“Winning is Knowing Jesus.” – Senator Tom Coburn, 1948-2020 

The conservative movement lost a giant of a man on Saturday. Tom Coburn, M.D., a two-term U.S. Senator and three-term U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma, had been fighting prostate cancer for several years before passing into Glory on March 28. He was 72.  

Sometimes referred to as “Dr. No” by his colleagues in Congress for the many bills he blocked by placing a “hold” on them, he frustrated both parties at times yet was respected as a truly decent man by politicians on both sides of the aisle. He stood up for his principles.

Although a conservative, Coburn befriended President Barack Obama when the two freshman senators began their Senate careers in 2005. They remained good friends even though Coburn disagreed with most of President Obama’s agenda.

Coburn left behind a legacy of pro-life, pro-family and fiscally conservative votes that endeared him to Christians across the country. 

As an obstetrician, he delivered over 4,000 babies during his career. Although he originally graduated from college with an accounting degree, he later entered medical school after a bout with melanoma.

When he ran for Congress in 1994, Coburn promised he would serve no more than three consecutive two-year terms. He stayed true to his promise, leaving Congress in 2001. He ran successfully for the Senate in 2004, promising to retire after two terms. He actually resigned two years short of that, in 2015, because of his declining health.

At a conference held at Focus on the Family in 2017 by the Family Policy Alliance, a public policy organization affiliated with Focus, Coburn spoke about his career and passed on some practical wisdom to an assembled group of future legislators.

“Winning is knowing Jesus,” Coburn said in putting legislative victories in their proper context. If you don’t, “everything else doesn’t count.”

Coburn was a blessing to his constituents, his colleagues, his patients and ultimately to the nation. 


Patricia Colson 1930-2020

Patricia Anne Colson, wife of the late Charles (Chuck) Colson, passed away peacefully at her home in Naples, Florida on March 27.

According to Breakpoint’s obituary of her, Mrs. Colson was interested in politics as well as her late husband’s ministries, Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview:

“Patty had a keen interest in politics, but she was best known for her resilient spirit, gregarious personality, and unstoppable sense of humor, all of which carried her through the years Chuck served in the White House, as well as the many public and private pressures of the Watergate scandal. After Chuck’s conversion to Christ in 1973, his seven-month prison term in 1974, and through the founding of Prison Fellowship Ministries, and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Patty, strengthened by her own faith in Christ, became an invaluable partner in ministry.

“Even though Chuck’s schedule could mean days and weeks apart, Patty supported Chuck in every way, and was keenly involved in every step of ministry. ‘Happy,’ as she was affectionately called by Chuck and her family, adored delivering Angel Tree gifts to the children of prisoners, served as a wise counsel, and although she disliked flying, accompanied Chuck around the globe and into some of the darkest places in the world to bring the truth and hope of Christ to prisoners.

“Most importantly, Patty had a personal relationship with her savior, Jesus. She knew and lived by His saving grace and trusted in His power to redeem and make all things new. Her hope in Christ brought her through many great challenges in life. And today, that hope is made sight, as she enters into the presence of the Lord.” 

Tim Goeglein, Focus on the Family Vice President of External Relations, recalls his favorite memories of the Colsons:

“The greatest memories I have are of seeing both Patty and Chuck annually at The White House Christmas party,” Goeglein recounted. “Patty had natural brio and good grace, and she made a point of not just selecting items from the buffet in the East Room but of commenting on the beauty of the surroundings: elaborately-decorated cookies, or the festivity of the decorations, or the lyricism of the orchestra. She was very present in the moment, and had a natural way of conveying gratitude and goodwill. She was a woman of great style and class, and as Mike Gerson shared with me at the weekend, also ‘formidable.’ Indeed, she was:  Chuck’s equal in every manner.”

R.I.P. Tom Coburn and Patricia Colson

Photo of Patricia Colson by Deborah Cull