The latest War on Christmas: The Battle of Starbucks

November 11, 2015 • 10:00 am

I’ve deliberately neglected the latest bout of Christian whining about the War on Christmas, as this happens annually, and this year it’s incredibly trivial. You’ve surely hear about this already, so I’ll be brief. In October, Starbucks revealed its holiday cup design: a classy red number with a green Starbucks logo. Although I don’t patronize that overpriced emporium of coffee, I have to admit the cups look nice.

The 2015 Christmas cups: small, medium, and large (I refuse to use those Italian names that Starbucks has to make the coffee sound classier).

But because the cups didn’t show Jesus or Christmas trees, or even said “Merry Christmas,” a man named Joshua Feuerstein, a self-described former preacher and social media personality, posted the video below on his Facebook page, urging readers to revolt, putting Christian messages on their cups and leaving messages at the Twi**er page #MerryChristmasStarbucks. Further, the ever-reliable Useful Idiot Donald Trump suggested that maybe Americans should boycott Starbucks, said he’d end the lease of Starbuck’s in Trump Tower (NYC), and added, “”If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you. That I can tell you.”

Here’s Feuerstein’s video; be sure to watch to the end:

At first Christians responded en masse (they’re getting as easily offended as many Muslims!), but now, if you go to that Twi**er page, you’ll find a lot of mockery—another sign that Americans are getting sick of the hegemony of faith. Here’s one tw**t:

And a newer site, #Itsjustacup, arose to mock the other one. Lots of LOLs there; here’s one:

Further, someone has bought the domain and diverted it to another purpose; go have a look.

Finally, reader Pliny the in Between has satirized on his/her site, Evolving PerspectivesHow many readers recognize where the title comes from?

Da daa daa daa da Da DA DAT DA DAA!


These offended Christians almost appear to see themselves as persecuted martyrs, akin to those Christians who supposedly were eaten by lions in the Coliseum (something, by the way, that probably didn’t happen). Maybe if they just kept their faith to themselves?

132 thoughts on “The latest War on Christmas: The Battle of Starbucks

    1. That doesn’t sound sufficiently religious to me.

      Is the wreath supposed to be a symbol of triumph (like Roman emperors used to wear) or a symbol of death (‘cos Baby J is deader than a parrot)?

      As for ‘joy’, that sounds vaguely hippie, possibly drug-induced.

      The Joyful Dead. Sounds like a rock band.


    1. Well it only makes sense to have it start before Remembrance Day, so that we can honor the fallen. Like Kim Davis, and, ummm, you know, all those other ones.

      1. “I love the smell of facepalm in the morning.”
        Very good, and extremely coincidental. I almost added “I love the smell of burning Christians in the morning” to my original post, but then I thought better of it because some Christian would be sure to take it literally, or at least portray it that way if they understood the reference.

    1. What puzzles me is that there is hardly a war on Halloween. There is a palpable war on Thanksgiving (It’s a celebration of the initial stages of genocide! versus No! It’s a uniquely ‘Murican holiday! Leave it alone!)
      But why not have extended protests against the obvious devil-worship and witch-craft acceptance of Halloween on FOX news? They are slacking, I tell ‘ya.

        1. “I think Fox is leaving the War on Halloween up to overly sensitive college students.”

          Speaking for sensitive college student, “leaving Merry Christmas off the cups is obviously a microaggression”.

          1. But taking it off is offensive to Christians, so clearly the only thing for a multiculturalist to do is print something for every religion with a celebration in this time of year on the cup.

            Wait, that’s not multicultural enough – we’re leaving out non-religious winter celebrations. Wait, now we’re discriminating against the Southern Hemisphere, so the cup must also have all possible summer celebrations. Wait, now we’re discriminating against those with different calendars…

          1. Yes, some churches protest that the spooky themes of Hallowe’en (witches, etc.) are promoting the occult. These are the same people who won’t let their kids read “Harry Potter.”

      1. There was a war on Halloween when I was a kid; it fell on a Sunday and they made us go out on Monday night because it made Jesus cry or something.

        War on Halloween!!

      2. Hmmm are you thinking of Columbus day? That gets attacked for being colonialist and insensitive all the time, but I’ve never heard anyone attack Thanksgiving the same way. Though I did appreciate the Adams’ Family II send up of it, where the (children playing the) natives roast the (children playing the) pilgrims. One of the highlights in an otherwise very poor movie.

  1. Of course, the older cups with candy canes, reindeer and snowflakes represent Jesus so much better.

    Some said, if Feuerstein said his name is “Merry Christmas” to put on his cup, others might say “Jesus B. Satan” is their name or “Mary Fakevirgin”, etc.

