty for his sins was the best decision that he ever made in his 
life. And I can say these things about Chuck Colson because I had the 
opportunity to get to know Chuck Colson personally over the last 
several years, and I am honored to call him a friend.
  Chuck Colson made many friends over his life and, of course, he will 
be missed greatly by so many around the world. And of course to Patty 
and his children, he will be sorely missed.
  But, Mr. Speaker, I feel sure that Chuck has heard the words, Well 
done, my good and faithful servant.
  So I thank you again, Mr. Hultgren, for the time you have yielded to 
me to honor Chuck Colson.
  Mr. HULTGREN. Thank you, Mr. Aderholt.

[[Page H2804]]

  Now it's my privilege to recognize a good friend from Iowa, 
Congressman Steve King.
  Mr. KING of Iowa. I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise to also offer my most appreciative words for the 
life and the gift to all of us that was the life of Chuck Colson.
  A lot of us got to know Chuck Colson as he came before our conference 
on occasion, the Republican Study Committee on occasion and professed 
his conversion. And when one listened to Chuck Colson talk about how 
his conversion took place, how he hit rock bottom, as the gentleman 
from Alabama just said, how he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal 
savior, and accepted a new direction in life that had lasted for 40 
years, a man that was at the pinnacle of power in the world found 
himself in prison for about 8 months in Alabama.
  And out of that prison, he came back and hit bottom and was launched 
not at the pinnacle of this world power, but he was at the center of 
the voice of the real power in the universe. And his inner voice, the 
spirit within Chuck Colson, spoke to all of us.
  Upon learning of his death, I sent out a tweet in those days, and it 
read like this:

       Chuck Colson, from Watergate to evangelical Christian to 
     Prison Fellowship to heaven in 80 years. Rest in peace, 
     Chuck. How now shall we live?

  How now shall we live, Chuck Colson, who lived by the model that he 
had. It was a blessing to all of us that he went through the difficulty 
that he did. If he hadn't been formed and shaped in that way, I don't 
know that we would have seen the Chuck Colson that we knew that we're 
saying good-bye to here tonight whose life we honor so much.
  His activities in Prison Fellowship set a standard that had not been 
seen in this country or in the world. And the recidivism rate of 
prisoners that didn't take part in the Prison Fellowship was extremely 
high. I haven't committed that number to my memory; but it seems to me 
that those who went through the Prison Fellowship, those who accepted 
Jesus as their savior--and I have met with them in the prisons in Iowa 
that were part of the Prison Fellowship effort--the recidivism rate--by 
memory, not by research--was only 8 percent.
  It was a tremendous thing to mentor so many prisoners in and out of 
prison and the families of prisoners. He went to the place where he had 
known despair and gave hope in the very heart of the place where Chuck 
Colson had known despair. And I think that the testing of Chuck Colson 
turned him into a man that was a gift to this country and a gift to the 
entire world.
  I remember a prayer that I offered for years and years throughout the 
farm crisis, the years of the eighties, the difficulties in the 
nineties. And it was:

       Lord, please be finished testing me and start to use me.

  I don't know if Chuck Colson ever offered that prayer, but I think he 
would agree with me that there was a time that he was tested; there was 
a time that he went through that test in the pinnacle of power and 
through that test in prison, and there's no question that the Lord used 
Chuck Colson, tested him for 40 years, used him for 40 years. Chuck 
Colson was a gift to America and a gift to the world.
  I saw a little quote in an article written about him that I thought 
was useful and informative: The light just emanated from Chuck Colson. 
You knew that he understood. He wrote eloquently about the depth of his 
faith and the meaning in our lives in this life and in the next and the 
power of redemption. And this quote was written about him. I will note 
the author because it's useful.
  The author is Michael Gerson, who wrote an article about him on April 
22. He said, Chuck spent the last 40 years of his life dazzled by his 
own implausible redemption. He knew it was a gift. It was implausible 
that a person as humble as Chuck Colson could be the recipient of this 
gift of grace, yet that gift shined from him like a lamp on a lamp 
stand, not under a bushel basket. It was a light that shined across 
this whole country, and it shone into this United States Congress over 
and over again. He was a core for the values of our faith. He was a 
core for the values of our morality. He brought our thoughts together 
on the meaning of our service, our service here in this Congress and 
our service to the world.
  And I think he gave hope to many in despair, many of those that 
served their time in prison or had been given hope and inspiration, 
grace and salvation because of their exposure to Chuck Colson, the 
inspiration that he was. His life dazzles by his own redemption. We are 
dazzled by the life of Chuck Colson.

