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COLSON: His life was about much more than Watergate

Letter by John Clapper, Lakewood on April 25, 2012 at 4:58 pm with 71 Comments »
April 26, 2012 9:37 am

Dick Clark died, and his story was on the front page. That was great, because he was a part of America. He never looked old and kept us young.

Another death should have been on the front page: Chuck Colson. He was mentioned a few pages back, and the focus was on his role in Watergate. But Colson’s life looms large in America. Most people do not know much about him.

After becoming a Christian and serving a prison term, he humbly and without pretense lived a life of service, courageously ministering to prisoners and their families for the last 35-plus years through the Prison Fellowship organization.

He not only has done more for prisoners than almost any other person, he also has been an example of how to influence culture for the better through his many books and in his multifaceted ministry, the Colson Center, infusing integrity and righteousness into people’s lives through various media presentations such as BreakPoint. I encourage people to Google his ministries.

There was, finally, a column by Michael Gerson (TNT, 4-24), who described his relationship with Colson. There are few men in history who served as well and influenced our culture for the better, as humbly as Colson did.

 

Leave a comment Comments → 71
  1. It’s been said that Chuck Colson’s conversion to Christianity came about in part due to his reading the book “Mere Christianity” written by C.S. Lewis. That may have been the start, immediately after his much publicized fall from the Watergate debacle, but it does seem as though Colson took his new found belief Christianity to heart and soul, and that is to be applauded. God Bless you Chuck!

  2. LornaDoone says:

    I would have been more impressed with Colson’s work had he not created a new empire from which he could live the good life.

    I don’t recall Jesus having a “center” and a radio show, among other things.

  3. Chuck Colson – Once known as President Nixon’s “hatchet man,” Colson gained notoriety at the height of the Watergate affair for being named as one of the Watergate Seven, and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for attempting to defame Pentagon Papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg.

    This was a guy who conspired to subvert our country’s electoral process. He served a mere 7 months in jail for his treasonous behavior, and then built a lucrative career on having found god.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  4. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Nice panegyric from the usual suspects.

    Conversely, RL gets the fact that forgiveness is one of the main CHristian tenants. Atheists… not so much, apparently.

    But then the old adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say… ” well I guess it only applies to “others”. And appropriateness? That went out with internet blogs.

    Sad.

  5. To err is human; to forgive, divine.

    Matthew 18:21-22
    Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (NIV)

  6. BB and LornaDoone, Your bitterness is so transparent. If Colson was a left winger like Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Castro or FDR and the rest of the bunch you would be lighting candles in your global warming Gaia chambers.

    While in prison, Colson saw a need for men to turn their lives around. Millions of lives were changed for the better because of him. Your heros heve left nothing but debts, death, and broken lives.

  7. Forgive sure, forget maybe, but this letter wants us to celebrate this man and chastises the media for not doing so.

    MLKjr is celebrated outside of religious circles not for his ministry but for his secular works. The same is true for Desmond Tutu. What did Colson do in the secular realm to atone for his grievous crimes against this country?

  8. No doubt beerboy would have been in the mob shouting “Crucify Him” when Pilate asked the mob what he should do with Him. Subverting the government is one of the things of which He was accused.

    It’s most instructive how “obstruction of Justice” gets translated as “treason,” but bankrupting the country escapes censure. Just another day in the land of the looney left.

  9. Ah bBoy, you sorely disappoint. No grace for a repentant sinner?
    That’s what he was you know; admitting openly that he deserved to be in prison for what he did, never denying it in any nor trying to excuse it. He was a contemporary Saul of Tarsus whose life was changed by an encounter with Christ. Bad rubbish indeed. That you would celebrate his death says something very sad about you I’m afraid.

    Thanks for the good letter John. I would only add that he worked tirelessly for prisoner’s rights as part of his fellowship ministry.

  10. Let me repeat for you bBoy, he worked tirelessly for the rights of prisoners and for improved prison conditions, but then perhaps you don’t think that noble work.

