If you want to escape from the Spanish Inquisition (and you are a fifteenth-century Spanish Jew), here's my advice: don't convert to Christianity. See, this will actually put you under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition.
But today's New York Times reports that apparently some people think that Columbus' "parents converted [from Judaism to Christianity] to escape the Spanish Inquisition." There were lots of reasons to convert to Christianity in fifteenth-century Spain and lots and lots of Jews did so. However, none of those reasons involved escaping the Inquisition.
Clearly nobody at the Times (or at the Post-Gazette which reprinted the article) was reading this blog back in May of 2005 where I thought I made this point pretty clear.
(Actually I'm pretty sure nobody at the Times or the Post-Gazette reads it now.)
(Would it be too pedantic to also point out that Columbus was born circa 1450 and the Inquisition was founded in Spain in the late 1470s? Yes, I thought so. )