I’ve just seen the news that Charles Colson has died. He was most famous as one of President Richard Nixon’s henchmen but spent more of his life building a Christian evangelical ministry — which, long ago, was my only contact with him.

From Slate: Watergate Figure Charles Colson Dies at 80

Charles Colson, often described as the “evil genius” in President Nixon’s White House, died Saturday likely due to complications from brain surgery, reports the Associated Press. He certainly lived a full life. Colson joined the Nixon administration as special counsel in November 1969 and immediately gained favor because of his win-at-all-costs attitude. He once famously said that he would “walk over my own grandmother” to ensure Nixon’s re-election.

Colson was instrumental in running the Committee to Re-elect the President that gathered intelligence on opponents. He called himself a “hatchet man” and compiled Nixon’s enemies list, notes the Washington Post. He ended up serving a seven-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to efforts at discrediting Pentagon analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers.

To say he died a different man would be an understatement.

“He had this reputation as being this ruthless guy. Even Richard Nixon thought he was ruthless,” Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, tells the Los Angeles Times. “That is so different than the Chuck Colson I knew. He was the least ego-driven and one of the most friendly, kind people I’ve ever known.” …


– P