A Christian friend of mine shared his disappointment and anger at search engine giant Google for not celebrating Easter on their search engine.
For many Christians, myself included, Easter is a monumental occasion in which we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It is a day of celebration, hope for life beyond death, compassion because God had compassion for us, and love for God so loved us that he redeemed us from death and sin. Easter not only touches the core of the Christian’s belief system but it is also a time that many of us love to share with our friends and families.
It is understandable, though I don’t think at all warranted, why many Christians were offended by a lack of Google’s celebration of this big day given its significance. Christians have witnessed Google celebrate other holidays and festive periods on their search engine, so why, they ask, did they not give the nod to Easter? Well, having experienced the backlash, Google explained their reasons to Fox News,
“We don’t have Doodles for religious holidays, in line with our current Doodle guidelines. Doodles may appear for some non-religious celebrations that have grown out of religious holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, Holi’s Festival of Colors, Tu B’Av and the December holiday period, but we don’t include religious imagery or symbolism as part of these”” (1).
For the moment I haven’t found any reason to doubt the truth of what Google has said here, and it really gets me to question the approach of many of my fellow Christians.
Why? Well, because I can’t quite remember when Google celebrated other religious holidays relating to Passover, Eid Al-Adha, Navaratri, Vesak, Naw-Rúz, or Matsuri on their search engine (2). Google has, however, celebrated holidays and events such as Earth Day, Martin Luther King Day, Lunar New Year, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. And although I am committed both emotionally and spirituality to the Easter message why must Easter be the exception to all this? Why do we Christians deserve special and unique treatment on Google’s search engine?
Now, this brings to me the other point my Christian friend made, namely, that this is evidence of an intense hate for Christians, Jesus, and Christianity. Christians arguing this line will appeal to John’s gospel as a biblical basis (7:7; 15:23). And although I wholeheartedly agree that there is hate of Christians in the world I do think we need to be careful who we accuse.
I strongly feel that with hate there must be intent for one must have reasons to hate another person or a specific cause. In other words, there must be some hate on the part of Google and its employees towards Christianity for them to rightfully be called haters of Christians or Christianity. But what evidence is there for this? What has Google really done to earn this reputation, and sure, maybe Google can be criticized in other ways and on other matters, but surely this is hardly an area that they have transgressed in?
I therefore think pointing to a lack of celebration of Easter cannot be evidence of an intense hate for Christians, the Christian message, or Christianity. I also think many western Christians lack wisdom and are too quick to throw the word hate around. As I’ve outlined in an article soon to be shared, Christianity isn’t in the privileged space that it historically once was in the west. There are alternative worldviews and ideologies in the marketplace of ideas that clash with Christian views and values. Many Christians, I believe, often equate this push back and confrontation as “hate” and intolerance towards them given the increasing number of people refusing to agree with them. It would surely, as I see it, be going too far to equate these ideological disagreements with an active hate of Christians. It is also, however, not to say that hate and intolerance does not exist or doesn’t occur sporadically against Christians, rather, my contention is that American Christians are often claiming far too much on a weak foundation. I think my Christian friend most vividly illustrates this over Google’s lack of Easter celebration.
Moreover, I don’t think many western Christians really know all that much hate. Rather, the persecution and murder of Christians in places like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, or Pakistan experienced on a regular basis can hardly be imagined by the many western Christians who are claiming how much they are hated in their own country. To the contrary, Christians in America, as members of the largest faith group in the country, are relatively well-protected and more often accommodated than actively harmed.
So, I don’t see the hate here nor should one let its baseless claims mar the wonderful occasion that has been this year’s Easter. Rather, let’s remember the real reason why we celebrate this day:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Oh, and Google wishes you a happy Easter!:
1. Miles, F. 2018. Google snubbed Easter with no doodle for 18th year in a row, Christians say. Available.
2. Menegus, B. 2018. Conservative Wingnuts Celebrate Easter by Complaining About Google Doodles, Like Jesus Would. Available.