By Bob Allen
Former Southern Baptist leader Richard Land has added his voice to the latest “war on Christmas” campaign, suggesting Christians should boycott Starbucks over the plain red design of this year’s holiday cup.
Land, retired executive director of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, spoke Nov. 10 on Newsmax Prime with former Congressman J.D. Hayworth about whether the company’s decision not to include symbols like reindeer and trees they have used in the past is a “big deal.”
“For Christians it should be, and it certainly will impact my patronage of Starbucks,” Land said. “I probably would have a chance to let them know, ‘By the way I would have bought some coffee today if you had had a cup with Christmas ornaments on it or you had a cup that was clearly Christmas, but I’m not, so that’s money you’ve lost.’ That’s the only language these people understand.”
Land, who as head of public policy for the nation’s second largest faith group behind Roman Catholics led the Southern Baptist Convention’s boycott of the Walt Disney Co. in the 1990s, joined public figures including presidential candidate Donald Trump weighing in on a social media controversy launched on Facebook by self-described evangelist and “social media personality” Joshua Feuerstein.
Feuerstein, who boasts nearly 2 million followers on Facebook, claimed Starbucks went to a minimalist design because they “wanted to take Christ, and Christmas off of their brand new cups. That’s why they’re just plain red.” He went on to suggest that consumers join him in a prank by telling baristas their name is “Merry Christmas” so it appears on their order.
Land said he probably would have responded differently, perhaps speaking directly to the store manager about his disapproval, but quipped he could go one better by identifying himself as “Joseph the father of Jesus.”
“We have to speak up,” Land said. “When we’re being dissed, when a traditional Christmas holiday is being dissed, the only way to make merchants aware and to get our voice heard is to make it clear that we are going to vote with our pocketbooks. We’re going to vote with our consumer dollars.”
Land said one of the main reasons businesses like Starbucks “are not stressing Christmas or they’re turning away from Christmas” is pressure from the left.
“They’re getting pushed from the secular progressives,” Land said. “Unless people of traditional values and Christians push back, then the companies and the moguls are going to go in the direction of least resistance.”
In 2008 the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution affirming use of the term “Christmas” in public life.
Citing “great pressure being exerted on schools, communities, businesses, and other public institutions” to replace the term “Christmas” with a secular term, the resolution urged Christians “to be aware of businesses, schools, and all other public institutions in their areas that are removing Christmas as the official designation of the season and to use their influence to restore Christmas to its proper place in the culture.”