Starbucks has recently been accused of waging a “war on Christmas.” This winter, the company ditched its previous holiday cups, featuring sleds, ornaments and carolers, opting for a simple red cup. The company has been met with opposition stemming from a viral video posted by Joshua Feurerstein. The former pastor claims that the new cup wages a war on Christmas and the Christian majority of America. This claim was supported by presidential candidate Donald Trump, who suggested that Christians boycott Starbucks. Despite these negative reactions to the design change, some appreciate the message that Starbucks is sending. “People are overreacting. They [aren’t] declaring a war on Christmas,” says Leah Weinstein ‘16. “They just chose a simple design that doesn’t leave anyone out.”
This controversy, though relating to a private company, brings to light the issue of religion in public life. Separation of church and state eliminates the teaching of religion in schools unless it is for secular and/or historic purposes. As the holidays roll around, holiday decorations will begin to make an appearance around Payton. This raises questions about the allowance for Christmas and other religious decorations in school. Although separation of church and state in public schools is a definite rule, this is easier said than done. Religious songs are often sung in holiday choral concerts due to the historical use of religion in many classical compositions, and historical texts often speak about religion. Although this is for the most part accepted, in an increasingly secular society, it may only be a matter of time before it becomes an issue.