Starbucks recently released its annual holiday cup, and it has thousands of people upset for one reason — they believe it wages a “War on Christmas.”
Starbucks began using iconic holiday cups in 1997. These cups were decorated with designs of snowflakes, tree ornaments and reindeer — fun, festive symbols often associated with Christmas. This year, though, the cup is red and plain. Instead of the usual holiday cheer gained from drinking overpriced peppermint mocha, Starbucks patrons are being forced to swallow an anti-American agenda.
“Maybe we should boycott Starbucks,” says Donald Trump, who owns what he calls “one of the most successful Starbucks” in his skyscraper, Trump Tower. He goes on to say, “If I become president, we’re all going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas,’ that I can tell you.”
Trump is not alone in his indignant fury. Former pastor turned social media activist Joshua Feuerstein was the first to call attention to the Starbucks blasphemy when he posted his outrage on Facebook, saying, “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS [sic] from their coffee cups because they hate Jesus.” He goes on to provide a solution to all Christians who feel personally victimized by a cup: Because the baristas at Starbucks put the name of the customer on the cup, Feuerstein suggests that good Christians give Starbucks the name “Merry Christmas.” By forcing Starbucks employees to write the holiday greeting, some Christians believe they will thwart the company’s attempt to make heathens of America. Feuerstein’s status has almost two hundred thousand likes.
Of all the controversies raised by privileged people who have likely never experienced discrimination, this is probably the most ridiculous one. First of all, Starbucks has never declared that it was a Christian company, nor has it printed overtly Christian symbols on any of its goods. Snowflakes, tree ornaments, and reindeer, while each reminiscent of Christmas, have no direct correlation with Christianity. If the cups once sported images of a cross or baby Jesus and had scripture printed on them, then there could maybe be a story. Even then, it is the company’s prerogative to put designs on its cups, or to leave them blank.
Secondly, the blank red cup serves a purpose. Starbucks, in response to the new controversy, issued a statement saying the cups are meant to invite customers to “tell their Christmas stories in their own way.” It has always been a tradition for customers to draw on their Starbucks cups, and the blank canvas enables them far more artistic freedom. If a person like Feuerstein wants to have a cup that reminds him not to forget Jesus’s birthday, he can feel free to decorate it himself. With this new way to use them, the cups are potentially the most Christian they’ve ever been.
Perhaps most importantly, no person or business should be expected to promote Christmas, or any religious tradition for that matter. In the United States of America, freedom of religion is valued greatly. The same amendment that allows people and businesses to say “Merry Christmas” also ensures the freedom to ignore the holiday. Jewish people are not starting movements because Starbucks has yet to place the Star of David on its cups, so why are Christians upset? Starbucks, by leaving the cup open to write one’s own story, is being inclusive of all religions. The red cup, in its non-discriminatory simplicity, should appease all people.
Of course, not all Christians support Feuerstein and Trump in their critique of Starbucks. There are plenty of level-headed people, Christians and non-Christians alike, who recognize that the international coffee company did absolutely nothing wrong. Unfortunately, these people are often far quieter than those who are upset.
In a world where everything is a subject of debate, coffee is one of the few things most people can agree is good. Unfortunately, in the way we so often do, we have now transformed a harmless object into a matter of extreme controversy. Thus, I urge any person who is upset by the omission of Christmas from a coffee cup to take a proverbial step back and realize that there are far worse things going on in the world. Also, paying Starbucks to write “Merry Christmas” on your peppermint mocha is just giving the company that supposedly “hates Jesus” more revenue. If you really want to show Starbucks, just make your own coffee and add DS mints. You’d save money, too.