Chuck Colson, Renaissance man

BurglarSir John Templeton, the wildly-successful mutual-fund manager who pioneered international investing died Tuesday at the age of 95. He was also well-known for giving away much of his fortune to scientific and religious causes. Mark will be looking at some of the obituaries, which seem amazed by Templeton's belief that science and faith might be reconciled, in the next day or so. But one had an error we have to point out.

Like many other papers, the Telegraph focused a great deal on Templeton's religious philanthropy. But check out these paragraphs:

In 1973 he inaugurated the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, an annual award to remedy the Nobel Foundation's omission of religion from its prizes.

A brilliant publicist, Templeton guaranteed that his prize would always be worth more than the Nobel, and arranged for the Duke of Edinburgh to present the award at Buckingham Palace, thus ensuring full press coverage.

From 1973, when it stood at £70,000, the prize money has risen to £820,000, making the Templeton Prize one of the world's largest annual monetary awards.

Winners over the years have included Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Alexander Solzhenitzyn, the Reverend Dr Billy Graham, and Charles Colson, the Watergate-burglar-turned-minister. Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Jews also qualified to win the prize.

All of which is interesting. Except that Chuck Colson (who, by the way, donated his entire prize to Prison Fellowship) was not a Watergate burglar and is not an ordained minister.

Other than that, no problem. The bungling of these descriptors is just sloppy journalism. As for the second of those two mistakes, it makes you wonder if the reporter thinks that all people involved in religious work are clergy (see James Dobson, etc., etc.).

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