Colson Celebrates Growth Of Religious Right Pact With Catholic Bishops

Religious Right activist Charles W. Colson says a growing alliance between conservative evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics can change American culture.

Colson, the Watergate-era felon turned Religious Right culture warrior, claimed in a recent Christianity Today column (coauthored by Timothy George) that a movement he started called Evangelicals and Catholics Together is spreading across the nation.

In November of 2009, Colson and other far-right Protestants joined with several Roman Catholic bishops to issue the Manhattan Declaration, a document demanding that the U.S. government conform to conservative theological views on social issues. (See “Manhattan Project: Catholic, Evangelical Declaration Signers Seek To Nuke The Church-State Wall,” January 2010 Church & State.)

Colson asserted that evangelicals and Catholics are rallying around the document. He said that evangelicals in Mobile, Ala., held a citywide rally late last year and reached out to Catholics. More than 2,000 people attended. He also pointed to events in Phoenix, Albuquerque and Oakland, Calif.

“The Manhattan Declaration, after all, is an effort to draw a line in the sand against the surging tides of secularism and the growing hostility in many quarters toward Christianity, and to defend religious freedom for all persons of faith,” wrote Colson and George.

Colson’s latest project has been to fashion a cadre of fundamentalist true believers who will take their “biblical worldview” into every area of life, including American politics.

The Washington Post reported that Colson calls his followers “centurions,” after the battle-hardened soldiers of the Roman era. They currently number about 640.

“What this country needs is a movement,” Colson said.

A Colson colleague named Chip Mahon explained the goal, telling The Post, “The point was to get more people to be like Chuck.”

Although Colson poses as a moderate, his views lean toward the extreme. In 2007, he attacked Islam, calling the religion a “vicious evil.” He once told Southern Baptist pastors that their purpose should be “to take command and dominion over every aspect of life, whether it’s music, science, law, politics, communities, families, to bring Christianity to bear in every single area of life.”

In June of 2009, Colson was the featured speaker at an Atlanta conference for the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, a group whose founder celebrates theocracy, defends slavery as biblical and expresses regret that the Confederacy lost the Civil War.

Colson also once criticized evangelical Christians for being inadequately militant, charging that too many of them “worship at the altar of the bitch goddess of tolerance.” He has even blasted the Girl Scouts for their sex education efforts, warning that “we need to be on the lookout for radical, destructive worldviews everywhere – even behind the boxes of Girl Scout cookies.”