Starbucks & the Spirit of Rome

Joshua Feuerstein has done it again.

He made a video about Starbucks’ red coffee cups. It was so ridiculous and ignorant I can’t even be angry about it. It was almost even funny.Feuerstein_Starbucks

He was piping mad (is he ever not?) because Starbucks removed the secular symbols of Christmas from their red and green (Christmas-colored) coffee cups. So he went to Starbucks and told the barista his name was Merry Christmas, to “force Starbucks” to write “Merry Christmas” on his cup.

His video comment described his actions thusly: “SO I PRANKED THEM … and they HATE IT!!!!”

No, Josh. You did not “prank” Starbucks by asking them to write “Merry Christmas” on your cup. And you bought a cup of Starbucks coffee. They do not hate it. They probably would’ve been delighted to write your name on the cup as “F**k you Richard Dawkins, God’s not dead!” as long as you keep buying their coffee.

What we have here is a classic case of projection: He is furious because he feels that Starbucks is excluding his religion, and he assumes that Starbucks would reflect that rage because he “tricked them” into recognizing it. They don’t. I’m sure of it.

Which reminds me of a story from the early days of Christianity.

In the Roman Empire, there were many cities with their own pantheon or local deity. Rome was fine with this. You respect my gods, I’ll respect your gods. If I’m in your city, I’ll even drop a little incense for your god and for Caesar (may he live long), and I expect you to do the same for me.

But the early Christians didn’t.

They refused to respect other people’s gods the way those other people felt their gods should be respected.

For this disrespect, the locals considered the early Christians traitors and atheists (they didn’t believe in the gods, after all!), and the Romans persecuted and imprisoned and executed the early Christians.

So in ancient Rome, we have one group of people who is not respecting the religions of others the way they think their religion should be respected (Christians), and another group of people who is unbelievably furious about it.

Likewise, in modern America, we have one group of people (Starbucks and the entire corporate world) who is not respecting the religion of others (Christianity) in the way they think it should be (prominently featuring the phrase “Merry Christmas” everywhere), and another group of people (Christians) who are unbelievably furious about it and trying to punish them for it.

The outrage over the make-believe “War on Christmas” is not the spirit of Christ.

It is the spirit of Rome.


About David M. Schell






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