                              {time}  2050

  Mr. HULTGREN. I want to thank my colleague from Iowa.
  It's now my privilege to yield to my good friend from Texas, Louie 
  Mr. GOHMERT. I appreciate my friend yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, it's such an honor to pay tribute to such a great man as 
Chuck Colson. I first read about Chuck Colson, of course, after the 
Watergate event occurred and all of the events surrounding it. And then 
I was in law school when I read his book, ``Born Again.'' It sounded 
like this was a brilliant man who really and truly had had a conversion 
experience. Life had been materially changed. Then, again, there are 
those who as a judge I saw that would get in trouble and grab a Bible 
and say, I'm changed, so go easy on me. Things like that. But this 
really appeared quite genuine with Chuck Colson. And I knew, as the 
Bible teaches, we'll be known by our fruits. What incredible fruits 
this man produced. Amazing.
  So over the years I stayed in touch. He didn't know me personally 
during those years, but I listened to cassettes of his sermons, his 
lectures. That tells you how far back it goes--they were cassettes. 
Then I listened to CDs of him speaking and his lectures and sermons, 
and I would read his books. Thank God he was so prolific that he was 
moved to write such extraordinary books.
  In fact, I came to realize with this kind of brilliance--and others 
have pointed this out, but it struck me back in the eighties--this is a 
modern-day Apostle Paul. He has that kind of intellect, that kind of 
ability. And yet he's able to discuss anything with anybody on any 
level. But his life is a living, breathing, walking testimonial.
  I love the quote that Steven Curtis Chapman used in Chuck Colson's 
own voice in ``Heaven and the Real World,'' where you hear Chuck's 
voice say these things. Chuck said:

       I meet millions who tell me that they feel demoralized by 
     the decay around us. Where is the hope? The hope that each of 
     us has is not in who governs us or what laws are passed or 
     what great things we do as a Nation. Our hope is in the power 
     of God working through the hearts of people. And that's where 
     our hope is in this country. That's where our hope is in 

  As he pointed out on more than one occasion, our hope--the Kingdom of 
God--will not arrive on Air Force One. And any hope of that happening 
is just misplaced.
  Well, I have a brother about 8 years younger, now a Baptist pastor 
near Richmond, and Bill had acquired Chuck Colson's new novel called 
``Gideon's Torch.'' And as a man who had worked in the White House, to 
have him write a novel which, as you read it breathlessly, you realize 
these things could easily happen, every one of them, just as he spells 
out. It was an incredible book.
  When I met Chuck Colson, I asked him, Are you going to write any 
other novels? That was just a fantastic novel. And he said, My 
publisher tells me people are not buying my fiction. They want my 
nonfiction. And I want God to use me however he can use me. If it's 
more productive, more helpful to people to write nonfiction, I'll write 
  He also said writing ``Gideon's Torch,'' a novel, was far more 
difficult than writing the nonfiction, which he does. I'm not sure that 
it's still in print, but I would hope that after his passing there 
would be a resurgence of requests and people would get that book and 
greatly grow and benefit from it.
  I just wanted to share a couple of things from his book ``God and 
Government.'' He came to the Hill to provide this to many of us. As my 
friends here know, one of the benefits of being in Congress--and there 
are plenty of things that aren't benefits--but one of the benefits is 
getting to become friends with people you have as heroes. And Chuck 
Colson was one of my heroes. He was someone I truly looked up

[[Page H2805]]

to and I benefited from. And even before he knew me, he was a mentor.

