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January 25, 2008

Upholding human dignity: Al Quie

Last weekend, Prison Fellowship Board Member Al Quie received the 2008 Wilberforce Award—a much-deserved honor. Chuck Colson elaborates:

Indeed, upholding human dignity has been a hallmark of Al Quie’s decades of public service and ministry—and the reason why last week he was honored with our 2008 William Wilberforce Award. We give the award every year “in recognition of exemplary witness for Jesus Christ, perseverance, and selflessness in combating social injustice and advancing Christian values in the face of opposition.”

A former state senator, congressman, and governor of Minnesota, Al cites two accomplishments that give him a great sense of gratification: the first, landmark legislation mandating public education for handicapped children. The second, fair-employment legislation that abolished job discrimination against African-Americans.

At the time, both segments of society were treated as second-class citizens. But Al had learned from a father who treated hoboes as honored guests. So when Al pushed for the legislation, he gave his fellow legislators only one reason: “It’s the right thing to do.”

Al Quie is also a man who, at the height of the Watergate scandal, reached out to a disgraced advisor to President Nixon: one Chuck Colson. Seven months into my prison term, I was facing a pair of family crises. Al called and said he was going to go see the president to ask Gerald Ford if he, Al, could serve the rest of my prison sentence. I was overwhelmed. His willingness to lay down his life for me was a turning point: I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ was real.

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