Have a Merry Starbucks Christmas (or Hannakkuh, Kwanzaa, Festivus, etc)!

Duck! The culture warriors are at it again!

One wishes that sanity would prevail in the annual Christian Christmas whine that rings out this time of year. You have probably heard it in the past, “Such-and-such or so-and-so or the liberals or the atheists or the such-and-such, so-and-so liberal atheists are trying to kill Christmas or take Christ out of Christmas.” Unfortunately, sanity remains elusive in 2015.

This year, the first notes in this virtually one-sided battle rang out last week as one Joshua Feuerstein took to Facebook with his peculiar brand of militant Christian ministry. Feuerstein posted an attack on Starbucks last Thursday noting that its annual holiday cup had nothing on it about Christ or Christmas. He added that the company hated Jesus. If you peruse his Facebook page, you will note that Mr. Feuerstein tends toward accusatory hyperbole. (He also has almost 2,000,000 “likes.”)

His Starbucks rant soon went viral and led to posts of all types on his page. Some were wholeheartedly in support, and some suggested that he might find a better outlet for Christian ministry than this. Some of the latter are discussed in a “Salon” article posted on Saturday.  Here is a link to a Fox news blog posted today discussing the issue.

I hope and pray that all of my Christian brothers and sisters will learn to deal with our pluralistic society in more constructive ways. Our society changes around us. It is well-documented that in the United States, both the number of those with other religious beliefs are increasing and the number of those with no religious beliefs are increasing. This Pew Research poll on the subject was posted last week. Moreover, past attempts to force beliefs on people have only been counterproductive and, sometimes, lethal. I am thinking here not only Christian brutality to non-Christians but also of brutality by others toward Christians.

Attacking red coffee cups with a company logo on them and the company itself are not the way to live out our beliefs. As noted by Starbucks, we are free to decorate the cups as we choose. We are also free to live out the commands of Christ. Vitriol, condemnation and judgement are not anywhere among them. Indeed, Christians might well note that the only people to whom Jesus spoke harshly were the “devout” people of the day. May we go about our ministry with a little more love, humility and service. May we also not be the ones to take Christ out of Christmas as Mr. Feuerstein threatens to do.

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