Columbus Haters Include Opponents of ‘Race-Mixing’

Progressives agree with the Ku Klux Klan: Christopher Columbus was a villain.

By John Zmirak Published on May 2, 2017

There’s a battle in Colorado. Should the state abolish Columbus Day? To social justice warriors, Christopher Columbus embodies everything wicked about the West:

  • Its world-spanning civilization;
  • Our roots in a self-confident, missionary Christian faith, and
  • Its once-vibrant impulse to expand beyond its borders.

All very, very embarrassing. “Woke” white liberals can’t decide which attribute of the West that they hate the most.

Should We Blame Columbus for Syphilis?

To some indigenous American activists, Columbus recalls a genuine catastrophe: The collision of European settlers with mostly hunter-gatherer cultures. Its worst effect? The devastating spread of European diseases. American Indians had no immune resistance. That tragic biological accident claimed many millions of native lives.

Of course, it was totally unintentional. The conquistadors and Pilgrims knew nothing of immunology. In fact, they brought back with them to Europe a few devastating diseases from America. The worst was syphilis.

A Catholic Hero

For Italian-Americans, Columbus is a figure of pride. They were once-mistrusted immigrants in teeming American cities. But the U.S.A. itself was made possible by an Italian. Before that, colonial Catholics faced bans on their churches in places like Massachusetts. They lauded Columbus as a devout and evangelical Catholic. Catholics in New York City sponsored the first Columbus Day celebration in 1792.

The Father of Latinos

What about millions of Latinos? For them, Columbus represents something more primal. He enabled the blend of cultures that created them as a people. In Latin America, his birthday is celebrated as Dìa de la Raza. It’s the day of the “race” which his exploration made possible. That fusion of European, indigenous (and later, African) peoples now populates Central and South America.

The Klan Hates Columbus

No surprise, then: Those who hate both race-mixing and Catholics have always opposed Columbus Day. Yes, I mean the Ku Klux Klan.

The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal and charitable group for Catholic men. It was founded at my old New Haven Catholic parish in 1882. Why? As an alternative to the anti-Catholic Freemasons. (Full disclosure: I’m a first-degree Knight.) And the K of C is weighing in now to defend Columbus Day.

As Colorado Politics reports:

The Knights of Columbus have opened the new front in the long-standing war over Columbus Day — the second Monday in October — just as Democratic Thornton state Rep. Joe Salazar’s House Bill 1327, repealing Columbus Day in Colorado, heads to its second committee hearing in the state House. The bill was approved last week by majority Democrats on a party-line vote in the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee and is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday before the House Local Government Committee.

In a statement aimed at Colorado lawmakers, the K of C said:

Nearly a century ago, the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado targeted Catholics including Italian-Americans. One of the Klan’s tactics throughout the United States was the denigration of Christopher Columbus and the attempted suppression of the holiday in his honor. Last week, in a hearing tinged with offensive anti-Catholic overtones, the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee advanced a plan to ban Columbus Day in what its advocates call a “progressive” step. In fact, it is regressive as it takes us back to what the Klan outlined in the 1920s in order to promote ethnic and religious resentment and marginalize and intimidate people with different religious beliefs and ethnic backgrounds. We urge the swift rejection of this bill in any future hearings.

The Left and the Klan Agree About a Lot

A nice bit of irony, huh? Contemporary progressives picking up old, lost causes from the Ku Klux Klan. But it wouldn’t be the first time.  Social justice warriors and old-fashioned white racists just happen to keep agreeing on things. Isn’t that weird? Here are a few other coincidental convergences.

  • Planned Parenthood. Margaret Sanger sold birth control to middle-class white Americans. How? As a measure for “racial health.” It would keep down the number of “undesirable births.” So she preached at a Klan rally. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg blithely admitted that this was one of the rationales underlying Roe v. Wade.
  • Cultural Purity. In past decades, Southern racists and Nazis told white people not to listen to jazz. They said we shouldn’t adopt cultural attributes of “degenerate” non-white races. Today, progressives tell whites not to wear hoop earrings or eat burritos … because it’s “cultural appropriation.”
  • Christian evangelization. Slave-owners once passed laws in the South forbidding blacks from learning to read. They even banned ministers from running bible schools for slaves. Today’s liberal Christians have given up on missions. Why? For fear of “cultural imperialism.” Apparently they agree with slave-owners: Christianity is a white man’s religion. That’s news, of course, to the hundreds of millions of Christians who aren’t white. They will soon make up the majority.

He Did More for Diversity than Anyone on NPR

He wasn’t a perfect man. But Christopher Columbus is in fact a wonderful icon of the universality of the church. He did more than most men since St. Paul to make it a fact.

In Columbus’ day, Christian Europe struggled desperately against relentless Islamic invasions. His voyage opened the door to massive expansion overseas. It was only the wealth from the New World that gave Europe the strength to beat back the aggressive Ottoman Empire, which was even then enslaving Christian nations from Greece to Hungary.

Missionaries who came in Columbus’ wake brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to one third of the world. That’s not a gift most Latin Americans would like to return. Maybe some secular progressives and Klansmen should stop by the lovely Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadulupe here in Dallas. I celebrated Easter there. Let them tell its mostly Latino believers to give it back to the white folks, and go found some pagan temple. I’d like to see how warm a welcome they’d get.

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