A firebrand preacher falsely claiming Starbucks is waging a war on Christmas gets his due when critics on social media strike back, turning his #MerryChristmasStarbucks on its head.
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Remember Joshua Feuerstein? He's the on-again-off-again Arizona pastor-preacher-televangelist who first gained national attention last year when he posted a Facebook video of himself calling a random Florida bakery demanding an anti-gay cake. The owner thought it was a joke (it was April 1), hung up, and subsequently got hundreds of calls and death threats from some of his more than one million followers.
Feurestein's next trick was to record another video attacking same-sex marriage which showied him waving a semiautomatic assault rifle and telling his followers, “It’s time that we finally take a stand and say no more. We’re not backing up any further.”
Now Feuerstein is the first Christian soldier this year to begin the false claim of a war on Christmas.
Starbucks, as they do every year during the Holiday season, changed its coffee cups to red. Annually, they embellish the cups with winter decorations, like snowflakes, stars, snowmen, and ice skaters.
"In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs," Starbucks vice president of Design & Content, Jeffrey Fields, said in a press release. "This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories."
"Starbucks has become a place of sanctuary during the holidays," he added. "We're embracing the simplicity and the quietness of it," and called it a "more open way to usher in the holiday."
Apparently, embracing simplicity and welcoming all stories is the equivalent of hating Christians, Jesus, and Christmas, according to Feuerstein, who literally wrote on Facebook, “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus.”
His Facebook video has been viewed nearly 11 million times in just three days.
Feuerstein, in his video, screams that Starbucks' employees are "banned from saying Merry Christmas" and deleted any signs of the Christian holiday from the cups because they "hate Jesus."
Of course, that's totally false.
Snopes notes that Starbucks still sells its iconic "Christmas Blend coffee, offers gift cards with holiday symbols, and even vends Advent calendars."
Feuerstein also tells his followers to go to Starbucks, order coffee, and when the barista asks their name, say it's "Merry Christmas," so they write it on the cups.
He writes, "I PRANKED THEM ... and they HATE IT!!!!"
Which is beyond juvenile.
What's not, however, is at the end of his video, when he waves a gun and says that since Starbucks "hates" the Second Amendment, he brought his gun into the store.
The gun toting preacher says he wants to start a "movement" and asks his 1.8 million followers to share the video and to "prank" Starbucks' employees. Which is sad and selfish, since during the holiday season they work even harder and don't need some self-righteous "persecuted" Christian to make their days even harder.
But most importantly, Feuerstein is not only wrong, he's embarrassing himself and, by extension, other Christians, and destroying the true meaning of Christmas.
(If video does not play watch it on Facebook.)
Of course, some followed his lead:
But overwhelmingly, most were irritated, angered and opposed to Feuerstein's antics:
If you're Christian & upset over Starbucks cups, your priorities are out of whack and you don't have enough to do #MerryChristmasStarbucks— Brian Green-Young (@bgreenyoung) November 8, 2015
#MerryChristmasStarbucks - cause nothing upholds the integrity of your faith like using your religion's holiday greeting as a term of spite— Kate Hoyt (@KateHoyt3) November 8, 2015
You can't be persecuted by a cup. #MerryChristmasStarbucks— pocohantas01 (@pocohantas01) November 8, 2015
I can't wait until my life is so carefree, that my biggest concern at the holidays is the color of a coffee cup. #MerryChristmasStarbucks— PC Gamer Girl (@pcgamergirl) November 8, 2015
#MerryChristmasStarbucks Leave it to Americans to get pissed off about a coffee cup without snowflakes on it.— Notre Kane (@Brythemusicguy) November 8, 2015
If you need a coffee chain to be your ambassador of Christ you need to re-examine your relationship with God #MerryChristmasStarbucks— Nicole Gibson (@NinjasandtheLaw) November 8, 2015
Image: Screenshot via Facebook