Let’s Continue to Celebrate Columbus

Let’s Continue to Celebrate Columbus
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

More than 50 of our nation’s local governments cancelled Columbus Day celebrations. This is obviously part of the ongoing war against our nation’s culture, an insult directed at the memory of Christopher Columbus that strongly indicates which side is winning this war. It isn’t the side that brought Christian values and practices to the Western Hemisphere.

Portrait of a Man, Said to be Christopher Columbus. Image from Wikimedia Commons, Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, public domain (PD-US).

In place of celebrating – or at least acknowledging Columbus and his contribution to the Americas – the cultural iconoclasts have convinced some authorities to celebrate “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” Therefore, we should take a hard look at what Columbus and his men found when they landed in the new world. The courageous Italian sailor and navigator never set foot on what became the United States. In each of his four voyages to the West, he landed in areas south of what became our nation, mostly in what is now known as the West Indies.

Throughout the area populated by the “indigenous people” in the late 15th century could be found headhunting, torture, cannibalism, human sacrifice to false gods, barbarous treatment accorded to war prisoners, mutilation of fellow man, sacrificing infants, and more. Is all or even some of this what today’s culture warriors seek to celebrate?

Columbus wasn’t a perfect individual and he never claimed perfection for himself. One of his goals in making four dangerous voyages across the Atlantic sought to bring Christian civilization to whomever he encountered. He succeeded in that pursuit though only partially. Other like-minded explorers, emboldened by his findings, piled up numerous successes as they spread Christianity throughout the West. Yes, there were instances of criminal activity perpetrated on natives, but these were not the norm. Further, some common practices in the Columbian era such as slavery were practiced by Columbus.

Today, there is the state capital of Columbus, Ohio. The state of Georgia has a city named after Columbus. South Carolina’s capital Columbia is named after the Genoese sailor. There is a Columbia University in New York City. And there are numerous other places and institutions whose names can be traced to the man whose voyages proved there was a whole new world west of Europe. Do the culture warriors intend to change or remove them?

Columbus persuaded Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain to finance his voyages. It was they who encouraged him to spread Catholicism in the lands he discovered. Being militant Catholics, Isabella and Ferdinand would never tolerate the practices commonly found among the indigenous peoples encountered by Columbus. That the two Spanish leaders would provide the ambitious navigator with funding for his several voyages meant that they found him to be neither a scoundrel nor a hopeless dreamer.

It was never a mistake for our country to honor Columbus. Tearing into his name and reputation causes this writer to ask what will come next. What Columbus and successor explorers generally found was customarily condemnable. It deserved to be replaced. Darkness began to give way to light. Reverting back to the darkness practiced by many of the indigenous peoples would certainly be a terrible mistake. Americans of today should keep such a travesty from occurring, or even from being celebrated.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Battle of Lepanto

Battle of Lepanto
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

On October 7, 1571, the decisive Battle of Lepanto saw Catholic forces under the overall command of Don Juan of Austria defeat a larger and more experienced Ottoman fleet led by the seemingly invincible Ali Pasha. The victory of the numerically smaller force and its fewer fighting men has long been considered the savior of Western Europe from the designs of militant Islam.

The Battle of Lepanto. Image from Wikimedia Commons by Christie’s, LotFinder: entry 5367968, PD-US.

Even in our day, commemoration of this remarkable event is marked by historians, especially in countries undoubtedly saved by the victory of the Western forces. During this very year, church leaders in Poland called for a massive rosary procession involving as many as a million people lining their nation’s eastern border. Their goal: letting neighboring countries and potential refugees know that Poland remains determined to retain its independence and its Catholic religion.

The famous one-day battle in 1571 won its name from proximity to the Strait of Lepanto, a portion of the Ionian Sea close to Western Greece. Historians tell us that the struggle was the last naval battle fought between vessels propelled by oarsmen. Warships then relied on sails for propulsion. The forces led by Don Juan numbered slightly more than 200 ships and 68,000 men while Ali Pasha commanded 250 vessels and 81,000 men. Some chroniclers of the battle attribute Don Juan’s victory to the efforts of his loyal rowers. Ali Pasha relied on his Janissaries, many of whom were captured and enslaved Christians. They weren’t as reliable as the free men who propelled Don Juan’s fleet.

