Google and white Christians’ search for ‘persecution’

Google and white Christians’ search for ‘persecution’ April 2, 2013

Sunday was the birthday of Cesar Chavez. He’s kind of a big deal — a hero for me personally since he championed the rights of farm workers and I eat food almost every day.

Chavez was a church-going Roman Catholic — a member in good standing of Team Christian.

Now, the rules of the Game clearly state that any snub or slight, however minor, against any member of Team Christian is grounds for Outrage. And collecting Outrage points is even better than winning.

Chavez’s birthday, March 31, is thus a good date for savvy players of the Game to keep in mind. Did the godless liberal media fail to honor this distinguished member of Team Christian on his birthday this year? If so, don’t miss the chance to collect those Outrage points.

Unfortunately for Team Christian players, Google honored Chavez with a lovely Google Doodle on its homepage. Such respectful tribute to a devout Christian is a nice gesture, I suppose, but respectful tributes don’t win you any Outrage points. This would all seem terribly deflating for players of the Game — like when the store clerk says “Merry Christmas,” depriving you of the chance to rack up some War on Christmas Outrage points — except that, by a happy coincidence, Passover came early this year. And that meant that this year, Cesar Chavez’s birthday also happened to be Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday is, of course, a very important day for Team Christian. It’s a high holy day, meaning all Outrage points get doubled with the 2x HHD bonus. And guess what? Google’s lovely doodle honoring Cesar Chavez meant that Google didn’t have a doodle Sunday honoring Easter.

Score! Chaching!

It might seem preposterous to you that Team Christian would try to pretend that Google’s honoring of a Christian hero constitutes some kind of horrific insult to Christianity, but I would remind you that nowhere in the rules of the Game does it say that Outrage points cannot be awarded for preposterous and imaginary reasons.

Ed Stetzer acknowledges that it seems contradictory to collect Outrage points over this notrageous doodle, noting that “Chavez might be a better representative for Jesus than the Easter Bunny, since he shared Jesus’ love for the poor and marginalized.” But he concedes that it’s all in the Game. And since he works for Team Christian, he prudently joins in their criticism of Google rather than following that train of thought to consider whether or not “Jesus’ love for the poor and marginalized” might maybe perhaps also be more important than the never-ending quest to accumulate Outrage points.

Morgan Guyton does follow that train of thought in a post titled “Why Google’s ‘War on Easter’ is offensively Christ-like.” Guyton notes that this whole Game and the obsessive collecting Outrage points seems to go against everything Jesus lived and said and demonstrated (most notably on, you know, Easter):

I don’t think Chavez would be “profoundly insulted” as a Christian by Google’s choice to feature him on Easter. If he were still alive, he would exploit it as an opportunity to talk about Jesus. People who are truly humble don’t need to be theatrically self-effacing; they use the spotlight to testify about the cause they serve. I don’t think Jesus would be offended by Google either, because Jesus’ ministry constantly put the spotlight on people who were ignored and left out, like the migrant farm-workers Cesar Chavez fought for.

… When your understanding of holiness is disembodied of your relationships with other people and defined exclusively in terms of a spiritual “cleanliness” by which you sacrifice earthly pleasures to honor a God who cares about His “glory” more than the people you’re ignoring, then it’s impossible to avoid being poisoned by a self-righteousness which ironically mocks God more than the reckless, undisciplined, debaucherous sinners Jesus ate and drank with. One of the things that many of today’s evangelicals share in common with the religious authorities who [opposed] Jesus is the way that their piety is built upon pitting love of God and love of neighbor against each other. How dare you talk about farm-workers today! This is the day to honor Jesus (and me since I’m His most zealous defender!).

The Game would be funny to watch if it weren’t making so many people so miserable inside and outside of the church.

Christians will never be happy until they stop being the kind of people who, as TBogg put it, “can’t sleep at night because they can’t wait to see how the world will offend them the next day.”

Christians will never be Christian until they stop being that kind of people.

