Ever vigilant for offense, religious and political conservatives found reason for outrage on Easter Sunday, when Google commemorated the holiday by featuring farm labor organizer Cesar Chavez on its search site home page.
Why, conservatives demanded, would Google honor Chavez on a day that Christians commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the central miracle of Christianity and the most holy day of the liturgical calendar?
I playfully noted on Facebook that, if something wasn’t honored in a Google Doodle, then clearly it didn’t happen. I was met by at least one person complaining about a war on Christianity, and lamenting that if Islam had been so slighted, the liberal media and the ACLU couldn’t have been kept quiet.
My reply, as a member of the liberal media and an ACLU supporter: Really?
Consider this: Christians worship a God who they believe existed before time and space, who spoke the universe into existence and who sustains it to this very day. St. Paul proclaimed to the Greeks that “He himself gives all men life and breath and everything else,” and “In him, we live and move and have our being.”
God declared via Isaiah that “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” He told Moses simply, “I am who I am.” And confronted by a suffering Job, he replied: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?”
Christians teach that God humbled himself to be born as a human, who was tempted in every way — including by the devil himself — and yet was found without sin; who suffered, died, and was buried, and who rose again from the dead and ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God, who will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no end.
But good Lord! He’s not on Google’s home page on Easter!
My reply: So what? Is God suddenly not real? Is there no resurrection? Is the faith of billions through the ages for naught?
That’s sheer foolishness. In fact, you could burn every Bible, destroy every crucifix, demolish every church building in all the world, and God would not be diminished in the least. He could not be diminished in the least. As St. Paul says, creation itself shouts proof that the creator exists.
That’s not to say he doesn’t care if he’s ignored: The Bible says God seeks people to worship him, in spirit and truth, and that he listens to the prayers of the faithful.
But I’m betting he’s not really offended at losing out to Chavez on Google’s home page.
And, quite frankly, it makes no sense to expect Google to honor Jesus on Easter. Is Google a Christian-owned company, like In-N-Out Burger, which prints Bible verse references on hamburger wrappers and drink cups? No. Is Google a church, or a religiously oriented institution? No. It’s a secular American corporation.
In fact, if Google were to “honor” Easter, it would do so using Easter eggs, or perhaps a bunny. (The company did use eggs back in 2000, just like rival search engine Bing did this year.) Would that satisfy Christians, commemorating Easter with pagan symbols of fertility rather than, say, an empty tomb or an image of the risen Christ?
For the faithful who worshipped on Sunday, and every Sunday, a Google home page isn’t necessary or even relevant to their faith. Perhaps it’s time for them to stop searching for evidence of a fictional war on religion.
As Jesus said, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Steve Sebelius is a Review-Journal political columnist and author of the blog SlashPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter (@SteveSebelius) or contact him at (702) 387-5276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.