Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More on Columbus Day

Since my son is still out of school because of the "holiday" (Jefferson County Public Schools call it "Fall Break," but, then again, they call the break occasioned by Christmas "Winter Break," a euphemism which does little to disassociate the break from the holiday it coincides with), I thought I'd add a little bit more concerning Columbus Day.

The following comes from the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA's resolution of May 17, 1990:

For the indigenous people of the Caribbean islands, Christopher Columbus's invasion marked the beginning of slavery and their eventual genocide.

For the indigenous people of Central America, the result was slavery, genocide, and exploitations leading to the present struggle for liberation.

For the indigenous people of South America, the result was slavery, genocide, and the exploitation of their mineral and natural resources, fostering the early accumulation of capital by the European countries.

For the indigenous people of Mexico, the result was slavery, genocide, rape of mineral as well as natural resources, and a decline of their civilization.

For the peoples of modern Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the Philippines, the result was the eventual grabbing of the land, genocide, and the present economic captivity.

For the indigenous peoples of North America, it brought slavery, genocide, and theft and exploitation of the land which has led to their descendants' impoverished lives.

For the peoples of the African Diaspora, the result was slavery, and evil and immoral system steeped in racism, economic exploitation, rape of mineral as well as human resources, and national divisiveness along the lines of the colonizing nations.

For the peoples from Asia brought to work the land, torn from their families and culture by false promises of economic prosperity, the result was labor camps, discrimination, and today's victimization of the descendants facing anti-Asian racism.

For the descendants of the European conquerors, the subsequent legacy has been the perpetuation of paternalism and racism into our culture and times.

Not a pretty picture. Christ may be seen theologically as a liberator, the perfection of the archetype of Moses, but too often Christians through history have come not as liberators but as exploiters, oppressors, and enslavers. If Christ is often seen in the written Gospels allusions to the Exodus story as the new Moses, and Christians as the new Israel, then too often in what Marc H. Ellis calls the "gospel of history" Christians have instead been Egypt, a powerful, conquering empire built on the backs of slaves.

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