The Starbucks “war on Christmas”: Christmas is kind of a tough enemy to defeat
From my latest for the Wall Street Journal:
Sorry, but even that plain red cup color has a religious meaning
Still, it is worth noting how quickly progressive journalists, bloggers and Twitter-philes rounded themselves up into a herd to trample Mr. Feuerstein and his red-cup campaign. They posted photos of “Hail Satan” scribbled on the cups and mocked the outcry as “phony” (the Washington Post’s Petula Dvorak) and a “right-wing freakout” by “deeply Christian insane people” (the Daily Kos).
The liberal backlash has been so nasty that it’s hard not to suspect Mr. Feuerstein and his allies are onto something—maybe the left really is trying to weed out religious microaggressions wherever it finds them.
But Christmas is a difficult enemy to defeat. One reason is that the supposedly secular and whimsical elements of Christmas—the ornaments and snowflakes—have always been deeply intertwined with the religious. During the Middle Ages, poets described lavish Christmas feasts at King Arthur’s court, and carolers sang about the boar’s head and seasonal greenery. You can sue the crèche out of the public square, and you can demand that everyone say “Happy Holidays”—but the religious residue will linger, warm and glittery enough to entice even the ardently nonreligious to buy Christmas trees and line up their children to sit on Santa’s lap.
Even that supposedly unadorned Starbucks cup still has a religious connotation: Red is a Christmas color because it is the shade of the holly berry, associated with Christmas and its theological meaning since at least the 15th century. As one carol has it: “The holly bears a berry, / As red as any blood, / And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ / For to do us sinners good.” Order a latte at Starbucks, and you will be honoring, even in attenuated fashion, the infant who was brought into this world to shed his blood for human redemption.
Posted by Charlotte Allen