A Christian’s take on the Starbucks red cup issue.
When I purchased a Caramel Brulée Latte the other day, I took my red cup, not even noticing that the cheerful Christmas décor was gone. I was too busy enjoying the cloying sugars that satisfied my sweet craving. Days later, this brief experience in Starbucks comes back to me as I peruse the glaring headlines about the “growing” outrage about the red cup, “stripped” of its holiday cheer.
It is important go back to the company that started it all. Why remove the cheer and the snowflakes? Why now? On November 8, Starbucks posted “The Story Behind the Design of Starbucks Red Holiday Cups.” Starbucks vice president of Design & Content stated, “In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs. This year we wanted to user in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.” The post discussed “creating a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity,” one of the “core values” of Starbucks. It is a corporate and political statement. While Starbucks has reasons for going simply red, I stand behind my stance. The coffee hasn’t changed. Still, #itsjustacup.
Arguably, the group that has reacted adversely to Starbucks’ move is relatively small, but again, media has blown the issue to ridiculous proportions. A recent story shows the counter-support that an evangelical group has given to Dunkin’ Donuts for their ‘Joy’ cups, all the while slamming Starbucks’ plain red cup. A Buzzfeed feature summarizes statements from prominent Christians, concluding that, “some Christians are super offended by the new Starbucks red cup design.”
However, do these statements, spread by social media really reflect how all Christians feel about the issue? Jonathan Merritt, writing for the Washington Post, stated, “Many attempted to argue that the Starbucks cup had sparked sweeping anger among Christians, but the evidence was just not there.” The Los Angeles Times apparently claimed that evangelical Christians were “seeing red,” based only on a few critical random tweets.
— Leah (@Hael381) November 5, 2015
— Ariela Paul (@pereira_ariela) November 5, 2015
— Kate (@kateboo) November 11, 2015
Read: not even a majority of Christians are suffering red eye from Starbucks’ visual holiday statement. I personally am not a “red cup Christian,” just like Autumn Miles, CEO of The Blush Network. In a straightforward essay on The Blaze, she brought light to the pressing issues that we should be paying attention to, not coffee cups. She wrote about things that have happened around the world while we busy ourselves with arguing about the red cup, including abortions, massacres, thousands of children waiting for foster parents, sexual assaults and domestic violence. Just to put things in perspective.
Children are starving. Girls in developing countries are experiencing FGM. Veterans are homeless. There's no cure for cancer. #ItsJustACup
— Erin (@erinmcguireee) November 10, 2015
TIL that Starbucks is rounding Christians up into coffee death camps and making them drink Pagan Spice Lattes. https://t.co/yzVooiNEUQ
— Mark Jaquith (@markjaquith) November 7, 2015
Just like all other national debates and controversies, this too shall pass. Meanwhile, I think about the reasons I am a Christian: because I believe in Christ, because I believe in loving your neighbor, and because Jesus stood up for the very pettiness and hypocrisy that is empowering the engine behind the Christian red cup protests.
Let us not let our faith be about technicalities and political correctness.