Happy Easter (and more)! (UPDATED: Google’s Chavez commemoration)

Happy and blessed Easter!

“Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future; he is the everlasting ‘today’ of God,” said Pope Francis last night.

While we’re at it, happy birthday to Cesar Chavez! Besides his birthday, March 31 is also the anniversary of the day he quit his job, in 1962, in order to establish a labor union for migrant farmworkers.  (My article marking the event and its legacy, published last year in America magazine, is here.)

And finally, happy birthday to me. (In case you’re interested, Easter has fallen on my birthday, March 31, twice before in my lifetime, in 2002 and 1991. Last time before that was 1929. Se Dio vuole, I’ll see it happen one more time, in 2024. After that, it won’t happen again until 2086.)

UPDATE, 4/1:Screen shot 2013-03-31 at 11.05.39 AM

It seems Google has been widely criticized for marking Cesar Chavez’s birthday yesterday with his portrait in their homepage logo. I mentioned Chavez’s birthday here too yesterday, along with (and of course in second place to) my Easter greetings.

Big kudos to Matthew Schmidz at the First Things blog for his post, “Why It’s Fitting to Remember Cesar Chavez on Easter Sunday,” not least because he has offered his defense of Google in a forum where he was bound to draw the ire of many readers (and that he has!). Mr. Schmidz’s post is worth your time not only for his insightful comments, but for the two fascinating links he provides.

Speaking of readers’ reactions, one comment left in the combox for the Schmidz post is good for an April Fools Day laugh (though it’s intended in all seriousness, I’m afraid):

With respect to you, Matthew, to your meditation on Chavez, and to the man himself, isn’t it obviously provocative, on the morning most closely associated with Christ, to be featuring someone named Cesar? Isn’t it an undoubted nod to the duality “Caesar and Christ,” a choice of opposites acknowledged by everyone from Will Durant to the writers of the Star Trek episode about 20th-century Rome? And however the editors of Google wish to mask their choice of some kind of Caesar, aren’t they showing us that they their choice is for something other than Christ?

The comment makes about as much sense as suggesting that those who voice their appreciation for the presidency of George W. Bush are in fact masking deep anti-American sentiments, because everyone knows that America was founded in opposition to the oppressive rule of another guy named George — England’s King George III.

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