Dear Christians: Calm Down About Starbucks’ Red Cup

This just in: Christians now offended by the color red.

Wait, what?

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 this title (amongst others) 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.

[End tongue-in-cheek.]

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.

    Starbucks Red Cup Christians Boycott Christmas
    Notice Starbucks’ use of the word “Christmas” on those cards next to the 2015 red cup.
  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.

31 thoughts on “Dear Christians: Calm Down About Starbucks’ Red Cup

Add yours

  1. just for the record, I’m a Christian and this article is the first I’ve heard about the red cup and Christian’s being outraged about said red cup. I guess if one Christian is outraged all of us must be?

  2. As a Christian, I would think of the red as the blood of Jesus. I’d by no means think bad about a red cup., I mean the same Christmas stockings I’m sure these “Christians “hang are red aren’t they?

  3. I’m a Christian and don’t give a rip what color Starbucks is using for their cups. Please don’t paint all Christians with the same brush, especially if that paint is red (apparently).

  4. I’m glad you’re warning people against the vicious act of sneakily forcing Starbucks baristas to call out “Merry Christmas!” Can you imagine the monstrosity? Seriously. I wouldn’t do that (seems a bit childish, if nothing else) but it isn’t any more hateful than actually wishing someone a Merry Christmas. That one point aside, I’m not sure which is more of a non-issue. Some Christians being offended by red Starbucks cups (I’m pretty sure they’ll get over it), or an entire article refuting the offensiveness of red cups. Is there nothing else going on in the world?

  5. This is not a widespread issue among Christians and I cringe every time it is represented as such. It was a non-issue to me until the media told the world that Christians were mad.

  6. Not to mention Christians(myself included)celebrate Christmas with all the traditional pagan rituals then want to judge others(not me included) for not adhering to the “Jesus is the reason for the season” idea. Let me remind Christians you are not perfect you are very far from it with this kind of attitude. So please do the good deeds of Christians & be Christ-like lift up those who don’t know God & need help & judge not lest ye be judged not its ok to judge cause I’m a Christian & I’m better than you. Remember the members of Westboro Baptist Church say they are “Christians”. Think about it.

  7. Thank you, now if the rest of the world could just know how embarrassed some of us are by this ridiculous Starbucks rant….but this side won’t get covered on the news .

    1. embarrassed? you know it’s like 1 person, right? there is not a majority (or even a minority) of christians that feel this way. but kudos to the media for blowing it out of proportion…. and i’m off to starbucks. maybe i’ll even grab a cup before church and bring it with me to drink during the service….

  8. “Starbuck” and “Peets”is considered by many to be their church. 🙂 Humor aside, I had heard about this story in Seattle. I wish people would not be so outraged on everything. It does nothing but block the conversation and not move it forward.

  9. dear emily, this is like one pastor. from somewhere. don’t lump us in with him. i don’t drink starbucks but after reading about the nut job, i’m heading to starbucks this week to get some hot chocolate (even though it’s way overpriced) b/c i like the red cups. very festive. so please change your title from dear christians to dear nut job pastor. my church was too busy with its christmas project putting together shoeboxes filled with goodies that will go to the poorest of the poor all over this world this week to worry about what one crazy had to say about starbucks. and i can assure you that the rest of our pastors are not preaching about boycotting starbucks b/c they chose to have plain red cups this year. don’t believe me? check out a few churches. have a merry christmas!

  10. Dear Emily. Is it a slow media day? I’m a Christian and I’m friends with many Christians and non – Christians (although I don’t think of my friends that way, I usually just think of them as Scott or Michelle or John). None of us are offended by the cups. In any way. We don’t care. My life is my ‘cup’ reflecting my faith/belief in Jesus. And not just at Christmas. That’s not Starbucks’ job. No cup should ever have that much power. Please stop stereotyping my faith and my peeps❤️

  11. This is the first I’ve seen of this artical. And it saddens my heart that a few makes the whole look bad. As a child growing up in church I heard a sermon of how Christians can be the meanest people and dangerous to the lost world. How are we ever going to lead the lost to Jesus if we can’t even act like Christians. It just goes to show that we are in the last days.

  12. Actually bi like the concept of using merry Christmas as a name or Chrissy Snow. It’s not being a joke. It’s just having some holiday fun.

  13. I rarely comment on articles I read; however, I am offended that you have suggested that all Christians believe Starbucks hates Christmas, Christians and Jesus. I am a Christian and frankly, I could not care less about the colour of the disposable cup Starbucks puts coffee or any other beverage in…please do not presume to speak for me.

  14. Christians aren’t actually offended over the red cup thing. One guy posted his opinion. Then people ran with singling out Christians. Maybe it was someone who hates Jesus and wants to make as many people as possible agree with him. Think about what this post actually does.. It makes Christians look stupid, for caring about a cup color. The actual truth is Christians don’t care about a cup color. Remember the wolf in sheep clothing thing. This whole thing is quite clever to cause an anti Christian uproar. Don’t be fooled. God Bless

  15. I am a Christian (okay, I am far from good, but I believe and know the truth) and I HATE the “holidays” – all of them. Christmas has nothing at all to do with God or the Christ. Jesus Christ (as a Jew living according to Jewish custom) NEVER celebrated his birthday. Jews during the days of Jesus did not celebrate birthdays – only pagans did – and the bible speaks to this. . .. The only two accounts of birthday celebrations in the bible, both end in tragedy. . . One with “John the Baptist’s” head on a platter. . .

    Even if Jesus (the Christ) did celebrate his birthday(he didn’t), why on earth would he celebrate it on the day of a Pagan celebration? The winter solstice. . . It is ridiculous, and frankly, the bible forbids it! – Not to mention – he died on Nissan 14(Jewish calendar) (March – early April) at 33 1/2 years old – that indicates his birth as some time between September and early October . . .

    Jeremiah 10 –

    Do not learn the ways of the nations

    or be terrified by signs in the heavens,

    though the nations are terrified by them.

    3For the practices of the peoples are worthless;

    they cut a tree out of the forest,

    and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.

    4They adorn it with silver and gold;

    they fasten it with hammer and nails

    so it will not totter.

    5Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,

    their idols cannot speak;

    they must be carried

    because they cannot walk.

    Do not fear them;

    they can do no harm

    nor can they do any good

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