Declaring war on everyone and everything is insulting to veterans, even Jesus
On Wednesday we celebrated Veteran’s Day. There were parades and ceremonies and all kinds of acknowledgements on social media. America resoundingly affirmed their collective appreciation and debt to those who have served in the armed forces. What we don’t seem to understand is that as heartily as we praise them, we thoughtlessly degrade them every time we refer to another meaningless controversy as a war.
It is very likely that by now you have heard about the non-controversy surrounding the holiday cups at Starbucks, and if you’re anything like me, you have to be asking, How is this even controversial? There are so many issues in our world that need our attention, and we’re losing our minds about a disposable coffee cup.
Since 1997, Starbucks has had Christmas themed cups every year. The traditional red and green Christmas colors have almost always been the focus, with designs ranging from small snowflakes, to tiny reindeer. This year, a red cup with a green Starbucks logo is all you get, and evidently, some conservatives have used this as an opportunity to once again declare that there is a war on Christmas.
I couldn’t care less about the Starbucks cup controversy; it’s a waste of time and energy. What I care a great deal about is that it’s being referred to as a war. The Civil War was a war. World War II was a war. The Battle of Marathon was a war.
In war, people are killed, cities are plundered, people are enslaved, and families are wiped out. Whether or not a private company decides to put out cups with religious symbols does not count as a war in any sense of the word.
In the 1960’s, President Johnson declared war on poverty, in the 70’s, Nixon declared war on drugs, The war on AIDS was declared in the 80’s, and since 9/11 we’ve been at war with terrorism. It seems as though every time we come to a place where we have a difference of opinion, ideology, or religious views one group or another declares war on something.
Ironically, the declaration made yearly for the past several years comes at the time when peace on Earth and goodwill toward men is supposed to be celebrated. Christmas is a time for peace, a time for joy and reflection on what type of people we want to be.
For Christians, Christmas is a time for celebrating the birth of Jesus. If one takes the time to examine the life of Jesus, one sees a man who was about peace, forgiveness, compassion and love. Christians who declare war in the name of Jesus have clearly never understood his mission on the planet. Christians who declare war on a corporation because that corporation doesn’t cater specifically to their holiday, are Christians who miss the point of the holiday altogether.
In cases such as this, the word persecution gets thrown around to an offensive degree. When we consider what true persecution actually looks like, surely we can’t help but feel ashamed by how we’ve applied the word to a lack of snowflakes on a paper cup… which gets thrown into the trash.
No one is threatening anyone’s life. No one is clamoring for anyone to renounce Christianity or face the lions. The absolute worst-case scenario in this situation is that our coffee will not come in a cup with a reindeer on the side. Does it make you sad? Maybe. Are you being persecuted? No. Does this mean war? Absolutely not.
I love Christmas, but it shouldn’t be affiliated with the word war in any way, shape or form. To do so degrades the holiday for whom it is named. It also diminishes the service of all of our great veterans. Leave the war rhetoric to actual wars, there are plenty of them as it is.