This just in: Christians now offended by the color red.
As I scrolled through my newsfeed, I thought for a moment I was seeing headlines from The Onion, a satirical news website. So I clicked some titles and scrolled up and down just to make sure that I wasn’t falling for another one of The Onion‘s somewhat believable, yet untrue stories. Nope. Not The Onion.
And, terrified, I realized that I’m now living in a world where I mistake real news for being The Onion news, not the other way around.
[Warning: Tongue-in-cheek ahead.]
Shocked and horrified, I read that Starbucks now hates Christmas and Christians and Jesus. Why? Because (dun dun DUN) their 2015 holiday red cup design is devoid of anything related to Christmas or holidays, except for, of course, being the color red. When finally my eyes were accosted to behold this horrific slam to Christians, I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was true; the new holiday cup is the color red. Clearly, CLEARLY, this is an attempt to wipe Christmas and Christians off the face of the earth.
My mouth hung agape at the news articles I was reading about how Christians are enraged at a simple red cardboard cup. I did some digging, to make sure I wasn’t reading an Onion story, proving again my disbelief of the newest thing Christians are supposed to hate and I suppose, boycott. (NOPE.) Allow me to point out a few things, in no particular order, we (Christians) should consider before we cry “blasphemy!”
1. Fact Check: Starbucks does not—I repeat, does NOT—hate Christmas, Jesus, or Christians. They haven’t said that at all. Their tradition of making especially festive red cups for the November-December months has been happening since 1997 and this year they settled on a solid red color. It’s simple, elegant, and quiet. And, Starbucks says, a way to “embrace the simplicity and quietness of [the holidays].” Nothing about hating Christmas or Jesus or Christians in there at all. Or did I miss something?
2. “Red Is The Color…” It could actually be argued that the solid red color is even less secular than previous ones. Past designs have featured snowmen, snowflakes, reindeer, music notes, and ornaments, to name a few. These are all secular symbols of the holiday, displaying nothing overtly Christian. And if we’re getting philosophical, the solid red color allows you to project your own ideas onto the cup, whereas the ones with designs on it guided you to secular versions of Christmas. And I’ll even add a Jesus-juke: The color red is, of course, the color of the blood Jesus shed for our salvation. Just saying.
3. Christians are choosing to be offended by a color on a cardboard cup. Think about that for just a second. Really? Really? There’s nothing on the cup that criticizes or puts down Christians, Christmas, or Jesus. In fact, there’s literally nothing on the cup at all! Just the Starbucks insignia and the color red. This is a choice Christians are making—we are choosing to see what we want to see; we are choosing to see offense and hatred. What does that say about Christians? We are preemptively hating; before Starbucks can actually come out and say they hate Jesus, we will hate them first for not saying they love Jesus. Like saying “You can’t fire me! I quit!” But instead, “YOU CAN’T HATE ME! I HATE YOU!” Yep, that seems like a good idea. (Or NOT.)
4. This is NOT persecution. Please, I beg of you, do NOT make this a persecution thing. Can I just remind you—yes, I’m going there—Christians all over the world are being beheaded, children are being hanged, and people are literally being tortured because of Jesus. And we are getting upset over a cardboard cup that is actually NOT an attempt to persecute Christians at all. Don’t whine about a proverbial paper cut that’s actually just in your head while your brother quite literally suffers excruciating and fatal wounds. That’s silly, insensitive, and terribly, terribly ungrateful.
5. Don’t Be A Jerk. There’s a video going around that is calling for, not a boycott, but a “prank” on Starbucks in light of their “obvious” Jesus-hating power play. Maybe you’ve seen it. Christians are instructed to tell the barista “Merry Christmas” when asked for their name for your cup, so when your drink is ready, the barista has to say “Merry Christmas.” First of all, this just seems like a really, really bad idea. Second of all, it’s the most annoying thing that could ever happen to a barista (believe me, I’ve been one). AND, this is making Christians out to be mean, antagonistic, and angry. Don’t do it, friends. Don’t do it.
6. Don’t forget the Gospel. Yes, this whole outrage against the red cups is making Christians look angry and weird. Our mission is to share Jesus, not to make everyone say “Merry Christmas.” And, just as a little reminder, Easter is actually the holiday more central to our faith than Christmas. But I don’t see an outrage of this caliber against bunnies and eggs and chocolate? (Please do not outrage against chocolate. I don’t think I could handle that.)
7. Starbucks is not a Christian organization. They’re a business whose goal is to make money. That’s what businesses do. Their festive and unique red cups bring in business during the November and December months; it’s actually a pretty smart move. Furthermore, this might even fall under the first amendment—freedom of speech. Starbucks is allowed to make whatever kind of cup they want to make. They have the right to say or not say whatever they want on those cups. Of course, Christians have the right to say or not say whatever they want, too, though I wish they would use that right more wisely.
Christians, there are bigger things in our world that demand our outrage and energy. Things like human trafficking, murdering unborn lives, people needing fresh water, and a myriad of other heartbreaking issues we could be working on for the Gospel of Jesus. But we’re wasting time on cardboard cups? How about taking the $5 you would spend to antagonistically make a Starbucks employee say “Merry Christmas” and support a Compassion child or fill an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox? Seriously, people. Do things that matter, and stop getting upset about things that don’t.
I have more words in my head about this, but I won’t belabor. I think I’ll go to Starbucks to order a Grande Tripleshot half-the-pumps Salted Caramel Mocha—for Emily, a Christian who’s not upset by Starbucks or their red cups.
“Dear Christians: Calm Down About Starbucks’ Red Cups” originally appeared on emilygehman.com. Emily is our Online Managing Editor!