Glen Burnie High School's Student Newspaper

The Burrow

The “War on Christmas”

Danielle Schmidt, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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The outrage over Starbucks holiday cups is back and the general public is just as done with the ordeal as they were last year. 

The controversy over the ‘secular design of the cup is sparking outrage among many Christians in the United States who are claiming that Starbucks is waging a war on Christmas by removing previously used symbols such as the Christmas tree and Santa. Despite the backlash, Starbucks is quick to defend their choice of using a simple red and green design devoid of any religious symbols with a primary Starbucks cup designer saying that their company “wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.” Surely the promotion of an all inclusive holiday spirit should be more important than claiming persecution over an irrelevant change in the design of cup. 

 But is Starbucks trying to pick a fight with Christians as many people believe or are they simply trying to appease a larger demographic as any profit-driven company would? 

According to a Pew research study, Starbucks’ decision is well advised, concluding that the number of Christians in the United States is declining while the number of “unaffiliated” citizens and people of non-Christian faiths is growing. The Pew research team published their findings with extensive data on the changing face of American ideals and the statistics record a 7.8% drop in the number of people who identify as Christian (78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014) while a 6.7% increase can be seen in the number of people who identify as religiously unaffiliated (16.1% in 2007 to 22.8% in 2014) and a small 1.2% increase in the number of people who identify with a non-Christian faith (4.7% in 2007 to 5.9% in 2014). This change to a more secular life is being felt, for the most part, amongst young adults aged 18 to 24, the demographic of which accounts for more than 40% of Starbucks’ total revenue. Theoretically, this change to a more secular branding technique should pay off for Starbucks but the extremely adverse reaction from the –rather sensitive- public has taken this very small change to astronomical proportions in a very negative way.  

Furthermore, while Starbucks is being shunned for its attempt to widen the humanity circle by resorting to a minimalistic design, Dunkin’ Donuts is being praised for its festive holiday cups adorned with the word “joy” surrounded by pine tree branches… that –like the Starbucks cups- don’t seem to have anything to do with religion either. Yet, Starbucks is the only company being boycotted by Christians for their lack of recognition. 

Although this negative talk about Starbucks has been promoted by pastors and ministers, most prominently by self proclaimed social media personality, Joshua Feuerstein, there are many Christians out there who oppose this backlash like Benjamin L. Corey who sums up the entire debate saying that “if you want to keep Christ in Christmas, get out there and love people radically.” 

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Glen Burnie High School's Student Newspaper
The “War on Christmas”