By the end of it, it was little more than a single day of conflict with troops from either side boarding their enemy’s vessels and engaging in hand-to-hand combat, the Christians lost 10,000 men and 17 ships. The Turkish-led forces lost approximately 40,000 of their number, and 200 of their ships were sunk or captured. A noteworthy aside saw the victors freeing 12,000 Christian oarsmen, all victims of enslavement and, as a result, undependable.

The victory at Lepanto put an end to further advancement westward by Islam’s naval forces. But it did not end Islam’s territorial designs on the non-Muslim West. In 1683, a force of 200,000 Turkish ground troops commanded by Mustafa surrounded Vienna where they sought to starve the city’s occupants into submission. Polish King John Sobieski arrived in time with 80,000 troops and defeated the numerically superior Muslim force in a surprise attack. For his remarkable deed, King John has long been known as the “Savior of Vienna and Western Europe.” The defeat constituted Islam’s last major ground incursion westward. But Islam’s determination to control all of mankind has never ceased.

Defeated in naval and land campaigns, today’s descendants of Mohammed are carrying out their long-range plan to win the West with immigration, population increases, and an undermining of Western culture. Western leaders would be wise to understand this development. There is less a need for military giants like Austria’s Don Juan and Poland’s Jan Sobieski. There is, instead, a need for realism.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Murder in Las Vegas: Is it the Largest Mass Murder? 

Murder in Las Vegas: Is it the Largest Mass Murder? 
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

The slaughter in Las Vegas has been labeled the “worst” mass murder in our nation’s last century. Is it worthy of such a classification? Reporters and commentators obviously insist that it is. Ordinary citizens, justifiably shocked by the deliberate killing of more than 59 and the wounding of hundreds more, have been persuaded to classify the grisly event by using the handiest superlative available. From coast to coast, in print and over the airwaves, nothing has ever been deemed more deserving of the term “worst.”

City night life along the Las Vegas strip. Image from pixabay by ngd3, CCO Creative Commons.

But wait! The most recent annual report produced by the London-based International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) admits that the IPPF was responsible for 1,094,679 abortions in 2016 alone. In the United States, Planned Parenthood snuffed out the life of 887 yet-to-be-born infants every day. Is this not worse than Stephen Paddock’s deadly rampage?

Planned Parenthood’s fans and pro-abortion partisans everywhere always claim that abortion isn’t murder. Life begins at birth, they insist, and extracting what can be found in a womb prior to birth is considered a relatively simple medical procedure. But these individuals, properly designated “pro-aborts,” produce no credible evidence to back up such claims. And science continues to demonstrate the terrifying absurdity of their falsehoods.

We are all supposed to be outraged at what occurred in Las Vegas – and in Orlando, San Bernardino, and Fort Hood where fewer were murdered. Okay, these murderous sprees are completely condemnable. But we’re also expected to demand that lawmakers outlaw private possession of weapons – not just semi-automatic military-style rifles but any weapon capable of firing a bullet into a fellow human’s body. Overlooked is the fact that no weapon ever shot a bullet by itself. Shootings are the work of shooters, not weapons.

We are also expected to accept the lies issued by PP leaders who insist that they are in business to provide “health care for women.” Aren’t half of abortion’s victims females? What kind of health care is it that deliberately terminates the lives of human beings? Overlooked in this discussion is the other PP practice whereby organs harvested from aborted fetuses are sold for profit. That these organs are taken from a live – yet to be born babe – and are salable only because they were extracted from living individuals lends credence to the argument that abortion is the taking of a life.

There’s even more to consider when assessing PP and its primary function. The organization receives approximately $500 million per year in federal funding. PP President Cecile Richards alone takes home close to $600,000 per year. This means that all U.S. taxpayers are forced to support an organization and its leader who terminate the lives of close to 900 innocent and yet-to-be-born infants every year. The killer in Las Vegas received no such handouts. And, as evil as his deed surely was, the average daily abortion toll racked up by PP exceeds the number of deaths caused by Paddock. Consider for a moment the momentous outrage if Paddock had been discovered to be a beneficiary of federal funding. The financing of his murderous spree was done with his own money. In contrast, government forces all taxpayers to finance PP and its leader.

During a 2016 hearing about taxpayer dollars being supplied to Planned Parenthood, Representative Diane Black (R-Tenn.) stated her outrage:

As a nurse for more than 40 years, I know that abortion is not healthcare and I am incensed that, year after year, my constituents see their money sent to Washington and distributed to organizations that promote or perform abortions all under the guise of “healthcare” services.

