These are news stories breaking after the publishing of this Word
The Red Cup Controversy
Starbucks ‘removed Christmas from
their cups because they hate Jesus,’ Christian says in viral Facebook
by Justin Wm. Moyer
Some say Jesus Christ healed the sick and died to redeem humankind.
Little is said about his views on the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Still, secular coffee maker Starbucks has come under fire from some
Christians who say the company isn’t repping hard enough for Jesus on
its recent understated holiday cups. The problem? Political correctness,
according to one evangelical.
“I think in the age of political correctness we become so open-minded
our brains have literally fallen out of our head,” Joshua Feuerstein
said in a widely viewed anti-Starbucks rant on Facebook titled
“Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus.”
“Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off
of their brand new cups? That’s why they’re just plain red.”
Feuerstein, an Arizona-based evangelist and “social media personality,”
according to his Web site, had a plan. He didn’t want a boycott. He
wanted a movement.
“I went in,” he said in the video. “I asked for my coffee. They asked
for my name. And I told them my name is ‘Merry Christmas.’ ”
“Guess what, Starbucks?” Feuerstein said. “I tricked you into putting
‘Merry Christmas’ on your cup.” Moreover, he challenged “great Americans
and Christians” to do the same by making “coffee selfies” with Christmas
messages on Starbucks cups.
Feuerstein’s message was quickly embraced by many. Posted on Thursday,
Nov. 5, his video had been viewed more than 11 million times by early
“It’s not just about a cup,” he explained in an e-mail to The Washington
Post. “The cup is symbolic of a larger war against Christianity in this
country. The policemen of political correctness have demanded that the
silent majority bend its knee to a vocal minority.” He added: “Starbucks
and others know that Americans are drawing a line in the sand and
refusing to remain silent any longer.”
In the video, Feuerstein added that he wore a Jesus Christ T-shirt into
the store “just to offend” — and also brought his gun with him, since
Starbucks “hates” the Second Amendment. (Starbucks has expressed
disapproval of guns in its locations in the past, but not banned them.
Arizona, meanwhile, is an open-carry state.)
“Choose to not be political correct,’ just correct,” Feuerstein said.
Some supported the message.
“Love it Joshua,” one commenter wrote. “AMEN AMEN. I will ALWAYS KEEP
CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS.”
However, some commenters — a few claiming to be current or former
Starbucks employees — said that the company has never endorsed
explicitly Christian messages. And wouldn’t sending more business to a
company to make a point just result in higher profits for the allegedly
“I normally like your post but not this one,” one commenter wrote.
“Starbucks is trying to remain neutral and be culturally sensitive to
everyone by leaving them blank. You are offended that they don’t say
Merry Christmas, but Jewish people would be offended if it only said
that, not Happy Hanukkah. So they are leaving them blank so they can’t
“If you need a coffee chain to be your ambassador of Christ you need to
re-examine your relationship w/God,” one Twitter critic wrote.
Starbucks certainly didn’t seem to anticipate this furor when it
released its holiday-themed cups last week — cups that, as the company
made clear in a press release, are not really Christmas cups. No
crosses. No Mary and Joseph. And definitely no Jesus. In many ways, the
cups seemed designed to be unremarkable — unlike, say, the “Race
Together” cups the company tried to push in the wake of unrest in
Ferguson, Mo., earlier this year.
“Creating a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity is one of the
core values of Starbucks, and each year during the holidays the company
aims to bring customers an experience that inspires the spirit of the
season,” the company wrote in a press release. “Starbucks will continue
to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in
our stores around the world.”
Indeed, save for the shade, the cups looked pretty much like regular
Starbucks cups. Well, if you got technical, as the company did, the cups
were “a bright poppy color on top that shades into a darker cranberry
“We have anchored the design with the classic Starbucks holiday red that
is bright and exciting,” Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of
design and content, said in a statement. “The ombré creates a
distinctive dimension, fluidity and weightedness.” (For those in need of
a definition of “ombré”: “colors or tones that shade into each other —
used especially of fabrics in which the color is graduated from light to
dark,” according to Merriam-Webster.)
Holiday cups have been a tradition at Starbucks since 1997. The design
“has told a story of the holidays by featuring symbols of the season
from vintage ornaments and hand-drawn reindeer to modern
vector-illustrated characters,” according to the company.
Except this year, the story is, in a way, not a story.
“This year’s design is another way Starbucks is inviting customers to
create their own stories with a red cup that mimics a blank canvas,” the
company said. Fields added: “This year we wanted to usher in the
holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”
Or maybe the story is sort of a silent story. Kind of like “Silent
Night.” But definitely, definitely not “Silent Night.”
“We’re embracing the simplicity and the quietness of it,” Fields said.
“It’s more open way to usher in the holiday.”
Breitbart wasn’t buying it.
“You can see what’s going on here,” Raheem Kassam wrote, offering a
detailed rundown of the history of Starbucks Christmas cups. “More open?
You mean, you’re trying not to ‘offend’ anyone. Frankly, the only thing
that can redeem them from this whitewashing of Christmas is to print
Bible verses on their cups next year.”
Justin Wm. Moyer is a reporter for The Washington Post's Morning Mix.
Follow him on Twitter: @justinwmmoyer.