After spending most of my weekend attending a conference for work, I was shocked to learn this morning from a friend on Facebook about the Starbuck’s holiday cup controversy. My friend’s response to this controversy was that if you are Christian and complaining about how your Starbuck’s cup is not “Christian enough” then you have your Christian values, morals, and ethics all mixed up. I have to say that I agree with her. Why not spend all that energy complaining about your “un-Christian” Starbuck’s cup on something more meaningful like helping the poor and marginalized like Christ did? These so called “Christians” do not know the real meaning of being Christian is.
But, before I continue I should probably explain the whole Starbuck’s cup controversy. From what I understand and what the Huffington Post has described is that a minority of American Christians are upset about is that the new holiday Starbuck’s cup is lacking in it’s embracing of the Christian message via a lack of holiday symbols displayed on the cup. In the past Starbuck’s has displayed various winter themed images on their cups in the few months leading up to Christmas and winter with images like like dog sledding, sledding, skiing, snowflakes, snowmen, and fir trees. Well, a lack of these images on the cups has riled up some Christians who seem to believe that generic winter themed images some who translate into “Christian” images and the meaning of Christmas. Where they have come up with this illogical connection between generic winter images and Christian symbolism is beyond me, because, honestly, the images displayed on holiday Starbuck’s cups in the past had nothing to do with Christianity and Christmas. Really, when was the last time that a snowman symbolized the coming of Christ? Never! If you look through a dictionary of Christian symbols and symbolism (yes, such dictionaries do exist) you will not find snowmen, fir trees, snowflakes, skiing and other winter images amongst Christian symbols, instead you will find Biblical and Christian imagery developed much later in Christian history. The marriage between generic winter imagery and Christian symbolism, in my mind, has a little bit to do with certain Christian denominations connecting their theology with the American culture of consumerism and lack of knowledge concerning their own faith and symbolism.
What has also made me so disappointed in my fellow American citizens and my Christian brothers and sisters in faith (do they really have to be my siblings in faith?) is not only their lack of knowledge in their own faith but their lack of knowledge in the role that Christianity plays in U.S. history, culture, and (must I say this…) politics. The angry Christians are claiming by not having generic winter images on Starbucks’ cups, that Starbucks is denying the Christian heritage of the United States and the American Dream that has allowed Starbucks to become successful. So now these crazy, fundamental Christians are not only equating generic winter imagery with Christian symbolism but they are now claiming that by not having winter images on the cups that Starbucks is denying the America her Christian heritage and ignoring the American Dream. What the beeeeeeeeeeeeeep! So damn convoluted! Not only is the lack of winter imagery on a Starbucks’ cups is denying Americans their Christian heritage but some how our Christian heritage lead to the American Dream and that allowed Starbucks to be the large corporation that it is today and this all goes back to winter images on a cup being the same as Christian imagery. I don’t understand this so called logic, more like lack of education, so please, some one hand me a glass of wine.
Let’s start with this: fundamentalist Christians are so uneducated about the history of their country and that the U.S. doesn’t have an established religion or language. So are we truly a Christian nation according to our law. No. But let’s be real, are red and green not a holiday colors? When you see the colors red and green on a product around the Christmas holiday, do you not think of Christmas? Of course you do. So Christmas imagery is not lost of the Starbucks cups. But crazy Christian fundamentalists are so caught up in the lack of “Christian” imagery on the cups that they fail to realize that the cups do display Christian imagery in the use of the colors red and green. While on the topic of holiday colors I think that Starbucks should have cups that are Hanukkah themed. Instead of using red and green they cups should be blue and white but then crazy Christians would claim that it is a warn on Christianity. I am sure Jewish Americans would like Hanukkah themed Starbucks cups. So, lets be real, when Starbucks comes out with Christmas themed cups the Religious Right goes up in arms because the cups are not displaying “Christian” imagery like a cute snowmen or snowflakes because they make people think of Jesus. So, secular imagery equals Christian imagery while Christian imagery equals secular imagery, wonderful logic.
I am also confused why the Religious Right feels the need to force their religion on others by displaying “Christian” imagery. The holidays are not just about Christmas but is also about Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. In all honesty I believe our society needs to be more inclusive towards other holidays like Hanukkah when it comes to television advertisements with Christmas trees or families opening presents on Christmas morning. Can there be advertisements with Hanukkah imagery? Would that be a war on Christmas? The Religious Right would think so. Let’s be real, the Religious Rights needs to realize that the U.S. is not just full of Christians but is also home Jews, Muslims, the non-religious, and those of faiths other than the Abrahamic faiths. So let’s be respectful of all beliefs. And if the Religious Right is more concerned about the lack the of “Christian” imagery on their Starbucks cups and about the poor and downtrodden, then they need to reevaluated their relationship with God and need to review what it means to be Christian. So tomorrow morning when I am walking down L Street on my way to work with a holiday Starbucks cup in hand, I will be thinking about how the cup is not offensive to me as a Christian and that I care more about other people than I do about a cup and that I understand my faith much better than the Religious Right does. I’ll also be wishing that my Jewish friends could, in the near future, enjoy a Hanukkah themed Starbucks cup or that the my secular friends could enjoy a cup with nice winter imagery or even that we could all enjoy a nice Thanksgiving cup with a nice, big, fat turkey on it until Thanksgiving.