  At page 69 he says:

       Whether or not God's existence can be proved, the evidence 
     can be rationally probed and weighed. (Author C.S.) Lewis 
     does so compellingly, and he cites moral law as a key piece 
     of evidence. Clearly it is not man who has perpetuated the 
     precepts and values that have survived through centuries and 
     across cultures. Indeed, he has done his best to destroy 
     them. The nature of the law restrains man, and thus its very 
     survival presupposes a stronger force behind it--God.
       Or consider the most readily observable physical evidence, 
     the nature of the universe. One cannot look at the stars, 
     planets, and galaxies, millions of light years away, all 
     fixed in perfect harmony, without asking who orders them.
       For centuries it was accepted that God was behind the 
     universe because otherwise ``the origin and purpose of life 
     would be inexplicable.'' This traditional supposition was 
     unchallenged until the 18th century's Age of Reason, when 
     Enlightenment thinkers announced with relief that the origins 
     of the universe were now scientifically explainable.
       But in the past few decades, science has completely 
     reversed itself on the question of the origin of the 
     universe. After maintaining for centuries the physical 
     universe is eternal and therefore needs no creator, science 
     today has uncovered dramatic new evidence that the universe 
     did have an ultimate origin, that it began at a finite time 
     in the past--just as the Bible teaches.

  Chuck Colson will be missed. But thank God and thank Chuck Colson 
that he has left us so much in the way of wisdom that we can draw from 
in the days ahead. We will be remembering his family and all of those 
who loved and miss Chuck in our prayers.
  With that, I appreciate being yielded to on behalf of Chuck Colson.
  Mr. HULTGREN. Thank you, Congressman Gohmert. I appreciate it.
  I do thank my friends that have been here. There's many others that 
wanted to be here tonight and weren't able to. One of those was our 
colleague Congressman Mike Pence from Indiana, who was unable to be 
here but wrote a letter. Many others also over the last couple of weeks 
have paid tribute to the life of Chuck Colson. I would like to 
recognize just a couple of them.
  One was Reverend Billy Graham, evangelist. He said:

       For more than 35 years, Chuck Colson, a former prisoner 
     himself, has had a tremendous ministry, reaching into prisons 
     and jails with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. When I get 
     to heaven and see Chuck again, I believe I will also see 
     many, many people there whose lives have been transformed 
     because of the message he shared with them. He will be 
     greatly missed by many, including me. I count it a privilege 
     to have called him friend.

  Again, that was Reverend Billy Graham.
  I do think it is amazing to look at some of the history of the impact 
and really the decisions that Chuck Colson made that we talked about. 
Before he went to prison, his conversion, many were skeptical about 
that, thinking it was a ploy to get a lighter sentence. Clearly, it 
wasn't, when you look at the fruits of what happened afterwards.
  And I just want to go through a quick history of Prison Fellowship, 
something that, again, has had an impact on millions of people around 
the world.
  In 1976, a Watergate crook found Prison Fellowship. In 1974, the 
Watergate scandal sent White House Special Counsel Chuck Colson to 
Federal prison. A new Christian, he faced challenges and adversities 
that tested his faith and self-respect. Paroled in 1975, Chuck could 
easily have opted to close that book on that dark time and move on with 
his life as inconspicuously as possible. But Chuck knew that God wanted 
him to hold on to his ties to prison and continue to identify with his 
fellow prisoners, despite the skepticism and scorn of Chuck's critics.

