The Christmas warriors have officially jumped the shark.
In a bizarre, disturbing (who brags about sneaking a gun into a coffee shop??), and lie filled rant (no, Starbucks wasn't mad and no, they didn't hate what happened), self-appointed religious watchdog Joshua Feuerstein decided to lob the latest volley in the make believe War On Christmas™ by portraying a subtle design change in Starbucks' holiday cups as some sort of heinous attack on the Christian faith.
A subtle change that in no way whatsoever involved Christian iconography being removed.
But as ridiculous as that sounds, it only gets more absurd when you realize that Feuerstein's approach to "pranking" Starbucks in retaliation to the perceived sleight was to give them his business by buying a cup of coffee.
You can't make this stuff up.
Well, you can, and that's kinda the point. As we all know too well, coffee cups are merely the most recent battlefront in the imaginary War On Christmas™, a pretend persecution complex that is built upon lie after lie of supposedly angry companies and a mythical organized disdain for Christmas that would make even the Grinch blush.
That War On Christmas™ doesn't exist.
It's called capitalism. We live in a pluralistic society that - and I know this will come as a shock to the Christmas warriors - celebrates multiple religious holidays in the month of December. It makes perfect sense for them to try to appeal to as many customers as possible in order to make as much money as possible by embracing the entire range of things being celebrated in December, instead of focusing on just one particular niche.
But as Starbucks and so many others have learned, mo money, mo problems.
Now, while it's true that the traditional War On Christmas™ doesn't exist, there is a very real war on Christmas and it's not being waged by a heathen secular society hellbent on marginalizing the faithful.
It's being waged by Christians.
Let me explain.
Consider the true meaning of Christmas. And, no, I'm not talking about the heartwarming moral at the end of every made for TV Christmas special.
Despite having since been hijacked by Santa Claus and our atheist overlords at Starbucks, Christmas was, once upon a time, a radical idea: that God became man in order to redeem all of creation.
That's what Christmas is really all about: the Incarnation, when God became one of us in the form of a helpless baby born to poor, young parents, and laid in a filthy trough. At its very heart, Christmas is about a divine act of radical humility and complete solidarity with humanity, offering hope for all mankind, but particularly the poor, the oppressed, and the helpless.
When we reduce Christmas to an ideological marketing battle, the very foundation of this holiest of days is dismantled and the humility and solidarity which define it are replaced with pride and exclusion, arrogance and condemnation.
Of course, all of us have at one point or another or even right now turned this holy moment into a profane act of materialism that's more focused on presents than the Presence that changed everything. But we've gone beyond the simple absurdity of attaching materialism to a holiday that celebrates the birth of a poor baby who would grow up to be a homeless man.
By turning Christmas into a battle over ideology and marketing, we - not Starbucks or Target or anybody else - strip this holiest of days of the very significance we're claiming to defend.
Christmas is about a radical act of divine incarnation, but our war has turned it into nothing more than a battle over decorations and an opportunity to indulge ourselves in unbridled materialism. We've baptized our lust for a privileged place in society in the rhetoric of a holy crusade and in so doing waged a war of destruction on the Day of Incarnation that no corporation could ever compete with.
The Day of Incarnation is about God caring about others, but we're too focused on ourselves to even realize there actually are other holidays in December our neighbors may be celebrating too.
The Day of Incarnation is about solidarity with the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized, but we're too busy caring about the design of a cup to care about the poor farmer who made that cup of coffee possible.
The Day of Incarnation is about God lowering God's self in order to serve and save humanity, but all we care about this time of the year is elevating ourselves above everyone and everything in society.
The Day of Incarnation is about bringing creation back into right relationship both with its Creator and with each other, but there can be no coming together when we draw ideological lines in the sand and refuse to make space for others.
The Day of Incarnation is built on one of the most incredible truths of all time: that God loves us, that God is for us, and God has come to dwell among us. Our war on Christmas is built on nothing but lies intended to stoke fear and stir division.
There is no War On Christmas™, but there is a war on Christmas of our own creation and it's drowning out the radical message of humility, solidarity, and hope that is the Incarnation.
That war is a battle worth fighting against and, fortunately, the tactics for doing so are simple.
Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, stand with the oppressed, and love one another.
By this they will know we are His disciples and give glory to our Father in heaven.
This post originally appeared at ZackHunt.net