For those who don’t know, today is “Cesar Chavez Day”, as proclaimed by your President in 2011. The American farm worker was also a civil rights activist and labor leader, and so naturally, because he represents the rights of all people and not just the select (previous) majority, the right wing is up in arms. See, today is also Easter, and as usual, the right thinks the entire country must celebrate their holidays and nothing else, or else their rights are being suffocated.
The ironic thing is that Cesar Chavez was a Christian activist, basing his civil rights rallies upon Jesus’ example of achieving social justice through non-violence, and as such, is an iconic hero to Mexican Americans.
The Right is up in arms on Twitter, threatening to switch to Bing as revenge against Google for honoring a Christian activist on Easter.
Over at Breitbart, they are apparently unaware of the Christian/spiritual underpinnings of Chavez’ leadership: “March 31 marks the birthday of National Farm Workers Association (later United Farm Workers) co-founder Cesar Chavez. Chavez, who was trained by Saul Alinsky in the tactics of community organizing, has become a cult figure in California due to his organization of agricultural workers. March 31 also happens to be another important date this year: Easter. So, naturally, Google’s current logo features a graphic of Chavez’s face, rather than anything having to do with Easter.”
Guess what? The Tea Party is led by Alinsky tactics (goes to a subscriber only link at WSJ). Yeah, you heard me. Adam Brandon of FreedomWorks has admitted that they give Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals to top leadership members, and that “Rules for Patriots”, which they give to all of their members, is a shorter version (aka, “Alinsky for Dummies”) of Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”.
Cesar Chavez’s principal mentor was a man who worked for Alinsky, and utilized the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF)’s congregation-based community organizing method. Yes, that’s right. This is a faith-based organizing method that works through synagogues, churches, and mosques. (This is also known as the wrong kind of faith in some circles, where they apparently believe Jesus stoned anyone who didn’t agree with Him or was not white, straight and rich. Let’s call this the WalMarting of Jesus, trademarked for profit by many conservative leaders.)
Chavez was a Christian, and he saw collective bargaining and wage issues through the lens of social justice and religion. Ronald A. Wells, Professor of History, Emeritus, Calvin College, Michigan, and now Director of the Symposium on Faith and the Liberal Arts, Maryville College, Tennessee, writes, “Cesar Chavez is to Mexican Americans what Martin Luther King, Jr., is to African Americans—a leader of iconic stature. To be sure, there was only one Dr. King. It does not diminish the memory of Cesar Chavez to say that, second only to Dr. King, he was one of the most important Christian activists in our time, and one of the premier advocates of social justice through nonviolence.”
In fact, Chavez organized a march for farm workers rights under the guise of a pilgrimage, “Pilgrimage, Penitence, Revolution.” This march, scheduled to end on Good Friday, was led by an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Who would Jesus stand with today — the people working for the underdogs, the social outcasts, the meek, the poor, the vulnerable? Or do you suppose Jesus would stand with corporations, gleefully taking the fish from the poor in order to give the rich one more notch in the belts covering their very full bellies?
Perhaps there is only one kind of correct religious engagement according to the right, and the entire country must show fealty to it or else. (I note their lack of outrage when other religious holidays, e.g. Jewish holidays, are largely ignored by the broader culture. Somehow this is not an infringement upon the Jewish community, who manages to celebrate without forcing everyone else to acknowledge their beliefs.)
The right much prefer praying for the defeat and even death of our President (imprecatory prayer, Google it and pay homage to Chavez while you’re at it) in order to show that they are not thugs. They are spending Easter outraged over Alinsky tactics that they themselves are using, as dictated by their corporate overlords in order to take a stand against the poor. Jesus would be so proud.
Additional Sources: Wood, Richard L. and Mark R. Warren. 2002, “A Different Face of Faith-Based Politics: Social Capital and Community Organizing in the Public Arena,” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy (Fall 2002).