Starbucks, straw men, and false dilemmas

Starbucks released their 2015 holiday cups last week. Instead of the usual festive red, shown here,

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They opted for a minimalist, ombre red, shown here:

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Apparently, some Christians are upset about Starbucks cups—or at least Twitter and the media are suggesting so.

I’m not sure why Christians should be upset. Starbucks changed it cups from snowflakes to a two-tone red. It’s not like the 2014 holiday cups had images of mangers and shepherds.

The strange thing is that I have many friends on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media, and I haven’t seen a single tweet or post expressing Christian outrage. I’m not saying they don’t exist, only that I haven’t seen them.

I see people talking about all of the angry Christians, but I see no angry Christians.

I’m not sure what’s happening here, but this is a straw man argument. That is, people are claiming (falsely) that Christians are mad about a cup, and then criticizing Christians for being mad about a cup.

Not only are Christians inappropriately angry, they are simultaneously abandoning their  care of orphans and widows.

In fact, in response to the hordes of Christians abandoning their usual philanthropy in order to wage war against the evils of the Starbucks, people have started tweeting this:

I’ll worry about if Starbucks says Merry Christmas as soon as we Christians find homes for all orphans, comfort all widows & feed all poor

Not only do we have a straw man argument, now we are dealing with another argumentative fallacy called a false dilemma.

A false dilemma simply says that it’s either/or.
It cannot be both/and.

The argument is that if Christians decide to boycott Starbucks, it must mean they’re abandoning their charity and missionary endeavors.

One cannot possibly send a tweet against Starbucks or start drinking coffee from Peet’s without neglecting orphans and widows.

Sorry, but that’s why it’s called a fallacy.

Some time back I made the decision not to watch Game of Thrones because I’ve heard it’s so sexualized. Guess what? The same week I was able to preach the Gospel, give my own money to charity, and live out my faith to the best of my ability.

Don’t give in to the poorly reasoned false outrage!

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