  11. No, but arresting Pope Benedict and trying John Paul II post mortem would delight him, I’m sure.

  12. averageJoseph says:

    “This was a guy who conspired to subvert our country’s electoral process”

    Yes, we know, Obama worked for ACORN.

    FYI, it’s probably a safe bet that Chuck served his fellow broken brothers and sisters more than ALL the leftists that post here AND their dance students put together.

  13. ACORN worked to register voters. You lot work to denie citizens the ability to vote.

    Sounds like Chucky served himself first.

  14. averageJoseph says:

    “register voters”… good one.

  15. Having been raised Catholic I’ve never been equated to Christ-killers before – thanks for the new experience velmak.

    I recognize the Right’s love for men who “stick it to the man”. They idolize Chuck Colson, Ollie North, G. Gordon Liddy, and Jack Abramoff – rewarding these treasonous CREEPS with lucrative post-criminal careers and commuted sentences. And yet “anti-American” is one of their favorite epithets.

  16. I liked Dick Clark. The other one, not so much.

  17. “Yes, we know, Obama worked for ACORN.”

    Good for him, now list the so called ‘crimes’ acron has been convicted on.
    You can’t nothing has ever been found to back up the smear job done by fox and believed by idiots.

    I agree with Beerboy on colson, good riddance to bad rubbish.

  18. So glad to see that RC education helped you achieve the gift of grace, bBoy.

    I am reminded of that great moment in the movie Unforgiven when the young gunslinger wants Clint Eastwood to help him justify the murder he’s just committed. “He had it comin’ right Boss?” asks the kid, to which Eastwood’s character replies. “We’ve all got it comin’ Kid.”

    I hope for your sake bBoy that when your brokenness comes to bite you, especially if it is revealed publicly, that folks will extend more grace to you than you are willing to extend to Chuck Colson, may he rest in peace.

  19. averageJoseph says:

    “good riddance to bad rubbish” … RIP Teddy Kennedy.

  20. Frankenchrist says:

    “good riddance to bad rubbish” … RIP Jerry Falwell

  21. The venomous comments from those who are angry that I don’t celebrate Colson’s conversion to the peace of Christ is exactly why self-proclaimed ‘saved” souls are so often seen as mean-spirited hypocrites.

    From W.S. Burroughs’ Thanksgiving Prayer:
    thanks for the AMERICAN DREAM to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through –

    thanks for the KKK, for ni&%#@-killing lawmen feeling their notches, for decent church-going women with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces –

    thanks for “Kill a Queer for Christ” stickers –

  22. RLangdon says:

    Well beerBoy, you haven’t read any venomous comments from me have you? Nope.

    I just feel sorry for you man! That you can’t find it in your heart to forgive.

    God Bless you beerBoy!

  23. averageJoseph says:

    You sure read alot into people’s comments. I don’t see where anyone is upset you’re not celebrating… and the only “venomous” comments I see are coming from the left.
    But hey, you sure know how to be the victim.

    And what, praytell, does W.S. Burroughs have to do with it?

    p.s. this is one more example of you doing exactly what you accuse others of.

  24. While working in Texas, I had a cooperative relationship with the Prison Fellowship. At first, it sounded like a non-political organization, teaching prison population, providing support for inmates as well as their families, providing chaplains and religious teachers. All good stuff.

    Then I got to know it from another side. What it is is a political indoctrination arm of the far right community disguised with all of the correct religious trappings. Through its “Wilberforce” political ideas, it is a huge propaganda machine for the Republican party and the far right evangelical political views.

    There is nothing legally wrong, just subterfuge in the way it fools donors and others to think it is religious, not political, in aim. Colson did not repent from using every trick in the book to install his brand of power.

  25. LornaDoone says:

    “RL gets the fact that forgiveness is one of the main Christian tenants.”

    Thus the forgiveness of Ted Kennedy for an accidental death and the forgiveness of Bill Clinton for his transgressions.

    Well you DID forgive Newt Gingrich. I guess that is a step in the right direction. Tell me when you are Christian enough to forgive a Democrat.

