By Aaron Cooper, CNN
(CNN) - Passengers on Alaska Airlines will no longer get a free Psalm with their meal.
On Wednesday, the airline announced it is ending its more than 30-year tradition of including printed cards with short Bible verses during meal service.
“I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name O most high,” was written on one card, over an image of foggy blue mountains. Another card featured these words over a beach at sunset: "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”
The cards have been distributed on trays with Alaska Airlines meals since the 1970s, according to airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan. Since 2006, only passengers in First Class on longer Alaska Airlines flights have been served meals, so only a small percent of passengers received a card.
“This difficult decision was not made lightly,” the airline’s top executives said an email to frequent passengers. “We believe it's the right thing to do in order to respect the diverse religious beliefs and cultural attitudes of all our customers and employees.”
“We also know some of you consider the cards to be a tradition that reflects your own spiritual beliefs,” the email said. “At the same time, we've heard from many of you who believe religion is inappropriate on an airplane, and some are offended when we hand out the cards.”
Kathy Hosford, of Dyea, Alaska told CNN Affiliate that ““I take the time to read them. It really tells me the airline cares about the people sitting there.”
Others disagree. “Religious attitudes do vary,” Egan says, and “a large percent of residents in markets that we do serve on the West Coast say religion is not important to them.”
“We have been keeping track over the recent years and we are receiving more complaints than compliments” says Egan. Between 1998 and 2002 they received 242 complaints and 141 compliments about the cards.
The idea to distribute the cards in the first place came from a marketing executive who borrowed the idea from another carrier as a way to differentiate Alaska’s service, according to the airline’s statement.
But that view has now changed. “A business that aspires to be diverse and inclusive shouldn't have a religious agenda. Religious beliefs are deeply personal and vary greatly among our customers” Egan said in an emailed statement.
The decision to eliminate the cards was made last fall, she says, and takes effect on February 1. No decision yet about what to do with the leftovers.
Time for my husband and I to consider using scissors on the 2 Alaska Airline VISA Credit Cards we carry; we use the companion ticket on each yearly... I have actually kept each Prayer Card and indicated on the reverse side why the trip was made; family crisis, deaths in the family and so forth... This is a VERY bad decision that will make others think twice before booking I am sure...Oh, by the way, was it really PASSENGERS that complained, or employees???
So if your cult literature goes away, so do you?
I believe the term is Good Riddance
@R. Diane – So you're essentially saying you won't patronize a company which no longer accommodates your religion exclusively? Well thanks for exposing the real mentality of a Christian.
I know this is going to be rough. You may have to actually open a Bible now to find Psalms instead of getting them handed out on flights.
I do open my Bible daily...I actually (GASP) have those verses memorized! As with all things in the business world, there are consequences for companies who make decisions based upon the small voice of the few....again, WHICH was it....passengers or employees.
Yeah, the small voice of the few should be silenced. Especially people who aren't white and Christian. Because who really cares about those people anyway?
"As with all things in the business world, there are consequences for companies who make decisions based upon the small voice of the few..."
If I read it correctly, the majority of people are complaining, not complimenting. So your assumption that this decision is based on the "voice of the few" is wrong.
"Time for my husband and I to consider using scissors on the 2 Alaska Airline VISA Credit Cards we carry; we use the companion ticket on each yearly"
I just applied and was approved for one of those visa cards to negate your little protest. How do you like that? :)
@R. Diane, Good luck finding an alternative credit card company/airline that serves the routes you need AND hands out prayer cards! And I know for a fact that passengers complained, because I was one of them. The printing of those cards cost the airlines $$$ and those costs were passed on to me, the consumer. Not appreciated. Just continue to read your own bible and let the rest of us eat our (first class only) meals in peace!
I am completely comfortable with the decision to NOT fly an airline which, again, listens to the voice of a few who would look for any and all reason to keep every area of our lives politically correct...
R. Diane, go fuck yourself you indignant credit whore.
@ C.Diane...You're forgiven.. I stand by all of my postings
"Oh, by the way, was it really PASSENGERS that complained, or employees???"
