Like you, our hearts are so heavy, hearing the news that Chuck Colson has left us for Home and, of course, we pray for his wife Patty and the family. There will be other prophetic voices that will now rise up to call our nation back to moral absolutes, but none will have the authority and gravitas of our friend, Chuck.
I first met this remarkable man in 1976 when Zondervan published both Joni and his book Born Again. My story was about finding freedom through the confinement of my wheelchair; Chuck’s was about finding freedom in Christ after his confinement in prison. Our connection between those two books would be the platform of a deep friendship that would continue to grow over the years. Our paths crossed often from 1976 on, and we frequently found ourselves together on the front lines (at press conferences or in Washington DC), speaking to the sanctity of life, ethical stem cell research, and the rights of the medically fragile, newborns with disabilities and the elderly. If I had a question, or I needed his advice on some court decision jeopardizing people with disabilities, Chuck was my go-to source. And when I was appointed to the National Council on Disability, he was the first one I called. No one knew the halls of Washington quite like this man.
It was only a couple of weeks ago I was with him at the Wilberforce Weekend – that afternoon Chuck led a group of us in a discussion on how we might work together more closely for the sanctity of life, religious liberties and the institution of marriage. He looked a little tired in the meeting, but never did we foresee that just hours later he would collapse.
All of us at Joni and Friends will miss hearing him speak into the urgent issues facing our nation. His last few years were poured into the development and promotion of the Manhattan Declaration, a powerful document that issues a clarion call to Christians to adhere firmly on convictions about life, marriage, and religious liberties. He would encourage us to study and sign the declaration (which you can do by visiting manhattandeclaration.org). It would be an important way you could honor the legacy of this remarkable Christian.
With Chuck's voice silent, who will now speak to the sanctity of life? The institution of marriage as a union between one man and one woman? And our religious liberties which are now more in jeopardy than ever due to proposed regulations in the new healthcare law? Who will speak up? Chuck would want you to be that voice – you and me, together standing strong for the Gospel of Christ and the sacredness of all life. Thanks, friend, for doing this for Chuck’s sake, but mostly for the sake of Christ.