  2. When will Starbucks finally render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s? I’ve read they pay very little tax.

  3. Although I don’t patronize that overpriced emporium of coffee, I have to admit the cups look nice.

    Wait — Starbucks serves coffee? News to me.

    Yes, they serve some brown liquids, but I’ve yet to see any evidence that they actually sell coffee.


    1. I marched in the green apron army all through college. I used to think that sbux coffee was great stuff. Thankfully a local French cafe and a woman serving cafes con leche at an espresso bar in a gas station (and they’re totally legit) named Grandma Rosa disabused me of that very foolish opinion.

      1. Perfect summary: bad burnt beans.

        And it’s likely why nobody ever just buys a cup of coffee from Starbucks…they instead get some super-sweetened artificially-flavored concoction that includes the remnants of some organic matter that once contained coffee DNA.

        Actual coffee doesn’t need to be adulterated like that just to make it drinkable.

        And the good beans…well, each variety is (potentially) as distinct as apples are from pears are from blackberries, even though all those fruits are members of the rose family. You get some very fruity coffees from Africa, including some Ethiopian types that actually taste very much like blueberries…there’s a mokka from Maui that is very chocolaty…a Mexican coffee will be more reminiscent of what the artificial coffee flavors try to mimic, but it’s the real thing…

        …and the real fun comes from trying all sorts of stuff from a local roaster who’s constantly experimenting. In the Phoenix area, that would be Cortez Coffee in Tempe, just east of ASU…in a nondescript warehouse…with a few people who’re really, truly, passionate about coffee in particular and life and nature in general….


        1. The sad part is that it is actually true and not a joke. Starbucks also spent big money doing tea research, then didn’t go with it – so the Second Cup chain hired all their people and launched a tea. Now starbucks is playing catch up with a subchain called David’s Tea.

          1. I had no clue about that.

            If you want good tea…give the folks at Strand Tea a call:


            Mr. Strand is as passionate about tea as anybody on the planet, and he makes a point of buying from small and family-owned estates who use sustainable practices. And who care more about quality than quarterly shareholder profit-and-loss statements.


            1. I will have to get some from them. I am lucky to have friends who frequently return to China and Japan and bring me family farm stuff.

    2. Maybe I’m just not discriminating enough*, but the handful of times I’ve had Starbucks coffee I thought it was fine. On the other hand, my usual coffee when I’m out and about is McDonalds, so I guess just about any hot brown liquid with caffeine is good enough for me.

      *I’m the same way with beer. Sure I like ‘good’ beers like Guinness or St. Bernardus, but I’m fine with a Natty Light, too.

      1. If you’re willing to risk the fact that you might get turned entirely off of Starbucks…find somebody who’s a coffee geek, somebody who spends ten minutes or so just to make a cup, starting with grinding the beans. Get a good introduction, including some examples of truly good coffee.

        Your mind will (hopefully!) be expanded….


      2. I don’t like most “good” beers that I’ve had at all – I’ll tolerate them at best. But give me a Pabst Blue Ribbon out of a $5 6-pack, and I’m a happy man. 😉

        1. Well…to each his own, I suppose. If it tastes good, it is good.

          …I’ve just no clue how somebody could think that PBR tastes good…but that’s your problem, not mine….


          1. Genetics and addiction, mainly. We each start off with a slightly different set of taste buds. This is not just a quantitative difference but a qualitative one too; some of us simply lack the ability to taste flavor others can taste, and this changes our whole palate. (I’m a genetic broccoli-hater. Sorry, I just didn’t get the gene).

            Then on top of that, addiction to caffeine (or alcohol) works on your brain to make some tastes more pleasurable than others.

            That ability to distinguish between high quality and low quality beans, you’re so proud of Ben? Your ability to taste subtle flavors? Know where it comes from? That is what long-term addition does to the brain. “This is your brain on drugs.”

        2. As for bad beers, a long time ago the store where I bought beer had a “new Irish beer” in their imported beer section: Irish Red. I never watch TV so I had not seen any adds for it. So I bought a six pack, took it home and poured a glass. I took a sip and said (to myself) “This tastes like (completely testeless) f’ing Coors!” I read the label and so it was. I poured the whole six pack down the drain, secure in the knowledge that a little more water wouldn’t hurt any fish. Give me Dogfish Head IPA any day.

    3. Agreed. We have a local coffee chain around here, and every one of their coffees is superior to the equivalent from S.Bs. My drink is a hot Chai Latte. From our local chain: yummy. From S.B: it is spew.

