#MerryChristmasStarbucks vs. #ItsJustACup

Posted on December 12, 2015 by


Is it just a cup or is it something to start a controversy over? On November 5th, Joshua Feuerstein, a former pastor, posted a video on Facebook that went viral. He claims Starbucks took Christ and Christmas off their cups and that’s why they are now plain red. This is the video that started it all:


Man may think Joshua is overreacting, others may think his outrage is totally understandable, and then there’s people like me who aren’t affected by it. It’s a cup to hold my coffee in and it doesn’t need to be more than that. Now I’ll share with you what side some websites have taken. Ellen DeGeneres pokes fun at the situation and brings up the topic during one of her shows saying, “The old cups had Santa’s Sleigh and elves. You know, all the things you find in the Bible.”

There are many articles that took the side of people over-reacting about the Starbucks cup. The first was an article on UPWORTHY. It states the purpose behind the plain red cups is to “create a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity.” We have to take a moment to think, not everyone around the world is Christian, and there are many people who aren’t even religious. So while Christians are getting offended by the plain red cup, maybe atheists were offended by the holiday cups they had previous years.

Another was CNBC. In their article it says “twitter users were quick to point out that neither Starbucks cup nor the Dunkin’ Donuts cup has ever had Christian symbols; instead both brands have created winter-themed designs.” This is where the hashtag #ItsJustACup came from. Starbucks remains to say the reasoning behind the plain red cup is for it to be a blank canvas for customers to doodle on and create their own stories. Which is an extremely reasonable explanation to it, thinking there’s no way you can offend a religion with a plain red cup.

Todd Starnes had an article on Fox News, and he made some very valid points. Todd stopped going to Starbucks years back because of said reasons. Yes he is a Christian and he still thinks Joshua and his followers are over reacting, “It’s really disappointing that folks don’t get their lattes frothed over more pressing matters – like the mass extermination of Christians in the Middle East or the raging war on religious liberty here in this country.” There are other things in this world to get worked up over rather than a cup.

Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol Palin, and Donald Trump had their opinion about the controversy in an article on NEWSMAX.  Bristol says, “Do not buy in to the media hype surrounding this story. It is just another attempt to make Christians look stupid.” Donald Trump also saying he might end the Starbucks’ lease he has in Trump Tower. NWESMAX being another article that takes #ItsJustACup’s side.

On CNN’s website they share that “Joshua Feuerstein, a former pastor who calls himself a “social media personality,” took exception.” Right there it clearly states that Joshua Feuerstein considers himself to be powerful when it comes to social media. Another quote from the article that Joshua wrote to CNN, “ “I think Starbucks has gotten the message that the Christian majority in this country has awakened and are demanding that our voice be heard,” he wrote. ” It’s almost embarrassing that he says the Christian majority. Goes back to what Bristol Palin said, “It is just another attempt to make Christians look stupid.”

Mercury News having an obvious side to the controversy when the writer said, “This all apparently started with ONE GUY in Arizona who posted a vid on Facebook about this alleged war on Christmas, which then got passed around cyberspace and picked up as a REAL AND IMPORTANT story by mainstream media, of which yours truly is sometimes ashamed to be a part.” He being another one who poked fun at the situation.

Huffington post was one of the few news websites that gave a neutral approach to the situation. It shared cases where people are upset with Starbucks and refuse to go back, and then cases where people couldn’t believe others would be upset over a cup. In the article they also posted Joshua’s video. They gave you the information of both sides and you chose for yourself what side you wanted to take.

World Religion News was another news website like the Huffington Post. It gave all the information about the controversy and then at the end stated, “The internet has responded with fury on both sides of the argument.”

USA Today made a statement that made the article neutral ” Starbucks said the unadorned cup allows customers to put their unique drawings and message on it, but some say it’s one more way that companies are stripping the Christmas message from the holiday season, besides the pictures swayed it to the over reacting side of things. There were tweets posted that all had the hashtag ItsJustACup.

Justin Worland writes an article for TIME magazine. The headline read, “Some Christians launched a viral campaign against the coffee company”. Justin states what Joshua said and then what Starbucks’ vice president of design and content had to say.

As you can see, many of the websites have taken the side of #ItsJustACup or have gone neutral. Depending what article you read may persuade you a certain way. At the end of the day, the cup doesn’t define the coffee that goes in it, so is it really a big deal? Starbucks is still selling advent calendars, ornaments, and Christmas blend coffee so they haven’t gone fully “anti-Christmas”. This will probably just be another controversy that everyone will forget about in a couple months.




Todd Starnes, “It’s a Starbucks coffee cup, America, not the Holy Grail,” Fox News, 11/9/15 http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/11/09/its-starbucks-coffee-cup-america-not-holy-grail.html

Justin Worland, “Why Some Christians Are Upset at Starbucks’ New Holiday Cups,” TIME, 11/8/2015 http://time.com/4104107/starbucks-holiday-cup-christians/

Jackie Wattles, “Starbucks’ plain red holiday cups stir up controversy,” CNN, 11/9/2015 http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/08/news/companies/starbucks-red-cups-controversy/

Mary Bowerman, “#ItsJustACup mocks Starbucks’ red cup controversy,” USA TODAY 11,11,2015 http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2015/11/11/itsjustacup-mocks-starbucks-red-cup-controversy/75563876/

Derek Welch, “Christians are Furious About Starbucks’ Red Cups While Others Say #ItsJustACup,” World Religion News, 11/10/2015 http://www.worldreligionnews.com/religion-news/christianity/christians-are-furious-about-starbucks-red-cups-while-others-say-itsjustacup

Angela Hill, “#ItsJustACup fires back at Starbucks’ cup controversy,” Mercury News, 11/12/2015 http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-living/ci_29104927/starbucks-cup-brewhaha-coffee-tea-or-meme

Hilary Hanson, “Some Christians Are Extremely Unhappy About Starbucks’ New Holiday Cups,” The Huffington Post, 11/10/2015 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/starbucks-red-cup-christmas-holiday-controversy_563f6e8fe4b0411d30715b15

Sarah Whitten, “Starbucks holiday red cup brews controversy on social media,” CNBC, 11/13/2015 http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/09/starbucks-holiday-red-cup-brews-controversy-on-social-media.html

Robbie Couch, “Ellen DeGeneres weighed in on the Starbucks cup controversy. And yes, she nailed it.,” UPWORTHY, 11/11/2015 http://www.upworthy.com/ellen-degeneres-weighed-in-on-the-starbucks-cup-controversy-and-yes-she-nailed-it

Cathy Burke, “Sarah Palin, Social Media React to Starbucks Controversy: ‘It’s Just a Cup’,” NEWSMAX, 11/11/2015 http://www.newsmax.com/US/sarah-palin-stabucks-red-cup-controversy/2015/11/11/id/701699/


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