  26. LornaDoone says:

    averageJoseph says:
    April 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm “good riddance to bad rubbish” … RIP Teddy Kennedy.

    YEP, there it is. Physician, heal thyself.

    “it’s probably a safe bet that Chuck served his fellow broken brothers and sisters”

    Missed one, Chuck

  27. LornaDoone says:

    “sozo says:
    April 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm Ah bBoy, you sorely disappoint. No grace for a repentant sinner?”

    I could go all day with copy/pasting hypocrisy from the Right on this thread alone

    My first comment, about having more respect for Colson had he gone about his ministry in anonymity, probably was more “Christian” in context than those who champion his “works” and ignore the notoriety he tried to continue for himself.

    Anyone ever wonder why Alcoholics Anonymous stresses that people remain anonymous in the presence of “press, radio and film”? Because they know that humility is a key to recovery.

  28. LornaDoone says:

    “Colson did not repent from using every trick in the book to install his brand of power.”

    Thanks, Tud! My point exactly. I’m glad that there are possibly others that benefited from him, but I’m not ready to stand by and say he got no benefits either.

  29. Dick Clark is a household name. Colson isn’t front page news.

  30. You’re welcome, beerboy.

    So far, Colson, North, Abramoff, and North haven’t brought down the government. One more term with Obama should do the trick.

  31. averageJoseph says:

    “At first, it sounded like a non-political organization”… ACORN?

  32. “I hope for your sake bBoy that when your brokenness comes to bite you, especially if it is revealed publicly, that folks will extend more grace to you than you are willing to extend to Chuck Colson”

    Again with the hypocrisy, you are on fire today!

  33. tuddo, I’d like to see some documentation of your criticism of Colson, that PF was political as opposed to salvific. I’m a long-time contributor and have never heard your charge.

    You’re up at bat, dude.

  34. BTW, PF’s emphasis on restitution is refreshing and virtually absent in all other “rehabilitation” programs, if I may use that word at all. No doubt Colson saw his own work following prison as restitution to society.

  35. velmak, google Wilberforce Forum and Prison Fellowship. There have been many, many articles written about this link. Early on, until the IRS issued a warning, Colson was taking money from Prison Fellowship to support his political action group. They are actually one and the same in board membership, but one is a not-for-profit that cannot do partisan politics and the other is a political front.

    The Wilberforce Forum was a conservative Christian political think tank and action group that has been particularly active in the promotion of Intelligent design in public education and has led legislative efforts against cell cloning, human biological science, especially genome mapping and others.

    As soon as Colson died, the Wilberforce arm was disbanded and even the website removed.

    I’ll try to find the NYT expose from about ten years ago, but I don’t have it in any of my archives.

  36. Here is an earlier press release on Wilberforce. Notice the last line. That is where 80% of the funding went:

    “The Wilberforce Forum is also active in shaping public policy, especially regarding freedom of religion, justice, and the sanctity and dignity of life.”

    (In other words, thying to turn the USA into a right-wing Christian theocracy)

    http://web.archive.org/web/20070927230245/http://www.demossnewspond.com/wf/presskit/wffactsheet.htm

  37. RLangdon says:

    Brothers and Sisters! Please join with me in forgiving our brother John!

    John gave into the sins of the flesh, but he is only human, and sometimes humans who lack perfection, do fall from grace. But, with our forgiveness and the help of The Lord, John can rise up from the depths of his derision to regain his place of goodness and light with The Lord!

    Let us join together and for Brother John for his transgressions.

    Can I have and AMEN!

    (P.S. John Edwards, Democrat, former candidate for POTUS, now undergoing trial for his wrongful deeds. I forgive him. Do you?)

  38. RLangdon –

    As far as cheating on his terminally ill wife – that isn’t up to me to forgive – his children have to wrestle with that one. As far as the alleged attempt to defraud the electorate, if Edwards is guilty of the crimes that he has been accused of he should be sentenced and serve his full term.

