I was just out of technical school and working at WCBG 1590 AM Radio in Chambersburg, PA, recalling August 9, 1974 when then President Richard Nixon resigned from office, the first (and to date only) U.S. president ever to do so. I remember NBC Breaking news frequently interrupting local programming on what was happening in the nation’s capitol. As a young DJ, I was a bit annoyed, wanting to just play music all night long.
The hearing in Washington D.C. with Michael Cohen being questioned by Senators brings back memories of my working on editing, a number of years later after being a young DJ, an interview that Dennis Benson did with White House conspirator Chuck Colson who pleaded guilty and went to prison. Here is the Passages show featuring Colson telling about life in prison …
Executive Producer for Passages Dennis C. Benson wrote in a Facebook post in fall of 2018 about Colson ….
“Stench of Prison”
I am alone for breakfast in my usual booth. My news feed on my iPhone stuffs another criminal politician story into my conscience. Is it power that corrupts? Is it the money that blinds our leaders from being true to higher moral values?
A few years ago, I spent some time with a corrupt politician who found his way back to an ethical life.
“It was before Watergate really closed in on me. It was the realization that out of all the things I had done into life, the great American Dream, hadn’t provided fulfillment. I plead guilty. I went to prison right after I left the White House.”
“Went to prison. That’s a year after I had become a Christian. And as of those Nixon law and order men, I used to think of
prison as a place for criminals who belonged there.”
“I got to prison, and the first shock was seeing men around me who didn’t belong there. Men who were there for incredibly trivial mistakes.”
“And I saw a lot of human suffering, people who were forgotten. We started a little Bible study group when I was in prison. Men would come to us, night after night , and gave their lives to Christ. And I would see their lives changed, transformed.”
“So when I left prison, though I wanted to forget it, and put it behind me, because it is a horrid place, and I still had the stench of prison on my clothes, and I wanted to forget the place and I wanted to walk the fields, look at the birds, pick the flowers, and take some time with my family, but–I still couldn’t forget the men I left behind in prison.”
“So after wrestling with God for a year, I made the decision to go into the prison work full time. And now that’s where I spend my life.”
“I have been in more than 250 prisons since I got out myself. The amazing thing to me is that when I got to prison, there was a guy in the next bunk who was doing three years for a $3,000 tax aversion. And there was a kid across the way who cashed a bad check for $84 dollars!”
“There was another fellow there who killed 26 people. Here was a hit. You will find the whole range of people in prison. And it is one of the problems we have, one of the reasons we have not reformed the present system the way we ought.”
“We are very self righteous. We think that it is good enough. Those criminals have committed a crime, put them in there, and throw away the key and forget about it.”
“Those are our brothers and sisters. They hate people who have made a mistake, some of them for very minor mistakes.”
“Remember when Jesus was marched up that hill, to hang from the cross, he did as much for that man or woman in prison as he did for us.”
“Prisons do not rehabilitate. They don’t defer crime. We have more people in prison, and we have more crime. They are not working.”
“I almost feel like I am back in prison. I travel perhaps two weeks at a time. I am on the tail end of a two week trip right now.”
“Then I take two weeks to read and write. It’s really hard. Everyone thinks the Christian life is a bed of roses. It’s got its ups and downs. And sometimes you get out on the road, staying in second rate hotels.”
“Sometimes you get awful tired and awful weary and worn down. And I do. I used to feel self pity about it.”
“I don’t anymore because I realize that it is a great privilege to serve the Lord even though it is pretty exhausting.”
Chuck Colson died in 2012.
(© 1/6/13 by Dennis C. Benson 616 510 0873. All rights reserved.)
A reflection from what seems like just yesterday!