Yet more hysteria from cultural Christians about the slights of the wider culture. Mark Bauerlein explains that Christians should avoid Starbucks because of its neutral red cup. First he quotes the press release from Faith Driven Consumer:
Brands are in a race to attract consumers and earn their business this Christmas. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are both free to design their cups and express their values as they see fit. By creating cups that specifically message the Joy of the Christmas Season—in sharp contrast to Starbucks’ ‘blank canvas’—Dunkin’ Donuts has specifically welcomed Faith Driven Consumers, and all Americans who love Christmas. The BUYcott is working—do business with brands that embrace and celebrate you, and those businesses will respond. We congratulate Dunkin’ Donuts for their decision and will loudly encourage our community to reward them.
Doesn’t this actually suggest that Christians can be bought, that large-scale companies can manipulate the faithful into increased profits merely by supplying a few atmospherics to merchandise? Do Christians really want to be perceived as that gullible?
Or that sensitive?
The media are already ridiculing the whole thing as absurd oversensitivity. A silly critique by a journalist at Atlantic Monthly concludes, “Starbucks’s decision to make plain red cups is less an erasure of Christian values than a neutral design choice that also happens to reflect a solid understanding of the company’s diverse audience.”Yes, of course, the absence of all Christian elements from a holiday cup isn’t an “erasure of Christian values.”
When people make arguments that come down to “A is not A,” you know where the truth lies. Starbucks wants to celebrate the holiday without acknowledging its historical reality as a holy day. It wants to keep Christmas, but make it for everybody whether they believe in Christ or not. You don’t have to be a Christian to recognize the duplicity.
Why wouldn’t it be better for Christians, especially all those urban hipster ones who buy Tim Keller’s books, to be known as — well — discerning? Why not avoid Starbucks because it is the McDonald’s of “high end” coffee? The nation’s cities have many small and serious coffee shops — many with free wi-fi — that beat Starbucks on taste, atmosphere, and scale.
Thankfully, here in Hillsdale County I don’t need to worry about avoiding Starbucks. The company understands that this county’s 8,000 residents are an insufficient market for its high-priced, burnt coffee which is only available to patrons who have the patience to wait while people order milkshakes that sometimes have an additive of espresso.
Plenty of good reasons exist for avoiding Starbucks. Most are not inherently Christian.