  39. “I hope for your sake bBoy that when your brokenness comes to bite you, especially if it is revealed publicly, that folks will extend more grace to you than you are willing to extend to Chuck Colson”

    I love it when slogans like “God bless you” and “I will pray for you” are said with malicious intent – …decent church-going women with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces…

  40. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    The venomous comments from those who are angry that I don’t celebrate Colson’s conversion to the peace of Christ is exactly why self-proclaimed ‘saved” souls are so often seen as mean-spirited hypocrites.

    So… then you go on to post a passage from possibly the most vulgar piece of crap ever to co-opt the name of Thanksgiving.

    You’re doing a great job of digging your hole deeper, bB. And if their were ever a more inappropriate and despicable human being to quote than ws burroughs (and I’m sure you can top him), I don’t know who that would be. Burroughs; drug addic and son of a 1%er, whose disdain for, and resentment of the Rockwell version of America – the very same America that provided him with a life of relative leisure – was only exceeded by his well known excesses.

    So why not just throw him in your hole when your done digging. No need to cover him up, he’s already as rotten as he’s ever been. (That would be a well deserved dose of your own hypocrisy.)

  41. averageJoseph says:

    Bulls eye Vox.

  42. It’s troubling that you equate my statement with the things you mention here bBoy. I actually DO hope that you will be the recipient of grace if and when your “sins” catch up to you.

    Said without bitterness, meanness, and I hope to goodness no pinched, evil face.

  43. As for John Edwards, he deserves grace as well. Mind you it’s easier to access the feelings that go with forgiveness when someone admits to wrong-doing. I don’t know his personal story about all this. Has he acknowledged wrong-doing, as Colson did?

  44. RLangdon says:

    beerBoy, I am convinced that you can find venom where there are no snakes. When I wrote “God Bless you beerBoy!” there was absolutely no malicious intent whatsoever. I was completely sincere, whether you choose to believe that or not.

    God Bless you again, beerBoy.

  45. the most vulgar piece of crap

    A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be “one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century.”[1] His influence is considered to have affected a range of popular culture as well as literature. Burroughs wrote 18 novels and novellas, six collections of short stories and four collections of essays. Five books have been published of his interviews and correspondences. He also collaborated on projects and recordings with numerous performers and musicians, and made many appearances in films.

  46. Unfortunately, I grew up in an area where it seemed like the whole purpose of Christianity was to hate, belittle others, create divisions between human beings, gossip and pry into other people’s private lives, establish a mean-spirited demonization of others (including and especially other Christians who might not share the exact same belefs, especially Catholics) in order to develop a false sense of pride and superiority.

    I became a Baptist minister in order to move church teachings back to what I thought were the true words and purpose of Christ and His sacrifice, but I was defeated by the overwhelming and disgusting hypocrisy of the Southern Baptist denomination when the right wing took it over, and the power of hate and derision that plagues many Christian groups gained predominance.

    So, I am one with Burroughs on his observations of many (not all) Christians, especially the ones in power on TV, in leadership roles and the ones where huge sums of money are donated to enrich the minister and his personal entourage.

    While I believe that Colson had a right to believe anything he wanted to, his insistence on using religion to deny civil rights to others and using the power of donations that were meant to go to services for prisoners for political action events against gay marriage and freedom of choice was wrong.

    Gary Bauer’s organization liked it, of course, since it shared in the donations Colson received by deceit.

  47. It is very rare that people change substantially who they are. I have known several converts to “born-again” Christianity. The ones who were nice people before they found Christ continued to be nice people. The former addicts replaced their substance addiction for Christ addiction. And the creeps who always were looking for a way to get over on you, used their “Christian” faith to try to pull scams.

    As W.S. Burroughs said:
    “Never do business with a religious son of a b_____. His word ain’t worth sh___, not with the good Lord telling him how to f___ you on the deal.”

    Colson was CREEP before he found that “old time religion”. I am highly skeptical that he changed who he truly was. I suppose it could happen. But unlikely.