I’m starting to think that the Easter Vigil John Shore describes, involving the ritual burning of our resentments, isn’t just a good idea, but a necessary one. During Easter, and the rest of the year, we can collect resentments or we can practice resurrection. We cannot do both.



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  • This is one of those things that I…well, “admire” isn’t the right word, certainly, but I guess I could say that I appreciate Jack’s consistency. How much of an exaggeration it is to say that it cost him a lot personally and financially I can’t say, but it seems likely that there was at least something of a price that he paid, and despite that, he hasn’t backed down.
    Again, I don’t actually admire his stance – in general, my feelings about Jack are kind of complicated – but I’m kind of impressed by his willingness to stick to it.
    I remember during the 2008 election when Hagee walked back his anti-Catholic rhetoric when it became apparent that not changing his views (publicly, at any rate) on Catholicism might have a negative impact on McCain’s run for the White House, and I thought, “Hmph, you’d never see Jack Chick pulling something like that for the sake of political expediency.”

  • Definitely a thing. I still occasionally hear questions by people (honestly wondering) about “what’s the difference between a Catholic and a Christian?” Because they think there is one.

  • Anton_Mates

    well, the complaint itself isn’t exactly that big a news story, either, is it?

    Dude, if you look up “Cesar Chavez” on Bing or Google right now, this story’s all over the first page of hits. LA Times, Fox, Christian Science Monitor. Your lack of awareness is not Fred’s problem.

  • Anton_Mates

    Yeah, well, what’s more petty, undercutting your own claim to be doing it for the lulz, or pointing out that someone else is undercutting their own claim to be doing it for the lulz, or complaining that someone is pointing out–*explodes*

  • Chelsea

    I like that you took time out of your busy day to not even read this article and then fail at delivering a sick burn on Fred. Are you allergic in some way to acquiring more knowledge?

  • Yup. Or the moment you call someone out for racism or misogyny, YOU’RE the rude person, so very much more rude than the person actually saying racist or sexist things.

  • You may think posts like this don’t support the first interpretation (” that he truly cares about the evangelical church and sees it as his responsibility to hold it accountable”), but as far as I can tell that’s because

    1. you are willfully ignorant about the size of the blow-up over this in evangelical culture

    2. you are willfully ignorant about Fred’s decade-long posting track record

    Pick one. Or both! It could very well be both.

    (And as for the “same amen chorus” – er, yes, a lot of us continue to read his blog because we agree with his assessment. That a bunch of Slacktivist regulars tend to agree with Fred isn’t proof of anything much except that people who agree with a blogger tend to come back and keep reading that blogger.)

    I say “willfully ignorant” because, for crying out loud, dude, we have this Internet here. There is a lot of reading material therein. Follow the links! Google the subject matter! Read the archive! Physician, heal thyself!

    And also, get a better wardrobe adviser. Dunno about where you are, but it’s been alternately snowing and raining here in Boulder, and your “fashionably fine linen” (ahem) doesn’t look likely to help keep you warm.

  • Rae

    That was exactly my thoughts: Being pro-organized-labor, and Latino, and advocating for poor Latin@s’ rights, are all things that the Christian Right (the ones who are kicking up most of the fuss) tend to see in a very negative light.

  • Rae

    And I was raised in such an insular white fundamentalist community, that when my first March in SoCal rolled around, I actually asked someone who mentioned Cesar Chavez Day (as it’s treated like a Monday holiday here) who Cesar Chavez was, and they looked at me like they just discovered that I was from another planet.

  • Dolores Umbridge.

  • SisterCoyote


  • Back in fifth grade, a classmate told me that catholics weren’t christians because catholics worshiped Mary instead of Jesus. I assumed he was just dumb and misinformed. Years later, I discovered that, yes,. this was a real thing and a mainstreamish attitude in the english-speaking world.

  • Yeah, being offended by “bibliophile” because it is shaped like another unrelated word is pretty stupid. It’s not like this is the word “niggardly” we’re talking about here.