Ms. Black is as qualified as anyone to know that abortion takes the lives of innocent babes. Yet, federal funding for Planned Parenthood continued.

What happened in Las Vegas was absolutely horrible. But, as bad as it unquestionably was, designating it as the past century’s worst killing overlooks a far more deadly termination of innocent life – not in a single day, but daily.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Hefner and Moral Decline

Hefner and Moral Decline
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

John Adams, our nation’s second president, famously stated the need for something beyond the Constitution to preserve the American dream. He insisted: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Approximately one and a half centuries later, Founder Robert Welch of The John Birch Society warned, “War always results in more government and moral decline.” Both stressed the importance of morality and, as history shows, they were hardly alone in doing so.

Hugh Hefner. Image from Wikimedia Commons by Toglenn (CC BY-SA 3.0)(© Glenn Francis, http://www.PacificProDigital.com).

Which brings us to consider a man who spent his adult life undermining the moral principles surrounding the relationships between men and women. Hugh Hefner passed away on September 27th at age 91 after spending decades creating – and profiting handsomely from – a sexual revolution both in the U.S. and abroad. The advertised foe of what he and allies termed American priggishness and puritanism, Hefner persuaded millions to choose his “new moral maturity.” Boasting of his own libertine lifestyle, he estimated that he had slept with more than 1,000 women.

Hefner’s impact on the morals of Americans began in 1953 with the first issue of Playboy magazine featuring a semi-nude photo of actress Marilyn Monroe. While pornography of various types was available and was already negatively affecting some, it had a deserved stigma limiting its harm. Men might have submitted to its grasp but most knew that immersing themselves in pornography was wrong. Playboy accomplished lifting porn to a new status that made it popular and supposedly harmless, even “sophisticated.” By 1973, Playboy’s monthly circulation soared past the seven million mark. All across the land – and into other countries – readers wallowed in its photos of women in various stages of undress. It is hardly a stretch to note, as some have proposed, that the Hefner effect helped to increase family breakups and divorce.

The standard issue of Playboy included articles by and interviews of leftist crusaders, prominent actors, politicians, and even literary notables. Hefner delighted in having them lend their names to his endeavors. He defended those who claimed their choice of the magazine stemmed only from a preference for the articles. William F. Buckley, Jr. became one of Hefner’s favorites – both as a writer of articles and the subject of interviews. He once stated in his customary use of macabre witticisms: “I write for Playboy because it is the fastest way to communicate with my seventeen-year-old son.”

Hefner used some of millions he accumulated to fund such leftist groups as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Urban League. His enshrinement of pleasure as an end in itself led him to finance the Organization for the Repeal of Marijuana Laws. He sent large donations to groups promoting abortion. Even though he had a disdain for the institution of marriage, many witnessed him marry thrice and divorce twice.

Not content with the financial success he gained with the magazine, he started Playboy Clubs in the 1960s. This initial foray into the restaurant business saw the debut of his “bunny waitresses” at the Chicago location and, before long, there were 20 other clubs, mostly in America with a few overseas. His hedonistic goals saw him seeking followers whose interests spanned the intellectual, entertainment, and erotic worlds.

In the late 1960s after Hefner’s influence and Playboy’s popularity had become dominant for millions, a representative of the magazine offered Robert Welch the then-princely sum of $5,000 for an interview. Without hesitation, Welch said he would not lend his name to a publication he abhorred. On the other hand, Birch Society nemesis William Buckley, a frequent contributor to Hefner’s hedonistic publication, enjoyed being paid handsomely. But the liberal world’s “favorite conservative” was himself damaging our nation’s moral fiber. If Buckley favored Playboy, said many, then Playboy was acceptable.

Frequently asked what he saw as the greatest problem facing America, the Birch Society’s Welch, who passed away in 1985, was expected to point to the United Nations, the Federal Reserve, the extremes of the Supreme Court, or rising national indebtedness. But his response never changed. “Moral decline is the greatest enemy we face,” he would insist.

In 1970, Mr. Welch wrote an essay to JBS members challenging them to stand tall in support of well-established moral codes and to set worthy examples in their personal lives. The Society has published this into an inexpensive booklet called “The John Birch Resolutions.”

Hugh Hefner’s contribution toward the destruction of the country has helped eat away at the nation’s morality. Let us each set a worthy example of morality to help stem and reverse the tide of immorality. Order and read “The John Birch Resolutions.” Be sure to order extra copies for others.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.