Monday, October 12, 2009

"Columbus" Day

Dear Christopher Columbus,

You were lost. You didn't know where you had landed for months after you got "here" (which wasn't even "here" but islands hundreds of miles south of here, and which had already been "discovered"). You were greedy and cruel, and you exploited both people and land for your own personal gain (perhaps the only of your characteristics we have actually taken on as we celebrate you). Your sense of adventure was driven entirely by your desire to get rich. Your intellectual curiosity did not extend to actually caring about people or their context, only what they could do for you.

And for this, we take a day off school, the banks and post offices are closed, and we supposedly "celebrate"?

I think not.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciated the day off when I was a student, and I know there are people out there who don't get many holidays and are deserving of this one. It's YOU I don't think are deserving. There are hundreds of better people and better reasons to celebrate--people who have made the world a better place rather than laying groundwork for slavery, people who believed in and practiced justice that leads to peace, rather than exploitation that leads to violence and sickness and poverty, people whose faith led them to do amazing things that have advanced our civilization, our culture, and our sense of hope rather than destroying various parts of God's amazing creation.

But there YOU are, on the calendar, every year.

I hope you enjoy it. And I hope the justice, peace, love, and hope that so eluded people who crossed your path may find it, and find it soon.


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