    The CREEP-factor in Christian fundamentalism is most prevalent in the heretical “Gospel of Prosperity” preachers who keep begging for your “love-gifts” so Santa….errr…Jesus will give you wealth.

  48. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    And the hole gets deeper.

    Truly, bB, appropriateness aside, your idea of the life and death of someone you see as an unredeemed “creep” when juxtaposed against someone you apparently revere – an individual whose “distinguished”, and unrepentant, life included being thrown out of the Army after being diagnosed as a paranoid-schizophrenic, becoming an opiate drug addict and remaining one for more than 30 years, shooting and killing his wife, and failing to report a murder that was committed by a friend… just to name a few – seems more than just a bit bizarre.

    Why is it the left worships such self destructive losers, while despising not just decency, but those who, like Burroughs, have strayed from anything resembling a constructive path, and who, unlike Burroughs, were able to right their ship and go on to do worthy things for mankind, rather than contribute nothing but disparaging garbage about the supposed unfairness of it all?

    The fact they could “write” about it notwithstanding, the whole “beat gang” were largely nothing more than a bunch of Ivy League “1%’ers” whose “allowances” afforded them the ability to live depraved lives while disparaging anyone who didn’t share their own depravity and overwhelming sense of failure and self-worthlessness.

    Truly pathetic bB.

  49. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Third line, second paragraph should have read “strayed from anything resembling a constructive path, but who,”

  50. vox – I have no doubt that you and your fellow travelers (or should that be “residents”?), with the possible exception of one short story by Kurt Vonnegut (and nothing else in his body of work), do not share my reading list. You attempt to denigrate Burroughs by focusing upon his biography – apparently forgetting that many of the greats also had many sordid details in their lives as well.

    I find it interesting that, since Colson has “gone to his final reward” – why is it so damn important to you religious types that he be celebrated by the secular press? (that was the thrust of the initial letter)

  51. averageJoseph says:

    Why do you hate so much bB?

  52. Explain where you see “hate” in that post.

  53. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    First of all, bB, as I’ve stated before, I would not come close to qualifying as a “religious type”. Though I too spent a sizable portion of my youth involved in the church as a requirement of living with my parents, I am a great deal closer to agnostic now, than any sort of religious belief.

    But, unlike my highly vocal atheist pen-pals here, I harbor absolutely no ill will toward believers – in fact, I prefer their company to atheists, and find them far less “preachy”and a great deal more stable.

    I am simply observing the odd reverence you, and others of your ilk, have for people whose lives were so incredibly self destructive and self-admittedly pointless wastes. And like your Easter… musings, how you feel the need to be inappropriate whenever an event concerns Christianity.

    Colson confessed to the crime of conspiracy and served his time. Burroughs committed numerous crimes far more serious in nature, and most for most of which he avoided prosecution – including murder, obstruction of justice in the cover-up of another murder, drug dealing and use, prostitution… the list is endless by comparison. Yet you not only zero in on a repentant man at his passing, but you clearly demonstrate the ability to (hypocritically) overlook the crimes of an unrepentant member of the “arts” community, while using a disgusting quote from him in your comments regarding the former at his passing.

    Doesn’t that strike you as the least bit classless, if not down-right hypocritical?

    BTW, you are aware that Burroughs was also a follower of Scientology… right?

  54. averageJoseph says:

    I wasn’t singular in nature bB.

  55. vox, you may be wasting your breath. Unrepentant, vulgar people in the arts community simply get a pass in this world. Their melancholy and their hedonism; their alcoholism and their bitter cynicism are just part of their artistic nature. Glamorizing them and overlooking their conduct is the price we must pay for their brilliance. Sarcasm, of course, intended.

    This IS strange, though bBoy, that you would write this about Burroughs: “You attempt to denigrate Burroughs by focusing upon his biography – apparently forgetting that many of the greats also had many sordid details in their lives as well” and still hold fast to your gutter depiction of Colson as a creep.

