Charles Colson: “Grab St. Peter by the Balls, and He’ll Let You Into Heaven”
Charles Colson, one of Richard Nixon’s dirty tricksters, has passed away at the age of eighty. Next to Gordon Liddy, Charles Colson was probably the most colorful of Nixon’s henchmen.
Two of his more memorable quotes are: “I’d walk over my grandmother to get Richard Nixon re-elected” and “Grab them by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow.”
Colson’s main claim to fame was his involvement in Nixon’s effort to smear Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office was burglarized in an attempt to find damaging information that would discredit Ellsberg and, more importantly, get even with him for writing The Pentagon Papers.
Colson pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and got a seven month prison sentence. Before his sentencing, he became a born again Christian. Whether or not that was just a gimmick to get a lighter sentence — as everyone thought — Charles Colson remained active in evangelical activities up until his death.
He founded the Prison Fellowship Ministries in 1976 to help prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families. In addition to preaching, Colson tried to reduce prison overpopulation and pushed for alternative penalties — i.e. community service instead of prison — for nonviolent crimes.
He graduated from Brown University, served as a captain in the Marine Corps and received a doctorate from George Washington University.