Day". The article, from 1992, is by Rick Wood.
Wood's article seeks to present Columbus (through a series of very selective quotes,) as a flawed but noble follower of Jesus - who had a passion for bringing the Gospel to the world. That I argue that this is a dangerous lie.
We who are Christians need to be critical of our past - so we can learn from it. While I'm sure Columbus thought he was doing God's work - the more important question is, what do we think? Is the light of the Gospel leading us to be more and more Christlike, or are we simply using the Gospel as a pretense to justify ourselves and conceal our own evil actions?
Sanitizing Christian history is not a service to Christ, and making Columbus out to be some kind of hero is no service to the Gospel - it is a perversion of it.
Consider these quotes from Columbus diaries, and the records of those who accompanied him.
- "They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want." - An excerpt from Columbus' Diary
- "As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force, in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts. And so it was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or by signs, and they have been very serviceable." - Columbus in a letter to King Ferdinand."
- "While I was in the boat, I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me. When I had taken her to my cabin she was naked—as was their custom. I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire. She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun. But—to cut a long story short—I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears. Eventually we came to such terms, I assure you, that you would have thought that she had been brought up in a school for whores." - Michele da Cuneo (One of Columbus' men, and a childhood friend)
- "They made some low wide gallows on which the hanged victim’s feet almost touched the ground, stringing up their victims in lots of thirteen, in memory of Our Redeemer and His twelve Apostles, then set burning wood at their feet and thus burned them alive. " - Report of Bartolome de las Casas, the priest who accompanied Columbus, in his book "The Devastation of the Indes."
So, won't be celebrating Columbus Day. Instead, I'll be recognizing the indigenous people who were also created in God's image