    4. Their coffee is dreck. I usually get a Chai Latte, though I’m finding it a bit sweet. But, I use my own cup and get the discount for doing so because I feel guilty throwing away cups. So, if Christians want to bring their own Jesus cup, why don’t they?

      1. You remind me…several years ago I bought a vacuum-insulated thermos-like beverage container from them with a sippy cup lid. I do believe that still represents the significant majority of all the money I’ve ever spent in Starbucks in my entire lifetime. But it’s seen a lot of use!

        I’ve since moved from an Aeropress to a regular French press for brewing coffee, and I’m tending to use an actual Thermos-brand thermos to keep the coffee warm. But that Starbucks-brand whatever-it-is is absolutely perfect for Aeropress brewing — put the Aeropress on top of the not-a-mug and press straight into it, with everything being just the right dimensions.

        So: Starbucks sells excellent coffee cups, even if they can’t seem to brew a good cup of coffee if the fate of the Cosmos depended upon it.


  4. The whole thing has been very amusing, IMO. First the original Fuerstein rant. Then he gets owned on a live TV interview. Then he completely reverses his suggestion and tries to delete his original suggestion from the internet, which obviously doesn’t work. Then the whole purchase of his domain thing – quite well done, btw; kudos to the person who did it. At this point I think its pretty obvious that the adage “no such thing as bad press” doesn’t apply to him, since I can’t see all this attention as doing anything to him but reducing his long-term viewer numbers.

  5. I’m not able to read as many of Jerry’s posts these days, but I pop in occasionally to read ones whose headlines grab my attention on Twitter. This one did. What I like most about the post is Jerry’s interjection of his own views on Starbucks’s priciness and cup-size naming conventions. I depart from Jerry, though, biased by my chosen city of residence, Seattle – where I greatly enjoy my daily doses of Starbucks, with all their obnoxious marketing.

    1. My son lives in Seattle and he says there are several coffee places that are far better than Starbucks, including one almost next-door to the original Starbucks. He took me to a couple of them when I visited and they were superb.

      1. @BobTerrance: Do doubt there are some fine-tasting coffees here, but the familiarity and availability of Starbucks everywhere I need to be makes them my default. The Fred Hutch serves Starbucks, as do the places at the University of Washington where I find myself. There you go: routine and ease trump refined taste, though if better-tasting coffees were as available to me as Starbucks, I’m certain my choices would meander in their direction. And if I found one that tickled my tastebuds, I’d order it and brew it at home and take it with me in my coffee-designated hydro flask. Let me know if you or your son recall the names of outstanding coffee places/types here. Would be a shame to miss out due to ignorance and my addiction to the familiar 🙂

        1. I asked him, but he is too busy at work right now and said “too many to name”. My daughter-in-law was working for Fred Hutch in vaccine research.

          1. What’s funny is that my response might be exactly what your son’s was if someone asked me to recommend a coffee place here. (What’s certain is that I wouldn’t say Starbucks, as that can be gotten anywhere.) Coffee is so integral to Seattle that I don’t think about it and can’t recall having any I didn’t like here.

            Small world about your daughter-in-law’s work stint at the Hutch! I probably never met her, but it’s a small enough place that I could have seen her on the campus, if the years lined up.

      2. @BobTerrace: Forgive the added -n- to your name in my other response to you. It was a coffee-induced typo. As was the -Do- for -No- in “Do doubt”. In myself, I have noticed a inverse correlation between coffee intake and proof-reading skill…

    1. I’d like to ask one of these clowns how there can be a War on Christmas, when stores start selling Christmas stuff in October. Christmas seems to be alive and kicking from where I sit.

  6. How many readers recognize where the title comes from?

    I do I do! (Hint: it’s from Star Wars.)

    Voltaire had a prayer that God would make his enemies ridiculous. It’s been answered so often I’m almost surprised some enterprising theologian hasn’t tried to turn it into an apologetic.

    1. I do I do! (Hint: it’s from Star Wars.)

      Not actually, but darned if it doesn’t work that way too! 😉

      1. Seems to me to be a rhythm from The Parade of the Tin Soldiers (Wooden Soldiers to some). Eh? Personally, I like Harry Connick Jr.’s arrangement.

  7. If you haven’t had the, mmmm, let’s call it the experience, of listening to Josh before, imagine a distilled essence of Strobel, Geisler, McDowell, Craig, et al.

    Then make it *much* less smart.
    Then make it more arrogant (no, really!).
    It’s truly awe inspiring.

