Starbucks Red Cups: War on Christmas?

FOX_and_Friends_First_-War_On_Christmas_Starbucks*sigh* Yet another “War on Christmas!” battle cry. This year it’s over a red cup.

Yes, let that sink in. Some Christians think they are being persecuted or that there is a war on Christmas because Starbucks chose a plain red cup this year instead of one with snowflakes or reindeer. Even though there was never an image of Jesus on past Starbucks cups, the change to a plain colored cup has caused outrage and boycotts.

Here are some reasons why this is ridiculous.

1. Starbucks is not, and never was, obligated to celebrate Christmas.

They are a business, not a church. They are not obligated to promote the specific beliefs or holiday celebrations of some or all their customers. Many companies do promote Christmas, but not because they are obligated to do so; they do it to sell you more stuff. If you didn’t buy it, they wouldn’t sell Christmas themed products. Isn’t rampant consumerism and focus on profit what’s wrong with the Christmas season anyways? For once a company is refusing to give in to this financially motivated holiday mindset, and people are attacking them for it. I applaud them for not making this season all about profits at the expense of their core values. 

2. Christmas is NOT just a Christian holiday.

465934851People of many faiths as well as atheists and agnostics celebrate various versions of Christmas that have nothing to do with Jesus. Plus, there are other winter holidays! There is Kwanzaa, Hannukah, pagan winter holidays for the Winter Solstice, etc. People have many different reasons for celebrating the winter holiday season, many of which have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity or Jesus or even religion at all. Which leads me to my next point:

3. Christmas was NOT originally a Christian holiday.

According to many Biblical scholars, Jesus was likely born in the Fall, but the Bible does not give a specific date as to his birth. Let me say that again: There is no evidence that Jesus was born on December 25th, or even in the winter season at all.

Christmas started out as a pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice, which is where most of our popular Christmas traditions come from. Much later on, Christian leaders combined their celebration of the birth of Christ with the already well established pagan winter holiday celebrations to please the people. The people could keep their pagan celebrations while adding in a dash of Christian doctrine. The combination of Christ’s birth and the Winter Solstice celebration is a prime example of Christianity taking over pagan holidays to make the public more accepting of their religion. I have met many Christians who don’t celebrate Christmas for this very reason. In times past, it was generally accepted that Christians should not celebrate Christmas because of its pagan origins. So why are some Christians upset that Christmas isn’t being promoted the way they want? It was never their holiday to begin with; it was pagan long before Jesus’ birth was added. At the very least it’s equally pagan and Christian. But many selfishly want to claim it as ONLY theirs. This is grossly unfair and ignores the very clear historical roots of this holiday. 

In summary: Starbucks can do whatever they want with their cups. It is not a slight against Christians, nor is it a “War on Christmas”. It’s simply a business opting to not promote one specific winter holiday, but instead remaining neutral and celebrating holiday cheer in general. Given the diversity of their customers in regards to beliefs and holiday celebrations, I think this was a very good call.

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Happy Thanksgiving and National Coming Out Day!

Happy Thanksgiving and National Coming Out Day!

  
Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends! 

I’m thankful for many things, but today I’m especially thankful for National Coming Out Day, which is also today. 

Coming out as LGBTQ, as an atheist, and/or as anything else seemed especially controversial within our circles is not easy. Many of us have lost friends and the respect of people we care about because of our openness and honesty, or worse. But hiding who we are to make others happier or more comfortable isn’t healthy, nor is it fair for people to ask it of us. 

We need to support people when they come out. Not supporting them means we are being silent and absent when they need us the most. 

Coming out takes a lot of courage and often they are rewarded with negativity and bullying, abuse and assault, or being disowned. Many have tragically been murdered after coming out. LGBTQ youth and adults make up a huge portion of the homeless population because in the U.S. it’s so common for them to be thrown out of their homes, or for them to be discriminated against in the housing and job markets. More than half of transgender people have faced attempted or successful physical violence just because of who they are. 

This is no joke; being LGBTQ, especially in the U.S., greatly increases a person’s chances of being treated violently and cruelly. And even if they don’t face violence, they face rampant discrimination and social injustices. Marriage equality has only addressed part of the problem. 

Let’s be supportive allies, friends, and loved ones. Let’s stop judging and assuming and open our hearts to people who are different than us. We need to see them as human beings, not enemy combatants in a culture war of our own making! Let our compassion lead our attitudes and actions, whether that compassion stems from religion or spirituality, humanism or feminism, or whatever. Love and acceptance is what’s important, not creeds or dogmas or labels or political affiliations. 

And above all we need to listen. We need to hear their real stories, not the ones we create in our heads for them as though we know their journey better than they do. 

Although my coming out experiences have been far from pleasant, I wouldn’t change it because being openly myself is far better than hiding to please others. I am me- you are you. We can live in peace if we try. 💕