Column: deflating the war on Christmas

Following Starbuck's decision to make their holiday design a simple red cup, many have been criticizing this decision, but is this really a poor decision by Starbucks? (Internet photo)

Following Starbuck's decision to make their holiday design a simple red cup, many have been criticizing this decision, but is this really a poor decision by Starbucks? (Internet photo)

Grace Downing, Contributing Writer

Just over a month ago, the words of Republican front runner Donald Trump echoed through the mass of intent listeners in Springfield, Ill. as he claimed that “There’s an assault on anything having to do with Christianity. They don’t want to use the word Christmas anymore at department stores.” Many enthusiastically cheered him on when he made the sweeping statement that if he became president, each and every store would be welcoming us in with ‘‘Merry Christmas.’’

So what is it that has made Trump so intent on branding a label of attack on this holiday? What reckless action has been taken to push him to assume such an extreme position? It turns out that the source of all this agony is none other than the widely successful coffee company, Starbucks. Trump made these statements upon the release of the coffee titan’s holiday-themed cup, which has made this year’s seasonal appearance in a simple red that grows darker as it flows around the drink, creating an ombre effect. Trump’s animosity can be traced back to the notable lack of a “Merry Christmas” greeting anywhere on the product.

This year, Starbucks has made the decision to remove the usual message from their holiday-themed coffee cups, and instead head in a more elegantly simplistic direction. For some Christians, this came as a major blow to their faith.

One man in particular, Joshua Feuerstein, made a memorable appearance speaking out about this issue. In a widely viewed video entitled “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus,” Feuerstein challenged “all great Americans and Christians” to head into Starbucks and essentially trick them into putting the phrase back on their cups. Ironically, even though Feuerstein now despises Starbucks for their apparent severe hatred of Jesus, he made a viral video challenging his fellow Christians to give this franchise even more money.

But why are so many people this infuriated by a design on a coffee cup? Thanks to Feuerstein, there is an answer.

In an email to the Washington Post, he wrote “It’s not just about a cup. 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.”

But if some time is taken to think about it, who is really being forced to bend a knee to anyone in this situation? If anything, those who had to take that very same action for countless years, constantly bombarded by the daunting phrase “Merry Christmas,” though they do not celebrate it, have finally been given the liberating opportunity to stand once more.

The point of this year’s holiday Starbucks cup is not to instill a sense of hostility towards anyone, but instead to achieve the exact opposite: a sense of welcoming and inclusion towards everyone. Despite what some people may believe, Christmas is not the only holiday that is celebrated around this time of year; but for a long time, it had been the only holiday that was widely recognized.

In response, Starbucks released a statement declaring their intent with the newly designed cups.

“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. Starbucks will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world.”

Through the simple act of removing a phrase from their coffee cups, Starbucks has created a holiday atmosphere that accepts everyone who enters their stores. Those who claim to be attacked by these gestures of inclusion, and self-righteously call for the ‘‘War on Christmas’’ to end, need to recognize that this country is made up of a myriad of diverse citizens, and that each and every one of them has a right to celebrate this time of year in the way that resonates the most with them.