Charles W. Colson to Receive Acton Institute's Faith & Freedom Award


The Acton Institute will honor Charles W. “Chuck” Colson, bestselling author and head of Prison Fellowship Ministries, with the Faith & Freedom Award at the institute's annual dinner in Grand Rapids on Oct. 26.

One of the nation's most prominent evangelical Christians, Colson is founder and chairman of the board of Prison Fellowship, the Virginia-based organization he established in 1976 to assist prisoners, ex-prisoners, victims, and affected families. Prison Fellowship is today the world's largest outreach to prisoners.

At the Acton dinner, Colson will talk about the “great clash of civilizations” that the West is currently experiencing both with radical Islam and the growing forces of secularization. Christianity, Colson says, is the religion which has spawned the greatest civilization in human history but it is embattled on two fronts. This clash, he says, is a life and death struggle — a war between the worlds.

Almost 30 years ago, Charles W. Colson was known as the White House “hatchet man,” a man feared by even the most powerful politicos during his four years of service to President Nixon.

When news of Colson's conversion to Christianity leaked to the press in 1973, not long before he entered a plea of guilty to Watergate-related charges, the Boston Globe reported: “If Mr. Colson can repent of his sins, there just has to be hope for everybody.” Colson would agree.

In recognition of his work, Colson received the prestigious Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1993, donating the $1 million prize to Prison Fellowship. Among Colson's other awards are the Humanitarian Award, Dominos Pizza Corporation (1991); and The Others Award, The Salvation Army (1990).

Colson's 1987 book Kingdoms in Conflict was a best-selling directive to the Christian community on the proper relationships of church and state, and it positioned Colson as a centrist evangelical voice for balanced Christian political activism.

In his most recent book, The Good Life , Colson reflects not only on his life in politics, prison, and ministry, but also on the lives of historical figures and ordinary people, examining what makes life worth living. He concludes that finding what is true and sacrificing ourselves to that truth lies at the heart of living a good life.

While Colson is one of the Christian community's most sought-after speakers, he has resolutely refused to establish a speaking fee. Perhaps anticipating criticism of any appearance of self-enrichment by a former Watergate figure, Colson donates all speaking honoraria and book royalties to Prison Fellowship, and accepts the salary of a mid-range ministry executive.

Other recipients of Acton's Faith & Freedom Award include business pioneer and philanthropist John Marks Templeton; Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, the former archbishop of Saigon, Vietnam; and Rocco Buttiglione, Italy's Minister of European Affairs and an academic philosopher.

Tickets are still available for the Acton annual dinner. To register online, please visit: http://www.acton.org/dinner/

About the Acton Institute
With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles." For more on the Acton Institute, please visit www.acton.org.

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at jcouretas@acton.org.