    Do you suppose he thought through the whole concept of punishing Starbucks by encouraging people to go there and spend money?

  8. The War on Xmas is over here. Yule won the protracted skirmish despite xians encroaching on its territory. I think that is why we celebrate Dec 24.

    [I learned earlier this year that the 25th is supposed to be a precise dating of “J***’s birthday”. News to me, despite being familiar with the general idea. I remember how hard it was as a kid to learn that it was supposed to be connected to xianity, despite persistent Xian panoramas here and there, it was so diluted among other traditions including the German Yule goat-man.]

  9. Even the people on my Facebook feed who are normally Christmas warriors every year seem to have sensed that this one is going to make them look very bad. Most of these people, people I’ve seen rail about just this sort of thing in the past, are distancing themselves form this. In fact, they are taking it as an occasion to say, “This is ridiculous. See, Christians aren’t obsessed with perceived slights. It’s just some one nut.”

    Well, I guess that’s progress, of a sort.

      1. How ironic. A right wingnut produces a video to conjure up a controversy that doesn’t exist and Palin blames the media for covering it. Pure dead-brained right wing.

      2. Except for Trump, the Republican candidates have not jumped all over this, so I suspect you are right that this will not have a big impact as a war on xmas issue. Darn!

      1. From Wikipedia:

        This terminology came into use in the United States presidential election of 2000 on an episode of the Today show on October 30, 2000. According to AlterNet and The Washington Post, the terms were coined by journalist Tim Russert, during his televised coverage of the 2000 presidential election. That was not the first election during which the news media used colored maps to depict voter preferences in the various states, but it was the first time a standard color scheme took hold; the colors were often reversed or different colors used before the 2000 election.
        Since 2000, use of the term has been expanded to differentiate between states being perceived as liberal and those perceived as conservative. This reverses a long-standing convention of political colors where red symbols (such as the Red Flag or Red Star) are associated with revolutionary movements, and conservative movements often choose blue as a contrasting color.

  10. Starbucks will put Jesus on their coffee cups when churches put a bare-breasted virgin mermaid on their communion cups.

  11. Trump’s termination of Starbuck’s lease in Trump Tower on religious grounds, per public declarations, would be clearly unconstitutional. I think people should dare him to go through with his promise, or apologize.

  12. All these years I have been spelling the name of my country wronG! It is not ‘Merica, but ‘Murica.
    Smarter every day…

  13. To me it just seems unbelievable that anyone could put the time and effort into making a fuss about a cup. A coffee cup, for goodness sakes.

  14. There’s not a whole lot of mention of Jesus in either Charles Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” or in Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Ballet”, nor in the Christmas chapters of “Little Women” and “Wind in the Willow” nor in the numerous Christmas songs written by Jews, but I don’t recall Christian complaints about them.

    (You can find a list of TEN Christmas songs by Jewish composers here. They are mainly about snow. Don’t recall anyone accusing Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” of irreverence. )

    The famed Freethinker English composer Frederick Delius said
    ““I think the only improvement that Christ and Christianity have brought with them is Christmas. As people really then think a little about others. Otherwise….”
    (See full quote at Freedom from Religion Foundation
    and this is more or less my own view.
    (The easiest way to get me into a church on Christmas Eve is to either perform Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols” or Menotti’s opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors”.)

      1. The fundamental problem is that Xmas is associated with snow, at least in the Northern hemisphere, and snow is, unfortunately, almost uniformly white. (OMG, snow is racist!)

        Colored snow is rare, though yellow snow has been noted, usually on the morning after a Xmas party and sometimes with evidence of pathetic attempts to write names in it. The names are invariably male, so it’s sexist as well.

        All in all, snow is a micro-aggression all round.


  15. Hey Josh.

    The Second Amendment doesn’t preclude anyone from requesting you don’t carry a gun onto their private property(!!), not even in the most gun-friendly interpretations of the recent decade.

  16. Not having ever heard of or from Feuerstein, the whole vid sounded like a perfectly written parody of actual fundies. I guess you just can’t say something like this without sounding ridiculous, even when you’re earnest.

  17. Just look at the colors of those cups. Red! And green! Symbolic of communism and those trendy lefty tree-hugging save-the-whales greenies!

    Starbucks must *immediately* ditch those heathen designs and come up with a true Christmassy design in more appropriate colors like… errr… no, wait…


  18. I realize that I should have been angry at Starbucks for having snowmen and reindeer on their cups and passing it off as Xmas. Fucking people appropriating my northern culture.

    How are snowmen and reindeer Christian – stop taking our culture, Christians! It’s for everybody not just you!!

