R.I.P. Charles Colson: Nixon Aide, Convict, Evangelist, Anti-Gay Zealot
Charles Colson, a former Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon and a strong opposer of the LGBT community, died on Saturday at the age of 80.
Colson, who was an Evangelical Christian leader, was involved in the infamous Watergate scandal and pled guilty to obstruction of justice for trying to defame Pentagon Papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg. He said that the experience had a significant impact on him and he became a Christian soon after the incident, On Top Magazine points out.
"He transferred his huge drive, intellect and maniacal energy from the service of Richard Nixon to the service of Jesus Christ," said his biographer, Jonathan Aitken.
After spending seven months in a minimum-security prison, Colson became a prominent voice of the evangelical community.
In 2009 he co-authored the "Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience" -- a manifesto that was signed by a number of religious leaders. Chicago's GoPride.com points out that Colson eventually got 500,000 people to sign the anti-gay document.
"Some who enter into same-sex and polyamorous relationships no doubt regard their unions as truly marital," the manifesto reads. "They fail to understand, however, that marriage is made possible by the sexual complementarity of man and woman, and that the comprehensive, multi-level sharing of life that marriage is includes bodily unity of the sort that unites husband and wife biologically as a reproductive unit."
Colson's anti-gay activism didn't stop with the Manhattan Declaration. It began there. As blogsite The New Civil Rights points out. Colson repeatedly attacked same-sex marriage, He called homosexuality behavior "more dangerous than smoking, it lowers the life expectancy dramatically."
Last year, Colson continued to promulgate the notion that homosexuality was a choice and the fault of parents. Among other statements, Colson likened the psychiatric establishment's condemnation of "ex-gay" therapies to Nazi Germany.
Besides gay rights, the manifesto also criticizes abortion, marriage and religious liberties.
"We argue that there is a hierarchy of issues," Colson told The New York Times. "A lot of younger evangelicals say they're all alike. We're hoping to educate them that theses are the three most important issues."
The Washington Post notes that Colson died from a brain hemorrhage earlier this month.