The red cup crisis; or how we got worked up over a lie

red cup crisisRed cups.

That’s what we are offended by this week.

Towards the end of last week, a video of an angry dude with a beard started getting shared on Facebook. In it, he claimed Starbucks hated Jesus and therefore took the word Christmas off their annual holiday cups. On Friday night the video had been seen over six million times. By midday Saturday almost ten million. By Saturday night it was trending nationally.

There’s only one problem with the video and its message:

It was based on a lie. 

There's only one problem with the #merrychristmasstarbucks message: It's based on a lie. Click To Tweet

Starbucks did not take Christmas off their cups because Starbucks never actually had Christmas on them in the first place.

In the past there have been drawings of snowflakes, tree ornaments, reindeer, snowmen, and other winter or holiday symbols on the cups.

But never the word “Christmas.”

So how can Starbucks show their hate of Jesus by taking Christmas off their holiday cups if it was never there to begin with?

Beyond that, Starbucks hates Jesus so much that they’re still selling gift cards with “Merry Christmas” on them along with Advent calendars.

They sure do hate Jesus don’t they?

When I posted about this issue on Facebook, there were two types of responses:

1) Christians who were annoyed at the Offended Church of American making such a big deal about something so trivial.

2) Christians who were offended because they remember when America was a “Christian nation” where something like this would never happen.

The people in the second group were so quick to jump on a trend without knowing the facts because they are still dreaming of a country that doesn’t exist anymore. It’s a sad reality, but America is no longer a “Christian nation.”

Consider these facts:

  • Nearly 23% of the population considers themselves religiously unaffiliated.
  • 55% of people born after 1965 say religion (of any sort) is not very important in their lives.
  • Less than half (45%) of people identifying as Christian attend a worship service every week.
  • 37% of those identifying as Christian attend a worship service a “few times a year or less.”
  • Almost half (49.6%) the population attends a worship service “a few times a year or less.”
  • Less than 30% of those born after 1965 regularly attend a worship service of any religion.
  • Only 42% of Americans have had “mostly positive views of religious institutions.”

If we expect things to be a certain way, it’s easy to be offended when reality doesn’t match our expectations. We do it in relationships all the time.

We are at a point as a culture where we have two options:

Accept the truth of where our country is as a post Christian nation

or

Continue holding on to a reality that doesn’t exist anymore.

If we choose the second option, we are going to continue to be offended every time something that doesn’t line up with our beliefs happens. We’ll share angry videos devoid of facts eight million times because it fits the narrative we’ve written in our head. We will wish for the good ole days and be disappointed they aren’t around anymore.

However, if we choose the first option and accept the facts as they are, we can then move forward in trying to reach people for Jesus. If we know the landscape is different, we will be motivated to take the message of hope that changed our lives to a country that desperately needs it.

I don’t get offended when people choose to say happy holidays instead of merry Christmas because I don’t expect them to celebrate the birth of a savior they don’t follow.

I don’t get upset when football coaches get suspended for praying because I don’t expect non-praying people to be comfortable with people who pray.

And I don’t get upset when unChristian legislature gets passed because I don’t expect unChristian politicians to be guided by Christian principles.

For us to move forward and begin to make a real impact on those around us, we have to be true to our surroundings. We have to be willing to accept a truth that makes us sad and uncomfortable:

America is no longer a Christian nation.

But at least Starbucks doesn’t hate Jesus. 

America is no longer a Christian nation. But at least Starbucks doesn't hate Jesus. #merrychristmasstarbucks Click To Tweet

Say your prayers, take your vitamins, and enjoy your coffee.

Have a nice day.

-Jonathan

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