                              {time}  2100

  So in 1976, with little more than a vision and the support of a few 
friends, Chuck began Prison Fellowship to proclaim to inmates the love 
and power of Jesus Christ.
  In 1977, the next year after the founding, Prison Fellowship goes 
behind bars. At first, through the support of the director of the 
Federal Bureau of Prisons, Prison Fellowship began transporting dozens 
of Christian prisoners out of prison for intensive training through 
Washington Discipleship Seminars held in the nation's capital. Those 
prisoners then were returned to prison to evangelize and teach their 
colleagues. But in 1977, Prison Fellowship ran into a hurdle when a 
warden from Wisconsin refused to furlough one of his prisoners to 
attend the Washington Discipleship Seminars. Instead, he challenged: If 
your program is so good, why don't you bring it inside the prison?
  Chuck and his team were up for the task, and 3 weeks later, 93 
inmates attended Prison Fellowship's first ever in-prison seminar in 
Oxford, Wisconsin. That seminar paved the way for hundreds of thousands 
of prisoners across the country to receive biblically based teaching 
through in-prison seminars and Bible studies over the past 33 years. 
That first in-prison event also reinforced the importance of training 
local volunteers to go inside prisons and build relationships with 
inmates. Today, Prison Fellowship ministry relies on a volunteer 
network of well over 20,000 volunteers.
  In 1979, Britain catches the vision. Prison Fellowship International 
takes off.
  In 1982, ex-bank robber reaches out to prisoners' kids and starts 
Angel Tree. The same year that Chuck started Prison Fellowship, a 
former bank robber named Mary Kay Beard was released from prison in 
Alabama. And, as in Chuck's life, God graciously transformed the shame 
of prison into a golden opportunity for ministry. In anticipation of 
Christmas 1982, Mary Kay organized Angel Tree, a ministry to provide 
gifts to prisoners' children on behalf of the incarcerated parents. 
Beginning with 556 children that first year, Angel Tree has since 
exploded into a geyser of ministry opportunities reaching more than 
400,000 American children of prisoners every single year, and their 
families, with the transforming message of Jesus Christ. Over 6 million 
children have received gifts from Angel Tree from their parents donated 
by someone else in the name of their parent. Again, the lost victim 
oftentimes of crime.
  In 1983, Justice Fellowship hits the stage. As Prison Fellowship was 
expanding its ministry inside prisons, its leadership saw firsthand all 
of the signs of a justice system in chaos: overcrowded and violent 
prisons, neglected crime victims, communities shattered by crime. In 
1983, Justice Fellowship was formed to promote biblical standards of 
justice in our Nation's justice system.
  Justice Fellowship volunteers successfully implemented reforms across 
the country: victim-offender reconciliation programs; alternatives to 
incarceration for nonviolent offenders; victims' rights legislation, 
and more. In 1995, former California legislator and ex-prisoner Pat 
Nolan took the helm of Justice Fellowship and has since spearheaded 
efforts to pass the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons 
Act of 2000, the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, and the Second 
Chance Act of 2007.
  In 1992, Operation Starting Line sweeps North Carolina. In 1991, 
North Carolina's Secretary of Correction Aaron Johnson was pondering 
the condition of his prisons and saw only one solution--spiritual 
transformation. In an unprecedented move, he invited Prison Fellowship 
into every prison in North Carolina to lead a contemporary version of 
an old-time revival meeting. So in the fall of 1992, using teams of 
professional athletes, musicians, comedians, and powerhouse speakers, 
Prison Fellowship's inaugural Starting Line evangelistic campaign swept 
through all of North Carolina's 90-plus prisons, sharing the life-
changing message of Jesus Christ. Since North Carolina, similar 
evangelistic events have spread to prisons all across the country. And 
in 1999, Prison Fellowship joined other Christian organizations to 
launch Operation Starting Line, now an affiliation of 37 ministries 
committed to prison evangelism.
  In 1997, a new kind of prison ministry is born, Interchange Freedom 
Initiative, a values-based reentry program founded upon the teachings 
of Christ. With the full endorsement of then-Governor George W. Bush, 
Prison Fellowship and the State of Texas partnered to launch the very 
first IFI program in a prison unit near Houston. Interchange Freedom 
Initiative immerses its inmates-all volunteer participants in 
spiritual, educational, vocational, and life skills training from an 
unmistakably Christian perspective. Today, IFI is active in both men's 
and women's prisons in five states: Arkansas,

[[Page H2806]]

Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas, and many other States are 
seeing the value of this, of really turning around recidivism. That 
we've got to provide all of this for our inmates for them to really 
have true life change.

