By Alan Rudnick
Starbucks red cups are out to bring us holiday cheer, but the response on social media has not been very cheerful.
Joshua Feuerstein, a former Arizona pastor shared a video on Facebook that went viral with over 12 million views. He stated in his Facebook post that “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus.” Feuerstein entered a Starbucks coffee shop protesting the lack of Christian messages on Starbuck’s famous red cups while legally carrying a handgun. This social media protest is using the hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks to encourage customers to fight back against Starbucks’ supposed Christian persecution.
It seems like every year there is some cultural Christian crusader protesting that a company hates Christians or is too politically correct to reference Christmas.
The ugly reality of these holiday protests is that it makes us Christians look like a bunch of paranoid lunatics. The problem with Feuerstein and his video is that it smacks of a superior attitude that all people, businesses and institutions must comply with our Christmas demands. Often, these cultural Christian crusaders do more harm than good. Feuerstein proved this when he waved his concealed handgun at the end of the video. Such displays of “freedom” in the name of exercising Second Amendment rights only further marginalizes Christians into a gun-nut and anti-government stereotype.
That is a real good idea: demand Starbucks put a Christmas message on their cups while waving a gun. Sure, that will really win a lot of people over with our Christian message of love and grace.
Culture’s acceptance of displays of nominal Christian images or messages are not as paramount anymore. That does not mean Christmas, Jesus or God are under attack. It means that a portion of Americans no longer believe or feel that Jesus has as much importance in their life. That is not the fault of Starbucks or other for-profit institutions; that is the fault of us Christians. Starbucks or secular culture are not the holders of our sacred traditions and beliefs. Secular institutions are not the keepers of Christianity. We Christians are keepers of Christianity. We are the ones charged to be the messengers of the Christmas story.
At the end of the day, companies are here to make money off Christmas. Stores are decorated with Christmas displays to get you to buy stuff. If Jesus were walking past a store during the Christmas shopping season, I’m pretty sure he would roll his eyes and place his palm squarely in his face.
Christians, stop this ridiculous protest. If you really think that Starbucks’ lack of concern for putting “Merry Christmas” on their red cups is that important, then maybe you need to put the red cup down and spend more time studying how Jesus treated people. Jesus did not enact change with threats, tricks or guns. Jesus changed the world by spending time with people, some of the most despised: drunks, prostitutes, sinners and tax collectors.