I wish I could be as popular as Joshua Feuerstein. The guy posts “selfie rants” from his cell phone to his Facebook page, and almost immediately, people get fired up, the video goes viral, and controversy arises. Right now, one of his videos is making the rounds across national press because Starbucks’ 2015 “holiday” cups do not specifically say “Merry Christmas” or “Jesus.” Going by Feuerstein’s logic, Starbucks “hates Jesus!” (that’s not a paraphrase – that’s his direct quote!). Feuerstein’s response was to “prank” them by telling the clerk that his name was “Merry Christmas,” forcing them to write the phrase on his cup. Man, do they hate that (another direct quote)….
Now, before we get into this, let me say straight up that I am a Christian. I am on staff at my home church as a worship leader. I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God, and to many of my friends, I may be considered ultra-conservative.
That being said, where do I begin?!
#1. I don’t own a single cup (coffee or otherwise) with “Emily” written on it. Going by Feuerstein’s logic, I hate my wife. I guess I better hurry and get an entire supply of cups with my wife’s name (as well as God, Jesus, my mother, my kids, and anyone else I love, since that’s obviously a major sign of love).
#2. Yes, you told them your name was “Merry Christmas” so they would write it on YOUR cup. This is the equivalent of a spoiled toddler getting the blue sippy cup instead of the red just so they stop crying. Are you really accomplishing anything with this, other than FORCING someone to conform to YOUR wishes? I don’t know about you, but if someone is going to tell me “Merry Christmas” (or “Happy holidays,” or “Have a nice day,” or “Here you go, NEXT!!”), I at least want it to be sincere, not forced.
#3. By using phrases like “they hate Jesus,” Feuerstein is intentionally using inciting language to enrage viewers into action. It’s the equivalent of clickbait – “How DARE they refuse to say “Merry Christmas?! They must HATE Jesus!!” Wow, that sounds extreme….let me watch this video.
#4. Joshua Feuerstein first gained notoriety by posting a video that claims to destroy evolution in 3 minutes. This video quickly went viral, giving Feuerstein a following on his Facebook page (and gaining some mocking attention from some atheists with YouTube accounts). No one took the time to acknowledge that the argument Feuerstein uses (dated May 23rd, 2014) actually came from a Mark Lowry routine from 2001. I wonder how Mark feels about having his routine ripped off in a 3-minute viral video….
#5. Did Starbucks put “Happy Hannukah” on their cups? Do their cups say “Happy Kwanzaa”? Heck, do they even say “Happy Holidays”?? Nope. Plain red cup. No wording of ANY kinds. They are taking the stance of “all or nothing,” and this is exactly why – because someone will ALWAYS complain!! And for the record, red is of the two traditional Christmas colors, so there’s that….
There is a video from a former Christian turned atheist who points out that Joshua Feuerstein seems to have the stereotypical “hip Christian” appearance and approach – backwards ballcap, beard, and loud, brash (some might call it obnoxious) voice. It fits in well with the “angry Christian” movement that is claiming that a paper cup is a form of persecution and that there is a “war on Christmas.” The problem with Feuerstein’s videos is that they are not really bringing glory to God so much as they are shaming the world (and gaining attention for Feuerstein himself). They carry an air of, “They should be doing what WE want!!!” Personally, if someone hates Jesus, then I’d be doing the best I could to LOVE that person rather than give them one more reason to hate Jesus….
Is there a “war on Christmas”? If so, it’s failing more miserably than the war on drugs. Go out on Christmas Day and find any major retailer that’s open. In most instances, all major businesses are closed. Do you get mail on Christmas Day? Nope. Ever go to the bank on Christmas day? Not a chance. They’re FEDERAL holidays, which means that the US Government RECOGNIZES Christmas as an official holiday. So much for THAT war, huh?
Finally….ever heard the phrase “any publicity is good publicity”? I guarantee that Starbucks is seeing an uptick in consumers this week, just so folks can go in and “prank” Starbucks into saying “Merry Christmas” (a full three weeks before Thanksgiving, mind you!!). Way to stick it to them, Josh!! Would’ve been easier to simply put a post up saying, “Starbucks won’t put ‘Merry Christmas’ on their cups, so I’m never going there again, and neither should you.”
But if he did that, then it probably would’ve have wound up in the New York Daily News…..