I’ll Tell You Exactly What I Think of Starbucks and Their Red Cups
Last week the country flipped out over the decision by Starbucks to use red cups for Christmas this year. Accusations of religious persecution and limiting free speech abounded as self-proclaimed Christians blasted Starbucks for the red cup design. Social media lit up and arguments got heated as “offended” people made their feelings known.
Despite employees saying that Starbucks has never prohibited them from saying “Merry Christmas,” some urged patrons to tell their barista their name was “Merry Christmas” so they would have to write it on the cup and say it. Hilarity and absurdity ensued from there.
Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed as Christians reminded us all that they were there to get a cup of coffee, not be evangelized or reminded of the true meaning of Christmas. Some even cautioned us from expecting a secular organization to act religious or in any way celebrate Christmas in a biblical way. Good advice.
I don’t spend a dime at Starbucks and it has nothing to do with the fact that they have red cups or that I don’t drink coffee. I don’t spend a dime at Starbucks because the company very publicly supports marriage redefinition and does not support the right of business owners to live and do business according to their religious convictions. (See this article about Starbucks supports same-sex “marriage” or this one where they air an ad featuring drag queens.”
So, my question to my Christian friends upset over the color of their coffee cup is: could your anger be misplaced?
For those Christians upset over the way Starbucks chooses to celebrate Christmas, why have you never been upset over the way they “celebrate marriage”? It seems to me that if you are going to expect the company to do Christmas in a way that matches your religious conviction that you would also want them to do marriage in the same way? So why no outrage over their blatant support for same-sex “marriage” and all things homosexual?
We all know money talks. It’s what makes the world go ‘round. So where we spend our money becomes a very powerful statement. When we spend money in a place that openly opposes a core conviction of our faith we tell them that we don’t really have strong convictions. You know, they’re more like suggestions. Spending money at Starbucks despite their vocal support of marriage redefinition tells the company that as Christians we don’t really believe what we say we believe.
Now, I know what some will say: “I can’t know how every company spends their money.” I agree with that. There’s no way to know what our mortgage company, electric company, cell phone carrier and others are supporting and doing with the money we give them. But there’s two big differences in these cases.
Difference #1: Some expenses are necessary, others are not. I have to pay my mortgage and my electric bill. I don’t have to get my coffee at Starbucks. Making the choice to get something unnecessary at a place that opposes my religious convictions is hard to defend.
Difference #2: Starbucks is open, public about their support of marriage redefinition. I have no doubt that some companies quietly support same-sex “marriage.” There’s not a whole lot I can do about that so spending money at these companies becomes another issue altogether. But Starbucks very loudly, proudly supports homosexuality. This is like a warning sign for me.
Others will disagree with me and say “I don’t expect a secular organization to behave like Christians.” I don’t either. I expect Christians to behave like Christians by refusing to support companies that publicly oppose our religious convictions. I’m not saying Starbucks can’t support homosexuality. I’m wondering why Christians support a place that opposes our beliefs. And before anyone says “I’m showing them Jesus,” just stop. Don’t.
One tool that can help Christians be more discerning about where we spend our money is Faith Driven Consumer. This company seeks to educate Christians on which companies are friendly to our religious convictions and which are hostile. The goal is produce socially aware consumers that spend money at places that appreciate (or at least don’t oppose) our religious convictions. I’m sure some will question this idea and wonder whether there is any use in being judicious in our spending. But consider what one article said about Faith Driven Consumer’s mission:
“It’s hard to blame corporations for responding to incentives. Their goal is to make profits. Period. And if the Left is effectively nudging them to adopt certain policies, and the Right is not, they will take the path of least resistance every time.”
I couldn’t agree more. The left is pushing hard for companies and corporations to adopt certain policies that align with their agenda. If Christians did the same I believe we would see a great deal of social change in our country. If we have no desire to at least request that companies consider our religious convictions we can be sure that those who oppose them will push harder and harder. With no opposition from conservatives and Christians we can only expect our culture to move farther left.
Just to be clear, this is not a Gospel issue. We are not talking about somehow using our money and purchasing power to spread the Gospel. That mission was given by Jesus to every believer and has nothing to do with money. What we are talking about is using our money and purchasing power wisely. By being discerning consumers we can put our money in the hands of those that not only respect our religious convictions, but might actually help share the Gospel; instead of in the hands of those that will use the money to oppose our beliefs. How is that not a good idea?
It’s not my job to tell people where to spend their money; that’s between them and God. But it seems to me that part of being a good steward with what God has given us is supporting places that don’t openly oppose our religious convictions. When we vote, we don’t vote for the person that we disagree with – we vote for the person we support because we have the same ideas. When we spend money we are either supporting those with whom we agree – or those with whom we disagree. It makes a difference.
Just in case you were wondering who the worst faith-friendly companies were, Faith Driven Consumer has released their annual rankings. A recent article reports:
“According to the Faith Equality Index — which measures which brands are the most and least likely to cultivate Bible-minded buyers by ranking each company on a scale from zero to 100 — the lowest-ranked businesses are as follows: T-Mobile (19), Apple (19), AT&T (17), Microsoft (17), Pfizer (16), Nationwide (16), Expedia (15), DirecTV (14), Bank of America (11) and Unilever (11).”