By: Joni Eareckson Tada|Published: April 26, 2013 12:00 AM
I met Chuck Colson in 1976 when Zondervan published both Joni and his book Born Again. My story was about finding freedom through the confinement of my wheelchair; Chuck’s story was about finding freedom in Christ after his confinement in prison. That connection would become the platform of a deep and abiding friendship – we frequently spoke together at press conferences or at symposiums that highlighted the sanctity of life, ethical stem cell research, the rights of the medically fragile, newborns with disabilities and the elderly.
Whenever I had a question or needed his advice on a court decision, Chuck was my go-to guy. And when I was appointed to the National Council on Disability in the late 1980s, he was the first one I called. No one knew the halls of Washington quite like Chuck. In 2012, I was deeply moved when Chuck told me I would be receiving the Wilberforce Award. The night I received the award, I knew my friend was in a hospital fighting for his life. What a valiant warrior! Just 24 hours earlier, Chuck had led a group of us in how we might work more closely together for the sanctity of life, religious liberties and the institution of marriage.
More than a year has passed since Chuck's homegoing, and all of us at Joni and Friends still miss his powerful voice on the urgent issues facing our nation. It’s why I'm asking you to honor his memory by promoting the Manhattan Declaration. It is a powerful document that states unequivocally the Christian’s stance on life, marriage, and religious liberties. I know it would be one way – an important way – that you personally could honor the legacy of this incredible Christian statesman.
Chuck would want you to keep his message alive – you and me, together standing strong for the Gospel of Christ and the sacredness of all life. Thanks, friend, for doing this for Chuck’s sake, but mostly for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Joni Eareckson Tada Joni and Friends International Disability Center