Friday, May 11, 2007

Speak My Way or Else

This religious controversy over what people choose to say for inclusion on a Starbucks coffee cup is in direct opposition to the right of freedom of speech guaranteed to all in the United States.

I think I'll suggest several quotes made by the Founding Fathers.

"The Way I See It"

Letters to Starbucks

World Net Daily

Starbucks markets more 'anti-God' coffee cups
Company welcomes national dialogue despite boycott threat by some patrons
Posted: May 9, 2007
8:38 p.m. Eastern
By Joe Kovacs
© 2007

Coffeehouse giant Starbucks is standing by its campaign to put thought-provoking messages on its coffee cups despite a national uproar and threat of boycott over a message some felt was "anti-God."

Controversy erupted this week after a customer became steamed reading a quote that stated:

"Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure."

The quote was written by Bill Schell, a Starbucks customer from London, Ontario, Canada, and was included as part of Starbucks' "The Way I See It" campaign to collect different viewpoints and spur discussion.

A WND story posted Sunday afternoon publicizing the cup became a hot topic on national radio shows this week including Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham.

One reader, Ken Peck of Lakeland, Fla., has since purchased a coffee with another message he felt was a slam against his Christian faith, and snapped a photograph of it.

The message reads:

Heaven is totally overrated. It seems boring. Clouds, listening to people play the harp. It should be somewhere you can’t wait to go, like a luxury hotel. Maybe blue skies and soft music were enough to keep people in line in the 17th century, but Heaven has to step it up a bit. They're basically getting by because they only have to be better than Hell. -- Joel Stein, columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
"There's absolutely no reason to put that out on a cup," Peck told WND. "From a marketing standpoint, it blows me away. I don't put a picture of Christ of my business card."

Peck says the issue has energized him to push for a boycott of Starbucks in favor of other local coffeehouses in Polk Co., Fla.

"Everyone I've shown the cup to has been flabbergasted, whether they have a faith in Christ or not," he said.

Seattle-based Starbucks, meanwhile, is making no apologies about the God-related messages, nor its campaign.

"We are committed to this program," Starbucks communications manager Tricia Moriarty told WND, noting that quotes about matters of faith make up only a small fraction of the printed quips.

"We cover topics such as theater, film, the environment, food and sports," Moriarty said. "The cups are not pro- or anti-religion per se."

When asked if there were any scenario that would prompt the company to remove a certain cup from its campaign, she said she could not comment on a hypothetical situation, saying only, "Certainly, we have no plans to remove any of them."

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