Friday, November 13, 2015

There Is No War on Christmas. I Promise.

Now that I have reassured myself that the fake man buns are not going to become a thing, at least among the 40+ age group in my FB feed, I feel I am ready to move on.

Seriously, I am loving blogging every day. I think I am going to try to continue. It's amazing how writing more = more things to write about.

I did want to write about the Starbucks cup "controversy." Yes, I put "controversy" in scare quotes because it really wasn't a controversy until people started reacting to it. And then it became an issue.  I hope you aren't completely sick of hearing about it--I do have a tendency to wait to jump on the bandwagon too late. In this case, earlier this week, I actually shared a thoughtful post by my friend Rocky Rudd and also a picture that stated, "If you want to keep Christ in Christmas, feed the hungry, cloth [sic] the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the stranger and the unwanted child, care for the ill, love your enemies."

I think that all of us, Christian or not, can agree that the best way to celebrate Jesus's birth would be to take care of the people He loves. Which, in case you haven't been paying attention, is everybody.

However, I did notice something after someone I don't know posted on The Demon Facebook that they hadn't seen any posts by Christians actually criticizing the red cup. Lots of posts admonishing other Christians to stop freaking out about the cup, but no actual freaking out.

It turns out that contrary to the "reporting" by the media, "Christians" as a group, or even enough of them to count as a significant minority, weren't up in arms about the cup at all to begin with. As I understand it, one former pastor who now makes videos on YouTube for a living threw a fit about the cup redesign then the media blew it out of proportion, and then we Christians started saying, "Everybody just shut up!"

I admit it. I broke my own rule by not researching the latest "controversy" before jumping in to comment. I've been a longtime user of since the days before social media when the latest urban legends circulated via mass email. (And yes, I have been that annoying person who sent a link to the whole group proving the scare tactics were groundless.) But this time, I think the reason many of us spoke up is that in the past, Christians have overreacted to Christmas marketing by retailers.

Remember the "War on Christmas?" Sheesh. That whole thing made me so mad. Just exactly how is an advertisement that says "Happy Holidays" waging war on Christmas? Whoever came up with that term, I salute you. You have the special gifts of hyperbole and fearmongering. Not sure why the Apostle Paul didn't include those in his list of spiritual gifts.

Look, retail stores have one goal and one goal only: to sell stuff. As a small business owner, I completely get that. You don't have to share our beliefs to become a customer of Village Cupboards. In fact, I'm pretty sure we would build your cabinets if you were a Satanist, as long as you pay on time and in green American dollars. (Although Justin might draw the line at constructing a sacrificial altar to the Evil One. I don't know, I'd have to ask him. We have a two-month waiting list right now, so even Satan would have to wait his turn.)

Wait, I got distracted amusing myself. My point (and I do have one) is that these stores, including Starbucks, are not waging war on anybody. It just makes sense that if there are some people who don't celebrate a holiday with religious connections, that the stores broaden their customer base to include more potential customers.

Besides, Christmas dominates all the other winter holidays already. Why do we have to insist on everyone saying "Merry Christmas?" We already have Christmas stuff appearing in stores the day after Halloween like poor Thanksgiving doesn't exist, like it's the middle child of the holidays (but that's another post for another time.) As talk show host Michael Medved said, it's a moot point:
the "War on Christmas" is over, and Christmas won.  

Let's be gracious about this, guys. I am so tired of people claiming that saying things like "Happy Holidays" or (gasp) "Happy Hanukkah" is persecution of Christians. What? No, it isn't. 

Let me clarify. Persecution is "a program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate people based on their membership in a religious, ethnic, social, or racial group" ( Have any of us been exterminated or subjugated based on our celebration of Christ's birth? Yeah, that's what I thought. Let me remind anyone who "feels persecuted" that no one is stopping you from saying "Merry Christmas." Most people of all faiths (or no faith) are fine with it. Personally, I am happy to take any cheerful holiday greetings because it's so awful when people are grim and horrible about shopping and driving around the holidays. 

Look, I get it, fellow believers in Christ, that it feels uncomfortable that the current culture doesn't subscribe to many of our beliefs. There was a time (now nostalgically known as the "good old days," aka the 1950s) when most of the dominant influences on our culture subscribed to Judeo-Christian values. We had our turn being in charge. Guess what? We still get to believe what we want to, and so does everybody else. That's the beauty of America! I admit to feeling uncomfortable when the smarmy "Christian" guy on the TV show always turns out to be a pervert. Sure, I don't like it when stereotypes are used to define a whole group of people, most of whom are kind and well-meaning, while a few bad apples are making the rest of the group look bad. I imagine a few other ethnic and religious groups have some experience with that kind of unfairness. It won't kill us to deal with some inaccurate portrayals of Christianity. We'll just have to try harder. 

So I was pleased to see that the only Christian response I saw to the red cups was, "So what, it's a cup." Now let's go and do what Jesus would actually do. It's a whole lot easier to click "Share" than to actually get out there and share food, clothes, and friendship with those who need them.

1 comment:

  1. I love this. I didn't jump in on the red cup controversy, fortunately, before finding out that it was mostly manufactured. I have heard Christians talk about being persecuted when they really mean disagreed with, and it bothers me, but not that many, and none of them were my friends. My Christian friends tend to be a very level-headed, kind and open-minded lot. I did have a friend of a friend accuse me of 'attacking' her on Facebook once (by stating why I have some problems with some religious institutions, and opining that kids at the Ottawa Christian School were probably NOT uniformly better people than the kids at the rest of Ottawa's schools), and good lord, I almost sprained my eyes from rolling them so hard.