OK, I might get some heat for this one, but it seems to me — before all the secularist, anti-Christian, anti-Judeo-Christian history revisionists rooted themselves in the re-writing of school history textbooks, in mainstream newsrooms, and as college professors and Google algorythm coders — that Christopher Columbus was a good guy, a respected leader and early discoverer of America. NOT A PERFECT MAN. But just like the rest of us on earth, including the history revisionists, a work in progress.
Yes, Leif Erikson was among the first, if not the first, to “discover” America, at least the East Coast. Others on the West Coast. But Columbus was the first to stay.
The Italian explorer, funded finally by Spain after many years wait, brought to America pioneering individuals, missionary priests and provisions with him in the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria ships, and he became the first to permanently settle in this newly discovered land.
Apparently Columbus’ strength was in discovery and not in onsite management.
But how is this different from you and me, or from the leaders of such entities as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and the self-righteous elite, including the history revisionists, of today?
As individuals we each have our strengths and weaknesses, our blindspots, our passions, and we each are given ample opportunities to learn from our mistakes and to correct and change what is not good in our habits or thinking. That happened to Columbus too. However in his case, he was someone who aimed to improve his life in God’s eyes, to confess and change, to endure hardship for what he felt was his vocation in life. Not so with everyone who is so quick to paint an unrealistic, broadstroke picture of him and as a result to condemn Columbus outright without a shred of goodness or beauty or importance in his daring, commitment, self-sacrifice and courage to pursue his explorations and convictions.
How arrogant can history revisionists and their blind believers be?
Think about it.
Without that settlement commitment of Columbus and those who joined on the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria—no easy life for sure—there would be no ongoing settlement of Europeans and others from that point on in what is now the U.S.
Maybe they would have arrived later. Maybe not. But ongoing European settlement did happen, and from that point in Columbus’ settlement expedition.
Without this, traveling down the line of history…
There would be no Thanksgiving, no independent United States of America, no Abraham Lincoln, no Martin Luther King.
There would be no future haven for immigrants of all nations seeking a better life, in all generations… no U.S.-level standard of living today, for better or worse.
And, ultimately, without the determination and commitment of Christopher Columbus, a Catholic in the business of exploration and innovation of his day, there would be no Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon. No Facebook! After all, these modern, super-wealthy corporate tech giants did not launch and begin to thrive in any other country but ours, which began its pioneering innovative direction thanks ultimately to its first settlers — for good and also for imperfect.
This is not arrogance. Just simple historic reality.
Those who blindly condemn Columbus as evil, who become so publicly enraged about his statues and the honors rightly bestowed upon him for centuries that they shout, scream, tear down statues, change the name of his day of honor and remembrance, declare themselves the righteous of today — seem to me little more than opportunists, especially the politicians among them.
It is sad. Perhaps even diabolical. After all, Columbus was a practicing Catholic — not perfect, like any of us aren’t perfect — but who lived with the habits of his era and who left much evidence of an intention to serve Christ in his life. Maybe that’s why today’s condemnation of him, in some outspoken, secularist circles, is especially hateful.
To give you an example, one Google-manipulated algorythm search result I found on Christopher Columbus led me to a page produced by an entity called THE CONVERSATION, boasting the tagline “academic rigor. journalistic flair.”
The site’s “academic rigor” was on display (or not) in the blatantly sarcastic title “How Columbus, of all people, became a national symbol.”
The article, begins thus:
“Christopher Columbus was a narcissist.
“He believed he was personally chosen by God for a mission that no one else could achieve. After 1493, he signed his name “xpo ferens” – “the Christbearer.” His stated goal was to accumulate enough wealth to recapture Jerusalem….
and, after ‘slpaining away and revising centuries of history to fit a certain anti-Christian, anti-European bias, this article concludes:
“…led protesters to decry Columbus as a “terrorist.”
Columbus the man died more than 500 years ago. Columbus the legend is still being dismantled. His story illustrates the blurred borders between myth and history – how an architect of destruction was turned into a national symbol.”
So much for academic rigor. Pardon the sarcasm.
Dare I say it? God bless Christopher Columbus for the GOOD things he did, for his commitment to the vocation to which he felt called, to his perseverance against all odds, and to those today who choose to honor the Catholic explorer with gratitude for the good things, for the incredible courage and commitment, for the noble desire to preserve Jerusalem (if that is a true statement cited above), and for the lessons — both inspiring and cautionary — we can learn from this honorable Catholic figure in history.
Catholic Business Journal recommends paying attention to the history textbooks in your child or grandchild’s school, and checking out CatholicTextbookProject.com.