Yesterday, Google came under fire from a lot of different people for honoring Cesar Chavez with their Doodle (According to Google, “Doodles are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists.”). Why was this a problem? Because yesterday was Easter, so Google choosing to honor someone with their Doodle was therefore choosing to NOT honor Easter.
The opinion of those upset over Google’s decision seems to be captured pretty nicely by Glenn Beck:
I have a couple thoughts on this issue:
1. This is pretty consistent with Google’s behavior in the past and should come as no surprise to anyone. After all, they have only once before had any Doodle for Easter and that one merely included a couple eggs. Google just doesn’t celebrate Easter.
For that matter, Google doesn’t seem to celebrate any religious holidays. After all, searches in the Doodle archives for “Yom Kippur,” “Ramadan,” and “Festivus” each return no results. Additionally, when you search for “Christmas,” “Hanukkah,” and “Kwanza,” all you get are generic “Happy Holidays” Doodles. Basically, Google just doesn’t do religious holidays of any sort (except maybe an occasional Diwali or some other somewhat-obscure-for-most-Americans holiday).
2. As First Things (which is published by a group “whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society”) has pointed out, “it’s fitting to remember Cesar Chavez on Easter Sunday” because “Chavez’s politics, are impossible to understand apart from his belief in the resurrected Christ,” and I think they’re spot on with their assessment. In multiple places, the Bible says stuff along the lines of “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” This is what the labor and civil rights movements are all about, and thus Cesar Chavez and his efforts are most definitely worth honoring.
3. That having been said, I’m guessing that Google wasn’t trying to secretly honor Christians and Chavez at the same time… Google probably knew that yesterday was Easter and they chose to honor something else. As I said in my first thought: This should come as no surprise to us. I also think that it should not upset us. After all, Google is not a Christian organization, so to expect them to behave as one is kinda weird. I’m not convinced that they are taunting us (I think this could have just been a miscalculation), but even if they are taunting us, I don’t think we should be responding as so many tweeters are.
How, then, should we respond?
Let us consider what Jesus would have us do. I doubt that he would have us flame on Twitter, boycott Google, or switch to the search engine that properly celebrates his resurrection by putting up a picture of a bunch of colored eggs… My guess is that, to Christians, he’d say something more like “Um…why are you spending any time on this? Did you miss that I just conquered death?”
TL;DR Google wasn’t acting out of character by choosing Chavez to commemorate on Easter Sunday, Chavez is a good guy to remember because he fought for justice for the downtrodden, and in looking at this issue, we should remember that He is risen!
CORRECTION 4/1/2013: Original publication incorrectly listed First Things as a Catholic Journal.