Have you heard about the coffee cup debacle? Apparently, there are some Christian devotees who are so delighted about their up and coming celebrations that they insist on having their holiday symbols plastered on every conceivable surface. Starbucks, I guess in an effort to be diverse, politically correct and avoid offending millions of non-Christian customers, decided to decorate their coffee cups this year simply with the color red. Sounds like a reasonable compromise, right? Wrong! It seems certain Christian leaders were offended because they wanted more than a plain red cup. More symbols, more decorations, more special recognition, more attention, more, more, more…
Perhaps they are so used to being the majority religion, they never stop to consider that other people have different religious practices and they may not relish Reindeer dancing across their coffee cups. It might interest them to know that there are some 4,200 religions in the world, that’s right folks not one, or five, but 4,200 and I’m sure a few little ones fell through the cracks on that last count. There are over fourteen classical world religions—those religions most often included in history of world religion surveys and studied in world religions classes are: Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism, Druidism, Wicca and some other Neo-pagan religions. Each of these religions has a different spiritual view, philosophy and flock of followers devoted to it.
Those people shop at Starbucks, enjoy their Lattes and Frappuccino’s and don’t kick up a fuss about how their cups are decorated. Perhaps they understand that there are more important things going on in the world, life and death things that might deserve some attention. Perhaps they believe that religions should respect one another. Perhaps they understand the concept of religious freedom as opposed to religious dominance.
The Dalai Lama has said “The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience and tolerance, humility and forgiveness.”
I’m certain that in his wisdom, the Dalai Lama would forgive our Christian friends their narrow-minded focus and pray that one day they may shake free the constraints of bigotry and get their priorities straight.
In the meantime, perhaps Starbucks can hand out sticker books with their red cups and our holiday-obsessed friends can decorate their own cups.