  After God parted the Jordan River, allowing the Israelites to cross 
on dry land into their new home, He commanded them to erect a memorial 
of stones. These would stand as a reminder of the miracles God had done 
for them, Joshua explained. Today we seldom use stones as reminders of 
God's provision. Instead, we preserve God's works in written accounts 
and photographs. But the reason remains the same: to remember ``the 
hand of the Lord is powerful''--that was from Joshua 4:24--``and by His 
hand, He leads us.''
  Since this time, Prison Fellowship has continued to minister around 
the world, but Chuck Colson also had other activities I've already 
talked about, and Congressman McIntyre talked about the Centurion 
program, the impact it had on our lives, a hundred citizens each year 
going through the Centurion program.
  He also started the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, which 
again had a huge impact and has been directly involved in BreakPoint, 
which is a weekly radio program that is on.
  He also was awarded 15 honorary doctorate degrees. And in 1993, Chuck 
Colson was awarded the Templeton Prize for progress in religion. This 
is a very prestigious award. It's given to a person who has made an 
exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension. With 
the Templeton Prize is a $1 million cash award. Chuck Colson could have 
taken that and spent it on his family. Instead, he donated it to prison 
ministry to impact prisoners' lives. He also continued to donate 
throughout his entire life all of the royalties that he received from 
his books along with royalties from speaking.
  In 2008, President George W. Bush honored Chuck Colson with the 
President's Citizen's Medal.
  So again, tonight we have taken just a few minutes to honor a man who 
had a huge impact on our lives. Many of us in Congress have been 
impacted by him through his writings and teachings and through our 
friendship with him. He has also had a huge impact on prisoners around 
the world and the plight of prisoners, and recognizing that all human 
life is valuable and needs to be respected and honored and treated with 
that respect that it deserves.
  From the service today, there were a couple of different things. 
There were a couple of different readings that were done at the 
service, and I would like to close with this.
  First, one of the readings was from Philippians, chapter 3. This was 
a very important passage for Chuck Colson:

       Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as 
     loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything 
     as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ 
     Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all 
     things, and I regard them as rubbish in order that I may gain 
     Christ and be found in him. Not having a righteousness of my 
     own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith 
     in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want 
     to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the 
     sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 
     if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not 
     that I have already obtained this or have already reached 
     this goal, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ 
     Jesus has made me his own.

  My friend Steve King had talked about this radical transformation in 
his life, and this first pointed to that radical transformation where 
he could have had everything in this world, was right there next to the 
seat of power in the Presidency and saw how fleeting that was. He could 
have had money and resources when he got out of prison and a career in 
law or so many other things, but instead decided to give back to 
prisoners and to others as well.
  Many would ask: Why would he do that? Well, there was another passage 
that was read today. This was read by one of his grandchildren. This is 
from Matthew 25:

       Jesus said, Then the king will say to those on his right 
     hand, ``Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the 
     kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 
     for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you 
     gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed 
     me, I was in prison and you visited me.'' Then the righteous 
     will answer him, ``Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry 
     and gave you food or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 
     And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, 
     or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it when we saw 
     you sick or in prison and visited you?'' And the king will 
     answer to them, ``Truly I tell you, just as you did it for 
     one of the least of those who are members of my family, you 
     did it for me.''
       Then he will say to those on his left hand:
       ``You are the accursed. Depart from me into the eternal 
     fire prepared for the devils and his angels, for I was hungry 
     and you gave me no food. I was thirsty and you gave me 
     nothing to drink. I was a stranger, and you did not welcome 
     me; naked, and you did not give me clothing; sick and in 
     prison, and you did not visit me.''
       Then they will also answer:
       ``Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a 
     stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn't take care 
     of you?''
       Then he will answer them:
       ``Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the 
     least of these, you did not do it to me.''