    From this thread alone, it’s clear that both you and tuddo are scarred by your experiences with two very legalistic communities within the larger, world church. It’s been evident for a long time that tuddo can’t get beyond his scar tissue, and it would appear in this case, you too are hung up.

    As for the micreants who claim to represent Christ while they rip off innocent and gullible people, a huge percentage of “believers” — Christians — share in your disdain for them. God will deal with them, and he will deal with Chuch Colson. It’s out of our hands.

  56. I have very little room for forgiveness for traitors to this country.

  57. averageJoseph says:

    … selectively speaking of course. ;)

  58. sozo, I am well beyond any scarring. I speak of the South in the 1940’s – 1950’s and well into the present day. It is part of our country’s history. It is part of Christianity’s legacy in the South and much of rural America. A sad part, indeed.

    I imagine you are too young to have seen chain gangs of black workers who had minor infractions that got a white person a fine and a black person two or three years of hard labor in the sugar fields. I’ve heard Washington didn’t have segregated schools or water fountains. Good for this progressive state.

    It is no wonder that one of our former national Speakers was a racist. He represented Sugar Land, a corporate town run by and for Imperial Sugar company. The nearby Texas prisons would send crews there to harvest the sugar cane well into the 1960’s and 1970’s. All shackled by their feet, whipped by men on horseback until their backs bled, worked in the heat, cold rain and sun.

    You probably didn’t live in a region that no matter what Christian church you went to, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, you were assailed by the preachers teaching hate and bigotry. Even the Episcopal dioceses refused to allow blacks to join their congregations, and they were the most liberal churches around.

    I remember my mother speaking to the first black woman who dared to attend our church. She was elderly, from Wisconsin and our church was within walking distance of her retiement tower. I suppose she had no clue about the rampant racism of the Christian South. This was 1964 while I was home on leave from the Army. For speaking with her, my mother was thrown out of WMU and asked not to welcome “those kind” of people anymore.

    I know you have a rosy view of the world, and that is fine, but poets and historians look at the real world, often from different viewpoints than you in your protective cocoon.

    In Houston, just to show those uppity northerners where they could stick their integration, the school district opened two new high schools in 1964, Robert E Lee and Rebel High School (R.E. Lee was later changed to Lee and Rebel to Westbury in 2001, but kept the rebel flag as its logo).

    Burroughs captured the world of the South and much of America (parts of Ohio, Missouri and many other racist areas) extremely accurately.

    The same sad legacy will be reported in the future when people can not even imagine Christians vilifying gay people and the wonderful families they have. Some naive person like you will point to someone who lived through it and say, “Oh, it wasn’t most Christians, only a tiny, tiny minority. He is bitter because he is scarred from an isolated incident. Christians are really not like that at all.”

  59. God will deal with them, and he will deal with Chuch Colson.

    And yet, the original premise of the letter was a whine that Colson’s passing didn’t receive enough notice from the press. (as though a column from a nationally syndicated columnist published in multiple papers wasn’t significant notice).

    As I wrote above – on the nation-wide stage Colson was an integral part of a very disgraceful deceit perpetuated upon all of us. For this he served a mere 7 months. He found religion and became active in that – I didn’t follow his efforts – perhaps he changed, perhaps not, I don’t know. But – doesn’t it seem a little odd that someone would complain that he hadn’t gotten his proper respect from the nation – especially since Matthew records Jesus saying:

    “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    I’m not scarred sozo. I just see many followers who are exactly the kind of people Jesus was warning us about.

  60. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    beerBs, Colson confessed, and served his time for conspiracy in the Ellsberg case – he was never convicted of anything associated with Watergate – if that’s what you’re referring to as “traitorous”.

    However, the big hero of the left, Daniel Ellsberg was charged with, and actually should have been convicted of, espionage were it not for the actions of the Nixon White House against him. The judge in the case dismissed the charges as a result of White House tampering, and Colson’s conspiracy charges stemmed from that.

    The interesting thing here is that you state “I have very little room for forgiveness for traitors to this country”, yet I’m sure you consider Ellsberg a hero.

