It’s that time of year again. We used to complain about stores rolling out the Christmas carols and sales too early, but now we simply accept that they will replace the Halloween decorations just as winter replaces fall. Instead, we’ve begun monitoring retailers for transgressions against the religious exclusivity of the Christmas holiday.
This year, Starbucks is firing the first shots in the so-called War on Christmas. After years of celebrating the holiday season with cups featuring Christmas trees and reindeer, Starbucks chose to use a plain red cup this year. According to a statement from the coffee empire, the cup is meant to give customers a chance to be creative.
“Starbucks is inviting our customers to tell their Christmas stories in their own way, with a red cup that mimics a blank canvas,” the company said.
But according to Joshua Feurstein, a social media personality who started a viral backlash against the cups, this represents another sinister attack on Christians. “I think Christians are at a point that they are fed up with the PC police who are demanding that Christ and Christmas be removed from the public eye for concern that it might offend people,” he said in an interview with NBC. “This was never about boycotting a company, but rather making a statement that we refuse to be silent anymore.”
Never one to stay silent in the first place, Donald Trump weighed in on the controversy Monday night. Speaking at a campaign rally in Springfield, Ill., Trump said, “I have one of the most successful Starbucks in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks. I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care. By the way, that’s the end of that lease, but who cares?” He went on to promise that if we elected him president, “we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again.”
Can we just…stop for a minute?
It’s tempting to let these inane causes slide, because no conservative wants to feel like they’re betraying the movement. But in this case, the cause itself is the betrayal. And if we’re going to take potshots at every whacko thing liberals get worked up about, we have to guard our own door with even greater vigilance.
There is a War on Christmas, but it doesn’t have anything to do with red Starbucks cups. It was a war that was largely over by the time most of us were born. Bad news: Christmas lost. When we decided as a country to turn one of the most holy days on the Christian calendar into a consumer smorgasbord, we lost the right to complain about the religious sanctity of it all. Christmas in America now stands for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, presents, credit cards, bonus checks, TV specials, cookies, and blockbuster movies. Maybe we’ll make it to church. Maybe. But when it comes to making it to that sale, there’s no maybe involved.
Hey, and that’s fine. This isn’t about moralizing. You’re an American. You’re free to enjoy the holidays as you see fit.
But you can’t really have it both ways. You can’t treat Christmas like one big shopping spree and then get mad when the stores do the same.
Sadly, this is worse than just a trivial distraction or a non-issue. By falling into this tempting trap every year, we throw out a clear signal to the rest of the country: We will complain about anything that doesn’t precisely match our worldview, no matter how silly or insignificant. Thus, when the stakes are real – religious liberty laws, the destructive LGBT movement, abortion, the erosion of church and family – our concerns can be easily waved away. Oh yeah, weren’t you up in arms about a red cup last year? Right, right…
Let’s keep our eye on the ball.