                              {time}  2110

  Chuck Colson saw what his God had done for him, the incredible power 
of his redemption and transformation that happened in his life, and 
wanted to share that with those of greatest need. He saw that as the 
weakest, the poorest, those in prison.
  He was also dramatically impacted by his grandson Max. Max is 
diagnosed with autism. Again, Chuck saw the incredible value of every 
single life. Chuck was a hard driver, a type A personality to the 
maximum, but he learned from his grandson Max patience and 
understanding and love.
  So I am so grateful again for the relationship that I've been able to 
build with Chuck Colson and with his family. We will miss him so 
  I want to end this time again by reading from one of Chuck Colson's 
books. I think this is so powerful. This, again, was part of the 
ceremony today, the memorial service over at the National Cathedral. 
This was from Chuck Colson's book, it's him talking in his book, 
``Loving God'':

       Easter, 1980. As I sat on the platform waiting my turn at 
     the pulpit, my mind began to drift back in time to 
     scholarships, to honors earned, cases argued and won, great 
     decisions made from lofty government offices. My life had 
     been the great American Dream fulfilled. But all at once I 
     realized that it was not my success God had used to enable me 
     to help those in this prison or in hundreds of others like 
     it. My life of success was not what made this morning so 
     glorious. All my achievements meant nothing in God's economy. 
     No, the real legacy of my life was my biggest failure, that I 
     was an ex-convict. My greatest humiliation, being sent to 
     prison, was the beginning of God's greatest use of my life. 
     He chose the one thing in which I could not glory for his 
       Confronted with this staggering truth, I discovered in 
     those few months in the prison chapel that my world was 
     turned upside down. I understood with a jolt that I had been 
     looking at my life backwards. But now I could see, only when 
     I lost everything I thought made Chuck Colson a great guy, 
     had I found the true self God intended me to be and the true 
     purpose in my life.
       It is not what we do that matters, but what a sovereign God 
     chooses to do through us. God doesn't want our success; he 
     wants us. He doesn't demand our achievements; he demands our 
     obedience. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of paradox, where, 
     through the ugly defeat of the cross, the Holy God is utterly 
     glorified. Victory comes through defeat, healing through 
     brokenness, finding self through losing self.

  Chuck Colson truly was one of my heroes, someone I will miss dearly, 
someone who impacted my family. I will think of him all the time when I 
look at my own son, Koleson, named after Chuck Colson. But I just want 
to thank my friends for joining me tonight to honor this great man, 
honor this great life, and be challenged together to follow the example 
that he left for us.
  Thank you, Chuck. We'll never forget you.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. PENCE. Mr Speaker, I rise today with a heavy heart to pay tribute 
to a man we remembered just a few short hours ago at the National 
Cathedral here in Washington, DC.
  The Good Book says, ``Render therefore to all their due . . . honor 
to whom honor.'' Charles W. Colson is certainly worthy of honor and 
  The earthly life of this consequential American has come to an end 
and I mark this occasion with a sense of profound personal loss.
  Chuck Colson rose to the heights of political power and fell to the 
depths of disgrace. But in his fall, he found redemption in the gospel 
of Jesus Christ. Given a second chance, Chuck Colson devoted his life 
to carrying the

[[Page H2807]]

Christian message of second chances to those in prison, and he saw 
countless lives changed by his compassion and example.
  His voice of moral clarity was an inspiration to millions of 
Americans and made him an invaluable counselor to leaders in government 
and business. I will always count it a privilege to have been able to 
call him my dear friend and mentor. His dedication to moral integrity, 
serving his fellow man and his steadfast faith have always and will 
always be an inspiration to me and my family.
  Karen and I offer our deepest condolences to Patty, the whole Colson 
family and to all who mourn the loss of Chuck Colson.