The dominant coffee giant Starbucks, which uses cups embossed with the image of a pagan Norse seductive siren, is generating outrage over its choice of a plain red holiday cup this year as some—including Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has announced that he will be ending Starbucks’ Trump Tower lease over the matter—are claiming that the lack of decor serves as an attack on their religious beliefs and an offensive opposition to Xmas.
A video by Joshua Feuerstein, who formerly identified as a pastor and is now an event speaker, recently went viral as Feuerstein complained about the plainness of Starbucks’ holiday cups. Cups in years past included images of snowflakes or ornaments.
“Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus,” he wrote in his accompanying status, “so I pranked them.”
In the video, Feuerstein explains that when he was asked for his name so that it could be written on the cup, he replied, “Merry Christmas.” He urged his 1.8 million followers to do the same to “trick” the company into recognizing the holiday.
Others chimed in with their support of the idea, and as of press time, the post has generated almost 500,000 shares.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump also made comments about the matter Monday night, stating that he would no longer lease his Manhattan tower to the coffee company over the issue.
“No more ‘Merry Christmas’ at Starbucks. No more,” he stated during a campaign rally in Illinois. “Maybe we should boycott Starbucks. I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care. By the way: That’s the end of that lease. … If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you. Unbelievable.”
Starbucks has now released a statement surrounding the controversy, outlining that the company isn’t avoiding the holiday, but decided to keep their cups simplistic this year.
“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,” the company wrote. “Starbucks will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world.”
“Starbucks has become a place of sanctuary during the holidays,” added Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of design and content. “We’re embracing the simplicity and the quietness of it. It’s more open way to usher in the holiday.”
However, some find it futile to seek to force Starbucks to honor Christ—being a secular company whose logo, according to mythical legend, features a pagan mermaid whose seductive sounds attract sailors to their death. Starbucks, whose CEO Howard Schultz said in 2013 that those opposed to the company’s support of homosexuality are free to sell their shares if they are unhappy with how boycotts effect their stock, also generated controversy last year when it released a homosexual-themed commercial featuring male crossdressers.
Some likewise find the outrage over the lack of the decor on the cups to be foolish, or note that the holiday has pagan roots anyway, which motivates some Christians to decline participation in the celebration.
“Freaking out about plain red cups does nothing to bring people to Jesus,” writes Brady Cone of the West Institute. “Not only is [having the barista write ‘Merry Christmas’ for your name] obviously lying, and so childish, but does nothing to lead the barista closer to Christ. If anything, it hardens them to the gospel because they see how foolish Christians are.”
“We have way larger problems to worry about in the world: world hunger, terrorism, genocide, human trafficking, millions of people who don’t know the name Jesus. Lets focus our time, energy, and anger on something that matters,” he continues. “[L]et’s focus on what God has called us to do: make disciples.”