David Rayahin is a second year student in the Religious Studies Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.
The persecution of Christians and the terrifying War on Christmas rages on in the United States as Starbucks performed an act of unthinkable evil by removing snowflakes and reindeer from their holiday cups. After all, it was these strong Christian symbols which embody the reason for the season! When will this horrible persecution end? When will the Ancient Patriarchates release statements against this? Surely, this must be a sign of the end of time.
As Christians in the Middle East struggle to know what the future holds, a new “first-world problem” has arisen in the western hemisphere as Starbucks has removed ornamentations from their holiday cup design, vying for a solid red design. The controversy began soon after the cup design was unveiled on November 1st, when Evangelical Christian, Joshua Feuerstein, created a Facebook post where he declared, “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus!” The post went viral with evangelical and protestant denominations calling for a boycott of Starbucks products.
Meanwhile in Syria, the war rages on with more than 250,000 dead and millions seeking refuge in neighboring Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey as well as Europe and Asia. The same day the ‘cup-controversy’ was featured on CNN, a small textual banner also happened to mention, “Refugees forced to pay thousands of dollars for passage.” Our society’s fixation on the self has brought us to a point where we care more about the red cup at Starbucks rather than the red Blood of Christ in the true cup of Life. During the Divine Liturgy, the priest raises his hands, facing east, and says, “We who mystically represent the Cherubim and sing the thrice holy hymn to the life-giving trinity, now lay aside all earthly care…” We must lay aside the worries about a red cup and remember the Christians who are truly persecuted around the world, especially in the Middle East. “…That we may receive the King of all who comes invisibly escorted by the angelic hosts, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!”
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