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Starbucks takes PC approach and sparks controversy with plain holiday cups

Not even three weeks out from October, the yearly grapple with the hierarchy of holiday seasons is in full swing. While secularists are occupied arguing over the retail world completely leapfrogging Thanksgiving, large swaths of Christians are launching their yearly grievances toward the “War on Christmas,” which incidentally lines up with Starbucks’ decision this season to exclude any trace of Christmas propaganda — namely the absence of “Merry Christmas” on their annual red cups.

Because of a viral video going around showing an angry, loud Christian man outraged that a coffee company not affiliated with any religion has the audacity to exclude the words “Christmas” or “Jesus” on the red cups this year, there have been waves of support but mostly outrage. Even fellow Christians are teaming up to shut down this misconception that their faith is an embellished pity party.

To be frank, the large, angry Christian in this video is wrong. He’s wrong on so many levels, and here’s why: Starbucks does not care. Christians do not care.

Coming from a religious background myself, as well as being a Starbucks partner, the Christian faith puts coffee on a pedestal almost as lofty as Jesus Christ himself. Often, pastors and followers meet up for coffee, often at Starbucks, to discuss faith, Bible verses, small groups and accountability with each other on a daily basis. Coffee shops are what they cling to for fellowship, and most of them wouldn’t dream of forcing their religion down baristas’ throats simply because they know that it’s a predominantly liberal and secular  workplace. To sacrifice that precious fellowship time at coffeehouses would be —ironically —  sacrilegious.

Christians, being a dominant faith in America, often find themselves longing to be persecuted. The yuppie, first-world America that is founded upon principles that grant us liberties to practice any religion we want is a stark contrast to the rough-and-tough, boggy Roman empire that Jesus had to deal with while he was spreading new and, at the time, unheard of doctrine to love thy neighbor. This leaves Christians feeling guilty, looking for any small form of persecution thrown their way to play the victim and backlash against secular society.

The winter months are lined with other religious holidays, too. Hanukkah, Kwanza and Festivus all share the same space during December, and yet it has been popularized to put Christmas before anything. Even the secularized Christmas tree and Santa Claus version we see on ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas” spawns from pagan and Germanic rituals that have nothing to do with Christianity.

Let’s focus on what really matters this winter season: in a world with so much poverty and hurt, we should not only be thankful for our situation here in the U.S., but we should also be proactive in helping out those in need around the world (and buying TOMS shoes is not doing them any favors, trust me). Getting butt hurt at your barista for something partners can’t control will only write you off as indignant, pious and close-minded. Sure, tell them that your name is Merry Christmas, but when they give you a funny look, take it as a sign that you need to lighten up and be an actual light unto the world and not just a loud nuisance looking to pick a fight.

About The Author

Luke Janke

Luke Janke is a super senior studying journalism at FGCU. When he’s not listening to podcasts, he’s busy producing his own podcast, Full Pulp. Concerts and music are at the forefront of his horizon, and when there’s an ounce of free time you’ll find him in his home studio laying down tracks for his music project, Bull Moose Party. As a self-proclaimed nihilist, his affinity for death is emphasized by the authentic squirrel skull found on his desk in the newsroom.

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