    So who’s actions more closely resemble the meaning of “traitorous”?

    You won’t find me writing inappropriate comments about Daniel Ellsberg upon his passing – or any other hero’s of the left upon theirs for that matter.

  61. Vox, no question, Colsons actions harmed the country, Ellsberg’s actions assisted in showing that a series of presidents had escalated us into an illegal war absed on illegal and secret treaties that were not approved using Constitutional means, and that we had sent hundreds of thousands of our troops to fight a war that we knew and acknowledged we could never win and that we knew and acknowledged had no impact on the security of the USA.

    Truman ahd signed a pact with the French to gain some leverage in totally unrelated areas, Eisenhower allowed the treaty to remain secret instead of bringing it forward for ratification, and then escalation upon escalation because of the hurt feelings of the military-industrial complex and the right wing that our “honor” was being harmed by losing to what was seen as an inferior force.

    We must keep our leaders honest and call into question when they ignore the Constitution.

    Ellsberg was a man of courage. He tried to enlist the aid of some Senators, who would have been immune from prosecution (but not from expulsion), but they were all cowards and did not want to fight a complicated political battle. On the advice of the Senators he talked with and showed the information to the press.

    Let me ask you this: if you had certain knowledge and absolute proof that President Obama was conducting unconstitutional activities that was killing thousands of our troops needlessly and putting our nation into great harm, what would you do with the information if it was classified, and no one in authority above you would do anything about it?

  62. averageJoseph says:

    Speaking of Colson and Watergate… apparently Obama has his own enemies list.

  63. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Couple things tud:

    First, my question to bB is whose actions fit the standard of the the word “treason”:
    1) a person who conspires to discredit a whistleblower, or
    2) a person who reveals top secret information?

    Secon, you can rationalize Ellberg’s actions all you want, but I believe that despite his failed efforts to convince the Democrat Congress to take action on the papers, there were still more appropriate channels available to him than the New York Times. And further, he likely would have been convicted of espionage if the Nixon White House had simply let justice run its course.

    I think that also answers you next question. I simply do not believe the ends justify the means when it comes to national security any more than I believe they do when the otherwise obvious choice for president tries to cover-up responsibility for an attempted break-in at the opposing party’s HQ.

    And no, I did not like Nixon – didn’t vote for him (voted for McGovern) – couldn’t stand him. He personally set conservatism back10 years in the White House and 20 on Capital Hill, and condemned me to wander in the wasteland of liberalism for another six years. Thankfully, Jimmy Carter cured me of it.

  64. Vox, to make sure I understand your answer, you would keep secret the proof that a president, (Obama included) was operating illegally and uunconstitutionally, even if his actions were killing thousands of our troops a month, just because you think illegal secrecy by the government is more important to keep than upholding the Constitution or saving the lives of our soldiers?

  65. If, tuddo, you think I have a “rosy” perspective” on the world, you are mistaken– and you haven’t read many of my posts in depth.

    One of my favorite writers is Flannery O’Connor who had no problem with the brutality of the real world. I’ll assume you are familiar with her fiction?

    Please understand, the racist world you describe, in the south before Civil Rights, both outside the church, and in some cases within, was reprehensible. I get it. I think we all get it. Those so-called preachers and Christian leaders do not represent the majority of Christians; they didn’t then and they certainly don’t today.

    From the time I was a young woman, I have spoken out against racism, and I have been an advocate for human rights. I am weary of the presumption that because one believes in the resurrected Christ and takes the word of God very seriously, he/she is a racist ignoramus.

  66. sozo, For some reason you think I am passionate about human rights because I was “scarred” and not bcause of my belief in the true meaning of Christ’s sacrifice for all humans.

    You try to belittle “social justice” as some disease of the left instead of being the real message of Christ’s example on earth.

    You are an enigma, but not an isolated one. I am always puzzled at those who move on from their last embarassment, to the next embarassment, exactly the same as the last one.

    People who really don’t respect Christ, but love his man-made churches, often say: “Christ said to treat all people the same, except for (insert current Christian-demonized group here). Currently is is gay people.

