I do so enjoy a red-hot cup of Christian rage with my coffee!
Just kidding. Unfortunately, some people aren’t.
For those of you who haven’t heard, Starbucks’s seasonal Christmas cups, usually bright red and adorned with various winter and holiday symbols, have become a bit more simplistic and — dare I say — elegant in their style. By this, I mean they’re just, well, red. All the snowflakes and holiday cheer etched onto them are missing this year, and apparently some people have trouble with that.
This controversy all began when self-identified evangelist Joshua Feuerstein posted a video on Facebook addressing his views on the matter.
In this video, Feuerstein details what he believes to be an act of defiance against the political correctness instilled into Starbucks stores across the nation. He did this by telling a poor barista that his name was “Merry Christmas” so that they would be forced to write it on his cup. Feuerstein proudly discusses this so-called trickery in this video, which has unfortunately gone viral.
He then goes on to try and start a movement: #MerryChristmasStarbucks. It’s become the equivalent of a running joke on Twitter. If you search it up, one of the top results will be an article by Buzzfeed.
In his recording, Feuerstein goes on to say “I’m challenging all great Americans and Christians around this great nation. Go into Starbucks and take your own coffee selfie.” Right after this, he talks about wearing a Jesus t-shirt and bringing his gun into the store because he supports the 2nd Amendment. Neither of these mentions are really strengthening his argument. Did I establish how stupid it is that he’s telling people to boycott Starbucks by buying their overpriced coffee? How nonsensical can you get? This isn’t an issue on Christmas so much as it is an instigation for the sake of conflict.
Obviously, Feuerstein doesn’t speak for all Christians when he says Starbucks is the epitome of anti-Christmas.
Take, for instance, Ed Stetzer’s stance on this in his article for Christian Today: “Here’s what I would say — this is the wrong fight and being done in the wrong way. And, it’s just making Christians look silly, like so many of these fake controversies do.”
Let’s take a deep breath and remember that Starbucks has never directly tied itself to any type of religion. Even then, they still have products that still have their holiday designs, such as their bags of Christmas blend coffee and “Merry Christmas” gift cards. Additionally, the baristas are allowed to say “Merry Christmas” to their customers, despite Feuerstein stating otherwise in his video.
Honestly, the only thing we should be blaming Starbucks for is how their pumpkin spice lattes have led to the abomination that is pumpkin spice everything else, from pumpkin spice Oreo cookies to pumpkin spice shampoo.
This unending tempest of irrelevancy has somewhat revived the idea that there is a war on Christmas; that the religious side of the holiday is being acknowledged less and less whilst being secularized.
That’s true enough. Stores have been substituting “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” for “Merry Christmas” for quite a while. The conservatives who say Christmas is being attacked, however, are exaggerating way too much.
The holidays have been the most profitable times of the year. It’s only natural that the social standing of Christmas becomes more in-tune with attracting as many consumers as possible. This means the birth of Jesus is downplayed in favor of cheer, merriment, sharing, caring, family and gift-giving.
The meaning of Christmas hasn’t really been attacked so much as it has been shifted. Naturally, businesses want to profit from people of all religions. People can still celebrate the religious meanings of their respective holidays at home, yet some still find it offensive when some of that representation is taken away in more public areas.
Personally, I can understand the offense some may take. But really, what’s wrong with how Christmas is being handled now? Sure, spending money on expensive gifts is emphasized by the feelings of family, caring, love and merriment, but that doesn’t change the fact that those values are still good to have. As long as you don’t fall for those marketing ploys (or make sure you don’t overspend), the virtues that Christmas emphasizes are still very warm and fuzzy, and I love it.
David Ngo is an English and Public Health Policy Double Major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.