Liberals love to trash Columbus — Here’s what they get wrong.

by Carly Hoilman

The modern consensus of American textbooks and liberal historians seems to be that Christopher Columbus was a vainglorious, bigoted xenophobe, whose primary motivation lay in the financial gain that awaited him in the New World. But this common interpretation of Columbus’ life points to facts about the great 15th century explorer’s religious faith that the liberal Left conveniently ignore.

By reading Columbus’ own journals, which are widely available in print and online, one will see evidence of an ordinary man who exemplified extraordinary devotion to, first, his God, and then his native Spain. From the Christian History Institute (1992):

[W]e know beyond doubt that Columbus sailed, in part, to fulfill a religious quest. Columbus’s voyages were intense religious missions. He saw them as the fulfillment of a divine plan for his life — and for the soon-coming end of the world. As he put it in 1500, “God made me the messenger of the new heaven and the new earth of which he spoke in the Apocalypse of St. John [Rev. 21:1] after having spoken of it through the mouth of Isaiah; and he showed me the spot where to find it.” […]
In 1501 Columbus wrote, “I am only a most unworthy sinner, but ever since I have cried out for grace and mercy from the Lord, they have covered me completely. I have found the most delightful comfort in making it my whole aim in life to enjoy his marvelous presence.”

Columbus is widely believed to have been a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, a group composed of faithful Catholic laypeople committed to the practices of self-denial and simplicity of living, among other virtues. Part of his mission entailed evangelizing the indigenous peoples of the New World.

According to cultural anthropologist Carol Delaney, Columbus admired the natives he encountered and “found them to be very intelligent.” He referred to them as “natural Christians,” for though most did not practice faith of any kind, their kindness and simplicity made them particularly conducive to Christian teachings.

What about the money? We all know that in 1492 Columbus “sailed the ocean blue,” but often omitted from the leftist (a)historical narrative are the events surrounding the expedition. A year prior to his 1492 voyage, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella had successfully driven the Moors (Muslims) out of Spain, but the prospect of future attacks and already-depleted funds made Columbus’ efforts all the more urgent.

“Everybody knows that Columbus was trying to find gold, but they don’t know what the gold was for: to fund a crusade to take Jerusalem back from the Muslims before the end of the world,” Delaney, author of “Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem,” explains.

Columbus left behind a lasting legacy in the both the religious and civic realms of society. The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization of nearly 2 million members grounded in community service and intellectual pursuit, was founded in 1882 to honor and emulate the explorer’s life. The Knights recently received the 2016 World’s Most Ethical Company honor from the Ethisphere Institute.

Christopher Columbus himself acknowledged that he had flaws like any other man, but to portray him as a greedy, genocidal maniac is to slander his name and turn a blind eye to his remarkable achievements.

Carly Hoilman is a Correspondent for Conservative Review. You can follow her on Twitter @CarlyHoilman.

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