Doodling Faith

April 02, 2013

On Easter Sunday, some conservatives used the holy day to criticize Google. These conservative bloggers - and then conservative pundits on Fox News and talk radio - were upset that Google's doodle on its homepage honored civil rights activist Cesar Chavez. Apparently they thought Google should only honor Jesus on that day. Such an argument is ridiculous, unless one's faith is dependent on affirmation from Google (at which point it is pretty weak and meaningless faith). Much of the criticism also seemed to focus on the fact that it was Chavez who was being honored, and not just that Google did not make a Jesus doodle (would that be a graven image?). The doodle about Chavez on his birthday was said to be a way of honoring the man as a sort of leftist messiah. As Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, argued:

So, on Resurrection Sunday Google puts Cesar Chavez on its home page. There is no human Savior, only one who rises from the dead.
Mohler did at least go on to urge Christians not to be too upset about the doodle, but his initial retort was still an unnecessary dig at Google and Chavez. Although generally viewed as a leftist figure, Chavez was a Roman Catholic whose activism was inspired by his faith. And one of his key efforts even involved him and numerous religious leaders holding a protest on Easter as a way of putting their prayers into action. Yet, even if one disagrees with with Chavez, his politics, or his faith, that does not mean one must be upset about Google not promoting Easter. Jesus is risen regardless what Google doodles! Making the controversy even worse, some of Google's critics even urged people to switch to using Bing instead for future Internet searches because Bing honored Easter on Sunday. And what was Bing's photo on its homepage that day? A bunch of colorful eggs. Oh, yes, the sacred Easter eggs. Only problem is Easter has nothing to do with eggs! I would rather Google not doodle Easter than go the Bing route of highlighting some pre-Christian tradition that has been adopted and now overly commercialized. Sadly, all of this is one more example of how the rhetoric of a "war on Easter" (and its cousin the "war on Christmas") actually do more to distract us from the sacred than do the alleged attacks on our faith. Chavez should make us think more about being resurrection people with a faith that is living and active. To attack Google over this topic is just one more way of profaning the holy day.