    When Christians realize gays are Godly creations also, like most have changed and realized blacks are, then who will be next in line for the trauma of being hated, demonized and disenfanchised by Christian churches? A Godly gay person wants to be a pastor in our church? Heavens, no, we can’t have that, can we?

    Early on in the US, it was only the Quakers and the Roman Catholics who were anti-slavery, hardly a majority. In 1801 Methodists came out against it, but soon split into northern and southern wings. In 1837, southerners in the Presbyterian denomination joined forces with conservative northerners to drive the antislavery New School Presbyterians out of the denomination. In 1844, the Episcopal Church split into northern and southern wings over the issue of slavery. In 1845, the Baptists in the South formed the Southern Baptist Convention due to disputes with Northern Baptists over slavery.

    Ingtegratn and civil rights took over one hundred years after that to be enforeced.

    Just as you call preachers who were against equal treatment of blacks as “so-called” Christians, I call people who are against equal treatment of gays “so-called Chrstians” and hypcrites to their own faith. People who try to justify it are only showing that they have no regard for the truth of Jesus Christ and are spitting on His sacrifice.

    Denominations who preach this stuff ought to call themselves the Old Testament God of Vengeance Church or something and take the Jesus Christ of love out of their beliefs completely. They prove they don’t mean a word of it every time they do something like vote not to allow gay leaders in their churches.

  67. averageJoseph says:

    Yes, gays are God’s creation, their sin is not.

  68. I am an active supporter of IJM, International Justice Mission. I did not say I am opposed to social justice; I said the term is loaded so I avoid using it.

    I do not hold fast to any institution, including the institutional church. I look to Christ and his teachings, just as you claim to do tuddo. On another thread I asked you where you get the notion that Christ condoned everything. That’s not what grace is, and I don’t know where you get that idea.

  69. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Tud, let’s just say I wouldn’t take the Hollywood approach – that is, commit a treasonous act so that the left could worship me and Hollywood could make a movie about me.

    As for the Pentagon Papers case, I believe that Ellsberg had political reasons for doing what he did – more so than patriotic – and I believe there were other options available for him besides treason. I would hope that my response to the scenario you describe would be to seek those proper options rather than illegally providing top secret papers to the New York Times.

  70. sozo, I never said Christ condoned everything. He had nothing to say about gays or gay marriage. The Sermon on the Mount includes a lot of behavior and internal beliefs he commanded or said were not tolerable.

    In the Sermon on the Mount, some preachers say that Jesus was contrasting the old law with the new. Jesus did nothing of the kind. He said that the scribes and pharisees had misinterpreted the old law and that it could be summed up as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (He used phrases such as “it has been said”, or “it was said” when talking about misinterpretations, and used emphatic quotes when he actually quoted the law.)

    We are no longer bound by the old laws, anyway. Hebrews 8:7-13; Colossians 2:14; etc

    If people want to live by Hebrew tribal health codes and traditions, then they certainly can, but that is not Jesus’ path for salvation.

  71. Vox, suggest some proper options. I think hyou might want to read and study what Ellsberg did try to do before he gave them to the press, which he fought against, but was urged by several Senators to do as a last resort.

    He had long deliberations with numerous influential people about the proper course to take that would harm our military the least and yet get a proper study of the documents. Most people who had no immunity from prosecution would not even talk with him, several professors at harvard and other institutions he asked to look at the papers to see if they agreed with his analysis. So the only two sources that did have immunity were Congress and the press. (Of course the NYT was sued, but the Supreme Court held them free of liability under freedom of the press.)

    Ellsberg was charged under the Espionage Act, and the US Supreme Court had made clear that to sustain a case under the Espionage Act, the government would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had a specific criminal intent to injure the United States and that he acted in bad faith.

    I am not so sure the government could have made such a case, especially with dozens of people having heard from Ellsberg before his act of his intent, his desire not to ahrm the US and his belief that his actions were Constitutional.

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