      1. Off topic factoid, but I’m reading Domesticated right now and the book mentions that reindeer were actually one of the first animal species widely domesticated by humans. They used to be freaking everywhere during/after the last ice age and reindeer bones are found in paleolithic sites across the globe.

        So more power to the reindeer! They weren’t originally just a Sami thing; they were a human thing, and far more important to the rise of humanity than most of us thought or knew.

    1. As we all know, Santa Claus, reindeer, Christmas trees and holly are intimately associated with Christmas and therefore Baby Jeebus. Indeed, my mental image of the nativity scene has snow all around the stable.

      Ummm. I suppose this casts yet more doubt on the location of Big J’s birthplace. Does Bethlehem ever get snow? (Or was it Nazareth? Whatever…)

      I dimly remember (before I realised I was an atheist and it was all BS anyway) being slightly puzzled by the anomaly, but as far as I was concerned, Santa was the guy that Christmas was really about because he brought presents. I think I might have been mildly annoyed that Jeebus was trying to muscle in on the occasion.


      1. They had a snowstorm in Bethlehem, Israel December 13, 2013. Israel does get them, but not very often and it doesn’t last very long.

      2. It’s even worse than that.

        You know how Christians like to make a big deal out of Satanism being obviously evil because everything in Satanism is upside-down, backwards, or otherwise inverted?

        It’s Christianity that’s the one that’s perverted like that.

        Every other agrarian culture celebrates the births of the various gods in springtime when all the flowers are blooming and the lambs are lambing and the rest. And they all do the death-and-resurrection thing in the dead of winter when the Sun finally starts returning northward.

        But Christianity?


        For Christians, they celebrate the birth of their death god just as the Sun is laying low in its grave and Ascending back to its celestial home; and Jesus’s deathly struggle and final departure from this mortal coil comes at the time when the Earth is reborn.

        Really, truly, honestly, you just can’t make this shit up.


        1. Well, it’s the other way round in the Southern Hemisphere.

          But fer chrissakes don’t tell your Xtians that or they’ll all bloody come here. 🙁


  19. So the snowflakes are offended by Charbucks taking snowflakes off their cups? I’m shocked, shocked to discover that some people think such trivial things are important! I think my espresso is far better than Charbuck’s but it the xian snowflakes keep this crap up, I might just go to my local Charbucks once!

  20. Are all places that sell coffee required to have “Merry Christmas” on their cups, or just Starbucks? If they don’t put “Happy Hannukah” on their cups, does that mean that they’re anti-semites? Is it racist not to put “Happy Kwaanza” on a cup?

  21. Well, I’ve waged a lifelong war of micro-agressions towards Xtians by gratuitously and wantonly never mentioning Jesus or God. But strangely, and somewhat disappointingly, they never seem to notice.

    The only time I call a truce in the war is when for example I drop a very large rock on my foot; curiously enough, they do sometimes notice my temporary cessation of never-mentioning-Jesus, but it doesn’t seem to please them as much as one might expect.

    Ah well, time to start a campaign against the Zoroastrians, I think. I shall not-mention Zoroaster for a whole month and see if I can’t at least provoke a Youtube video.


    1. Technically you should not mention Ahura Mazda. Zoroaster was the name of the prophet who wrote it all down and AFAIK Zoroastrians don’t see him as conversationally off-limits the same way, say, Muslims view Mohammed.

      Ahura Mazda is their god; that’s the one you should be not-mentioning except when you drop something on your foot. Of course then people might wonder what you have against Japanese automobiles.

      1. “… and AFAIK Zoroastrians don’t see him as conversationally off-limits the same way, say, Muslims view Mohammed.”

        And yet, you meet so few kids named Zoroaster…

      2. We actually have two Mazdas, and very good they are. The wife’s one is a Tribute (that sounds all religi-thingy doesn’t it?), same as a Ford Escape actually. Monstrous great thing by my standards. Think I’ll name it Ahura.


    2. You just triggered a memory–I used to date a Zoroastrian. Oddly, this is the first time it’s occurred to me that that was a bit unusual; for a USian, anyway.

  22. And the dupes haven’t noticed that Starbucks’ famous logo is some sort of pagan goddess with a star-crested-crown…Venus perhaps? Being at war on Christmas is just the beginning of their blasphemy! And they also offer employee benefits and don’t start workers at minimum wage. Definitely not a bastion of Christian values and benevolence.

    1. Its very apt that a Pagan Goddess adorns the cup,seeing as Xmas is a Pagan Holiday anyway and getting more Pagan by the year.

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