First of all, let me state right up front that it is hard to do a news critique of a graphic device. I concede that point.
At the same time, I also know that Google is not, in and of itself, a news source.
Google is, of course, much more than a news source.
Google is one of the most powerful forces shaping culture and information in this digital age in which we live, read and think.
Google is a portal, a door and a gateway. If the editors at Google decide to shape our world, our reality, into some new form then dang it, it will be shaped into that new form. If the principalities and powers at Google decide that certain forms of information are more worthy, more valuable, more acceptable than others, then that perception will become search-engine reality. It’s kind of like that showdown between Apple’s iTunes overlords and the circle of religious conservatives that produced the Manhattan Declaration.
Anyway, the Google overlords have a tradition of doing cute little graphic frameworks for the word “Google” on major days of interest in the culture, such as “The Holidays,” St. Patrick’s Day, the Super Bowl, Earth Day, the 4th of July, Halloween, etc. They also enjoy doing occasional salutes to major historic figures, often on their birthdays.
Which, of course, brings us to today — which is the most important day of the year in the Western version of the Christian calendar.
In other words, today is Easter for most of the world’s Christians. Those of us who are Orthodox Christians, and follow the older Julian calendar, will celebrate Pascha (Easter) on May 5th.
So what did the Google folks do today? Well, on one level, they decided to mark the 86th birthday of union leader Cesar Chavez. In my opinion, they ended up profoundly insulting this famous Catholic.
Thus, I would like to associate myself with this morning’s post on the topic by Rod “friend of this blog” Dreher, which states in part:
Nothing against Chavez, but what the heck? Chavez, who was a devout Catholic, probably would have been bewildered as well.
Google could have ignored Easter, and nobody would have noticed. But choosing to observe something other than Easter on Easter Sunday is deliberate.
It’s a small thing, of course, but this kind of thing, accumulated, signals an intentional de-Christianization of our culture, and the creation of an intentional hostility to Christianity that will eventually cease to be latent, or minor. It cannot have been an accident that Google decided to honor a relatively obscure cultural figure instead of observing the most important Christian holiday, a day of enormous importance to an overwhelming number of people in the United States, and to an enormous number of people around the world.
The only part of that statement that I would word differently is that I would say America is evolving from from a predominantly Protestant culture that, imperfectly, attempted to avoid state endorsement of any particular religion into a culture that is increasingly hostile to traditional forms of religion — while openly endorsing modernized forms of faith that our national elites find acceptable. I think it’s simplistic and inaccurate to call America’s emerging civil religion “secular,” since it officially favors some forms of religion and rejects others.
Then again, what was that whole “stomp on Jesus” incident down in South Florida all about?
With an indirect nod to a Rob Stroud post at the Mere Inkling weblog, Dreher ends up quoting a haunting piece of the famous C.S. Lewis novel, “That Hideous Strength,” that looks forward to life in an England that is blending science and the occult, while, yes, stomping on Christianity: