Starbucks and the war on Christmas

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, November 12, 2015

By Pam Stone

It was Donald Trump, jumping into this whole Starbucks red cup thing that prevented me from keeping my pie hole shut. Because, really, I was going to ignore the whole thing, until…

“Maybe we should boycott Starbucks!” The Donald bellowed this week, along with, “When I’m President, we’ll all be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again, that I can tell you!”

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That’ll be an interesting piece of regulation to try and push through, I’m thinking.

If you haven’t heard (and if you haven’t, well done – it means that you spend little time involved in pop culture), this insanity began because Starbucks, which, incidentally, operates one of their franchises inside Trump Tower (awwkwaaard), decided this year just to serve their coffee beverages in a red cup with only their logo. No Christmas decorations, no wintry snow flakes, just, those heathens, a boring red cup.

“War on Christmas!” came the immediate cry of millions, to the point where a presidential candidate found great fodder in jumping on the bandwagon.

Pastor Emily C. Heath, a blogger, summed it up best, I think, with her recent post:

‘Apparently people are mad that the seasonal cups at Starbucks this year are just plain red. No mention of Christmas or Jesus at all. And, clearly that means that Christians are being persecuted. I mean, my faith is just destroyed if I don’t get my venti blonde roast with room for milk in a cup that features the name of my Lord and Savior.’

Ain’t she great?

I dislike when people become self righteous, and I’m about to, but if anyone feels a coffee company is out to purposely ignore Christian traditions, may it be pointed out to them that even ordering that $4 Egg Nog Latte from a company like Starbucks, whose percentage of certified fair trade product they carry is about 8 percent, is not very ‘Christian’ in the first place.

Because that means that the other 72 percent of product they sell is from farmers often forced to sell less than the cost of producing the crop, leaving them in, reports the Organic Consumers Association, a cycle of poverty and despair. Starbucks does contest the rest of their coffee is ‘ethically sourced,’ but by only their own in-house criteria – they pass no outside review.

So I am hoping any Christians that are offended by a plain red cup this holiday season are far more offended by the fact that coffee pickers, who are not part of fair trade practices, generally work in sweat shop conditions. That, for example, in Guatemala, a worker has to pick a quota of 100 pounds of coffee beans to earn his pay of $3 per day.

Per day.

That’s right. That worker, just one of half of all workers who are not paid minimum wage, in direct violation of Guatemalan labor laws, and is often forced to work overtime without compensation, despite working 12 hours, cannot earn enough to buy the single cup of coffee we simply must have while driving to work or grocery shopping.

These workers often bring their children to help, unprotected by child labor laws and subjected to the migrant lifestyle of neither safe housing, healthcare, or education, amid threats of violence, by employers, who demand more hours of toil.


Wonder if the cups they use to drink (from water sources also often used for bathing) have snowflakes printed on the sides of them?

So it seems to me, Donald, if there is indeed a war on Christmas or Christianity, it sure ain’t on the outside of a cup. It’s on the inside. And the willful ignorance and apathy of the ‘Golden Rule’ regarding the plight of those who suffer to bring it to us, our ‘neighbors,’ certainly has nothing to do with love.

At all.