2019 | Week of October 14 | Radio Transcript #1329
If you’re over 40, you likely well remember the poem beginning “In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” The famous line of poetry, along with the Columbus discovering America, and the observance of Columbus Day is likely not what kids in our government schools will have experienced this week.
Political correctness and craziness have dictated that in recent years it is acceptable, even commendable, to denigrate Christopher Columbus, to present him as an evil man who horrendously treated the Indians he encountered in the new world, a man who came only for gold, and a man who was disliked and even disdained by his crew.
The purpose of this commentary is not to extol Christopher Columbus. Like every human being, save the God-man Jesus Christ, our Savior, Christopher Columbus was as depraved and as subject to bad thoughts, words and deeds as any and all of us. I don’t believe the best records of his explorations or his deeds in the New World bear out the allegations against him. I’m grateful for historians like David Barton who have taken a close look at the best-of-the-best about Christopher Columbus and have worked hard to correct this purposefully tarnished view of this early explorer.
That said, I believe the main reason Columbus is so vilified today—including removing monuments and statues honoring him, renaming cities and more—is because we live in a time when academic elites and powerful political leaders want all of us to believe that it is a sin, maybe even the worst of sins, to be born white—especially a white man—or even more especially a white man with European ties who is either born to privilege or has legitimately worked his way up the socio-economic ladder.
One assumption these pushing this dangerous falsehood work from is that all abuses of people of different color or ethnicity or religion have come at the hand of the white man. That’s just not true. The doctrine of the depravity of man is universal in every way. Humans of all manner of color, ethnicity and religions have committed horrible atrocities against their fellow man throughout human history.
What’s unique about this current effort in America is the growing acceptance of the faulty assumption and the related outright lies. This week thousands of college students, who are grossly ignorant of our nation’s history, have protested on campuses insisting that Columbus Day should be trashed, because after all, he was a successful white man with European ties who was among the very first who started America on the path of being an imperialistic bully who cruelly treated every minority group that has every trod American soil.
These students and many others in our country believe October 12 should be recognized not as Columbus Day, but as Indigenous Peoples Day. In fact, Governor Evers has issued an Executive Order declaring the second Monday of October, which is the federally recognized Columbus Day observance, as Indigenous Peoples Day in our state. In the order, he extols the eleven Native American tribes represented in Wisconsin and their contributions to our state. He also mentions what he calls “systemic racism towards Indigenous peoples in our state” and basically says the non-Indigenous people in Wisconsin, which would be all the rest of us, should be doing more to equalize any disparities in “health, education and social outcomes.”
Native Americans have made significant and very positive contributions to our state and nation—and no one should ever be treated disrespectfully in any way because of their race, ethnicity or religion. But we don’t have to eviscerate our history and defame one of the historical figures who was part of forming this incredible country in order to right any wrongs that have been or are being committed.
Because Columbus Day is a Congressionally designated day, only Congress can change the federal observance; but that doesn’t mean school districts, local municipalities, and states can’t perpetuate inaccuracies and continue to mislead people.
No individual is perfect; no people group is perfect. Purposefully making a historical person way worse than he was and ascribing to one people group massive atrocities is not just wrong and deceitful; it’s destructive. Those involved need to be held accountable and Christians in particular need to find their voice to speak up against this effort to reshape America’s past, present and future.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council, reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”