I spent a good part of one afternoon last week making a parody of the whole “Little Red Cup” controversy. The most recent iteration of our annual “War on Christmas” outrage involved Starbucks and their holiday cups. Usually in the lead up to Thanksgiving, the company issued its festive cups adorned with wreaths and whatever else reminded you of the totally nonessential yet delightful parts of Christmas. There was no nativity motif, nothing religious. It was the secular part that makes you warm and fuzzy and coaxes you to pay exorbitant sums for, let’s face it, not so good coffee.
But this year, the cups became very Danish Modern, very spare and stark and just . . . red. It is a very holiday-ish red, the kind of red I wish I could find in an inexpensive lipstick. Still, there were people who got their jingle bells in a jangle because they thought this was an example of erasing Christ from the holiday. It was a bit ridiculous, because Starbucks has never been known as a bastion of Christian devotion, and has championed things (like gay marriage) most conservatives oppose.
But there’s always time in the blogosphere for a War on Christmas controversy because it serves two enriching purposes: one, it gives (some) Christians another reason to think we’re being victimized, and two, it gives (some) people who hate Christians another reason to think we’re paranoid.
Guess what? There is a bit of truth in both of those suggestions.
Most Christians saw this faux controversy for what it was, the work of a narrow and highly excitable demographic that’s as representative of Christians in America as Madonna is representative of Michigan. It was the idea of a blogger who linked to other bloggers and websites and who’s either disturbed, overly-sensitive or an amazing self-promoter.
On Facebook, the vast majority of my brothers and sisters in faith laughed off the controversy and said that they were more offended by the prices at Starbucks than anything missing from the cups.
And here is where the second part of the “War on Christmas” meme comes in. Even in the face of conservatives scratching their heads or ignoring the issue altogether, there were still diehard progressives who persisted in saying that we conservatives, Christians or nonsecular humanists were absolute crazies perpetuating this myth of persecution.
Let me express, as one who has often been mistaken for a whack job, this is not the type of thing Christians get angry about, Bill O’Reilly notwithstanding. We are angered by laws which mandate that we pay for birth control when it violates our beliefs. We are angry when we see churches vandalized and priests, we bleed for our brothers and sisters abroad being systematically exterminated.
But let’s be clear, we are not upset about a paper cup. We don’t really care that Santa took a sabbatical, he probably couldn’t afford Starbucks coffee either. We won’t go to Dunkin’ Donuts because they put a wreath on their cup (we’ll go because the coffee is better).
To everyone who persists in believing Starbucks is hell-bent on sticking it to Christians, chill the bell out. For those who try to take advantage of this stunt to make us look as stupid as you think we really are, go stuff your elf.
Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org