Starbucks’ decision to remove Christmas-themed decorations from its winter cups this year continues to whip up fury.
After evangelist Joshua Feuerstein, an “American Evangelist,” posted a video that went viral, calling for a #merrychristmasstarbucks campaign, others made calls for a boycott of the coffee chain and their now-solid-red cups.
Presidential hopeful Donald Trump then rekindled the flames of anger on Monday night during a campaign rally in Springfield, Illinois.
“Maybe we should boycott Starbucks. I don’t know,” he said.
But the mainstream and social media have played up this campaign into something bigger than what it is, according to some Christian leaders in the city.
“I really do believe that this is a minority response,” said associate pastor, Charlene Han Powell, 32, who helps lead services at the progressive Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. “The people I work with in the church, all of us have collectively responded that this is ridiculous,” Powell said, adding that the media coverage this issue has received does not accurately portray or represent the Christian community.
Brian Birdsall, executive director at the Christian Embassy at the United Nations, said the whole flap shows that some Americans are “too easily offended.”
“Starbucks as an enterprise is free to do what they do. This whole offense mongering business is just inappropriate,” Birdsall said.
The media coverage that has been given to the protesters is heavily skewed. Most internet searches for #merrychristmasstarbucks retrieved results poking fun of the campaign. Many have posted pictures of satanic drawings onto the red cup.
“If your biggest concern is the lack of ‘Merry Christmas’ on a Starbucks cup…You are not being persecuted. #MerryChristmasStarbucks,” wrote Twitter user @KateyHoffman.
Jim Black, the ministry director of the Christian Union’s branch at Columbia University, said that most responses he’s read on the hashtag campaign were amusing.
“The vast majority of people on social media are saying ‘why are we speaking up about it?’ It’s becoming somewhat comical,” Black said. He added that the focus on the protesters in the media might lead others to making “rash judgments” about what Christianity represents.
“We don’t need Starbucks mugs to let us know Christianity’s role in society,” he said.