Vail Daily column: Forget coffee cups — je suis Paris |

Vail Daily column: Forget coffee cups — je suis Paris

It was all going to be so simple.

I sat down at the computer last Friday around noon, mentally prepared to start a column about the silly yet infamous Starbucks Christmas cup issue, when the news came on TV from Paris.

The fact that Starbucks was founded and still led today by a Jew was so tempting to have fun with I almost stuck with my original idea, yet common sense and simple decency towards mankind will always trump satire.

As the afternoon progressed into early evening the number of victims continued to rise as well, leaving my full range of emotions in its wake. Denial, shock and then anger, leading to depression and then finally to acceptance — not to be confused with approval, however, as accepting an act is simply allowing reality to sink in and dealing with the truth of the situation.

So what do we do? Who do we blame?

Sadly, it’s not so much a “who” as it is a “what.”

Though not a shock coming from me (which is irrelevant anyway), but we all know it is belief in a supernatural world at the root of all this senseless violence.

Media reports have at least one of the terrorists shouting their tired, yet apparently effective, mantra, “Allah Akbar!” while mowing innocents down with an AK-47. How many times have you heard someone say “God is great!”? I’ve heard it my entire life from friends and family.

They mean the exact same thing, and in fact both are referring to the exact same deity, which is of course the God of Abraham, so while saying the exact same words one is praying to kill and the other is praying to not kill.

It would be confusing if it weren’t so damned simple.

Billions throughout the recorded history of mankind have declared their “god” was the only “real” one, so what makes this particular deity any different?

Culture of the day, that’s it, nothing more.

I have never understood why so many pray after a tragedy to a deity that, if it actually existed, could have prevented it in the first place? Either he/she/it is impotent, and evil or it does not exist.

Instead of “Praying for Paris,” how about fighting against all vile religious ideologies; speak out against the indoctrination of the religious born hatred, intolerance and bigotry so pervasive in our own country?

And if you are one of those offended by the previous sentence then you are part of the problem.

Most of my religious friends are intelligent, compassionate, honest, warm and caring people. I support their right to have whatever supernatural beliefs they wish, but it’s those beliefs I rally against, not them.

What I say and what I write — peacefully, with words — is for those who join me in speaking out against the daily assaults to human life and dignity that are carried out in the name of one deity or another.

The Paris attacks were just one of thousands.

When people stop killing and oppressing others over supernatural beliefs in an invisible omnipotent deity, then I will be happy to stop calmly pointing out — peacefully, with words — that their invisible deity does not exist.

Oh and, for what it’s worth, I think the whole Starbucks Christmas cup issue was a semi-brilliant marketing scheme cooked up by Starbucks themselves to sell coffee.

Life should be so simple.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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