  • Yes. It’s fortunate that atheists never get bent out of shape when someone fails to make a special point of including them.

  • The Ridger

    Well, unless they plan on also doing Easter when the Eastern Rite Christians have it…

  • P J Evans

    In high school we moved into a house where the neighbor on one side was Italian (and RC ) and the neighbor on the other side was Greek (and Orthodox). Keeping track of Christmas and Easter became a necessity.

  • Yeah, I meant the independent fundamentalist subset of RTCs :)

  • Edo

    I’ve heard that before too. In fairness, one of the people asking was from Indonesia, where “Christian” legally means “Protestant,” so it makes a bit more sense.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I’m sensing heavy amounts of sarcasm, but I’m going to need more of an idea why before I can address your concern.

  • AnonaMiss

    The “niggardly” thing still makes me sad. Not so much for people’s illiteracy, but because it’s a great word and now for no fault of its own we can’t use it.

  • Ross Thompson

    But in this case, it’s not unrelated. They both end in -phile for a reason. And, all things considered, a random -philia is more likely to have to do with sex than not. Not that you shouldn’t look it up before getting indignant (especially for a word as common as “bibliophile”), but still.

  • cminus

    It can run both ways, though. I went to Catholic school in a heavily Catholic town in the Midwest, and one of our catechism classes showed a video in which we were assured that the particular scriptural interpretation we were being taught was “accepted not only by Christians, but by many Protestants as well”.

  • ReverendRef

    Ah . . . Good point. I guess the whole “Us and Them” thing runs deep.

  • heckblazer

    When I was in grade school I would get annoyed when people would ask me if I was Christian or Catholic (I usually answered along the lines of “both”). I got *really* annoyed when I was asked the same question in college, which was only around a decade ago.

  • Arachnus

    Right on

  • My point was that I’m pretty sure that it’s not considered okay to dismiss people as “poorly educated” if they find “niggardly” offensive.

  • House Tumblr is making me giggle all day, and I don’t even watch Game of Thrones.

  • Fortunately, April 20 is also George Takei’s birthday, as well as a big day for the marijuana scene (4/20) so there are plenty of possibilities for offending the squares. Maybe a doodle of Takei and the Easter Bunny sharing a spliff?

  • It’s not that great of a word when you can use “stingy” or “miserly” instead and get the same meaning without the potential for offense.

  • Hell, he doesn’t need to fact-check, as such. All he needs to do is go on the intertubes, and look up the word “bibliphile” using the boogle or the groggle or the Cesar Chavez machine or whatever the kids are calling it these days.

    Then again, we are talking about the author of the “banana argument” here.

    Best part: he didn’t even realize he was being insulted. (Maybe he doesn’t know the meaning of the word “aspersion” either.)

  • Lori

    Well, I would think that a person who doesn’t know what niggardly means, but who nevertheless complains about it in a public forum is rather lacking in education and probably should have done a tiny bit of homework before making an issue of it.

    That’s a different thing from someone who knows what it means and ays, “I can’t help it. The sound of it just bothers me and I think there’s too much likelihood of misunderstanding and I would rather people not use it.”

  • Carstonio

    Illiteracy? I think most people who object to the word know the difference between that and the racial slur. But in conversation, the first two syllables of the benign word would still cause momentary feelings of shock and outrage among blacks, until they hear the rest of the word. Particularly blacks old enough to remember when the slur was publicly acceptable. Not much different from what one feels after narrowly escaping an accident.

  • I know, that’s my favorite. But Reddit’s “We Do Not Source” is funny as hell too.

  • I’ve had people tell me that avoiding the word “niggardly” is racist, as “You’re assuming black people are too stupid to know the difference”

  • Panda Rosa

    You learn something new every day. I didn’t knew Newton was born on Christmas. Didn’t he believe angels were spying on him?

  • baby raptor………????………who’s really hiding behind something…….and your statement is pointless