Obituary: Charles Colson (1931-2012)

April 22, 2012 in General

Charles Colson was a convicted Watergate conspirator who fell from grace amidst the shipwreck of the Nixon administration. In a stunning display of  fundamentalist ‘cheap grace’, the former felon converted to that  branch of  Christianity and founded a  ministry called  “Prison  Fellowship.” 

However,  I suspect that lesbian and gay readers of this column will have altogether other reasons for remembering this controversial figure.  As US blog “The New Civil Rights Movement” describes,  Colson  was also a fundamentalist ‘culture warrior”  who claimed falsely that because of women’s reproductive rights and LGBT rights, the ‘human rights’ of fundamentalist Christians were ‘under attack.’   He was one of the instigators of the   “Manhattan Declaration”,  in which conservative Catholics,  fundamentalist  Protestants  and Orthodox  Christians postured against women’s reproductive rights and LGBT rights, amongst other things.  He was a close ally of  conservative Catholic  ‘natural law’  philosopher  Robert George and founded the National Organisation for Marriage – against same-sex marriage.

In closing, I’ll cite NCRM’s  catalogue of  Colson’s antigay outbursts:

Colson repeatedly attacked same-sex marriage and homosexuality. He wrongly stated “homosexual behavior” is more “dangerous than smoking, it lowers the life expectancy dramatically.” Colson also falsely stated that legalizing same-sex marriage was “sanctioning behavior known to be dangerous.” And, again falsely, stated that gays and lesbians “don’t want marriage; they want their sexual choices affirmed as normal and moral.”

And as late as last year, despite years of research to the contrary, Colson was publicly advocating that homosexuality was both a choice and avoidable if parents “properly” raised their children. Colson pointed to the book “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality,” as the way to “learn more about what parents can do to lessen the chances their children will grow up homosexual.”

GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation included Colson in its recent premiere launch of the GLAAD Commentator Accountability Project (CAP), which tracks the statements of several dozen anti-gay pundits. The GLAAD CAP notes:

When the APA passed a resolution declaring so-called “ex-gay” treatment unethical, [Colson] said: “If any of this reminds you of the tactics of Nazi Germany, it ought to. In Hitler’s Germany the term for what the [American Psychological Association] is doing was Gleichgeschaltung, which means ‘forced conformity.’ If you didn’t conform to the government’s point of view, you risked losing your job. That is what’s happening in the world of psychology today.”


“Chuck Colson, Antigay Manhattan Declaration Author, Watergate Felon, Dies”  NCRM: 21.04.2012:


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