Who cares, it was the correct decision. Everyone has the right to an opinion, even employees (whom, by the way, would be exposed to this more so than the passengers....).
Christians need to take a stand and write them a letter at least. Unfortunately, many in parts of Alaska only have one service in and out....that being Alaska Airlines.
IT's good that you are standing up! God bless you!
Diane, I am sorry that you have to deal with all the haters. I am sure you read that too in God's Word. How we will be hated just like Jesus was.
You are doing the right thing. You are taking a stand for God and God is going to bless you and your husband. This company is in no doubt, is conforming to this world. It's sad.
I LOVED these cards!! And nothing that has to do with God is a waste! Not even you haters! God still loves you!!
Buy your own dang holy card. Carry it in your pocket or purse. Buy a whole deck of them for all we care. Don't expect an airline or burger joint to supply you with them for free (actually, not free, when it's the rest of the customers who have to chip in with higher fares to pay for them). Shoo.
Politically Correct bigotry scores again.
God is watching.
I wonder how you'd feel if those were Muslim verses instead? That's right, people would be freaking out, then LOL.
If you want to pray, do it independently. Don't shove it down everyone's throat.
Money wins again. If anyone thinks that this wasn't anything but 100% about the money, you're deluding yourselves.
I doubt you'd be saying the same thing if these where Muslim prayer cards.
Who's the bigot John?
And when that planes in trouble, guess who the naysayers are going to be talking to!?
Rational people would starting thinking about what would help them survive. Religious people would start to pray.
They will probably be speaking to the religious extremists that hijacked it.
gupshoo. sure buddy, cuz we all know when a planes going down in flames there are tons of rational people on board, discussing escape plans and quietly talking amongst themselves over a cup of coffee... while the crazy religious folk are praying in tongues, dancing with snakes and jumping out of windows.. ha ha, where do you guys come from.. seriously... "logic and rationale".. pff ha ha
The Federal Marshals?
Anyone who can actually do something to help prevent a deadly catastrophe?
@booboo – Just tell me – what would you do when your life is in danger? Pray or think?
Their wives and families via wifi on their cell phonses and laptops, HELLO, it's 2012, they don't need an imaginary friend anymore, they can reach out and touch someone.
My guess would be: ground control
Good thing Captain Sullenberger chose to act rationally instead of just praying that the plane would not crash, or a couple hundred prayer morons would all be dead.
Actually, maybe that would have been better.
Iamdeadlyserious – You call that harassment? Wowzers. Methinks you need thicker skin...
What name do you give to the act of someone forcing their beliefs on you in the hopes of converting you to their faith?
This was done to make way for their purchase by the Saudis.
The complainers are probably also the one's who sue for anything IMAGINED. If you are so weak that a small card is forcing a religion on you... how sad. Sure is a lot of effort to stop something that the complainers don't belive in.
We reject bigotry all forms of bigotry.
We would also reject KKK literature.
Most crazy people can't see the crazy person in the mirror.
thanks william.. spoken like a person talking to the mirror..
If I was on a flight where a card like this was included on the tray, I would quietly hand it back to the flight attendant and go about my business.
"I would quietly hand it back to the flight attendant and go about my business."
I would wipe my butt with it.
Sorry it offended potential hijackers.
So sad ... one more uplifting idea that has gone away.
Nude Stewardesses would be uplifting.
This is just creepy.
They should start handing out Koran verses.
All the Evangelicals would drop a pant load thinking they had been hijacked by the Camel Jockeys.
camel jockeys? i thought junior high was in session.. whats next, momma jokes
I enjoy a good Mama joke!
I usually call them Sand N@@gers, but I wanted to be PC
GEEZ, it's just a prayer card. If you don't like religion just throw it away- no need to deprive everyone else of a blessing. Dang, ya'll are hateful!
Thank you. Very well said.
There is if it makes people feel uncomfortable.
Personally, I find religious propaganda to be creepy, but then again, I'm not big on cults.
Great, so you will be ok when I start handing out my x rated poker cards. After all, you can just toss them.
I agree 100% with the individual that said this showed the company cared. If a Muslim offered me a sign of good will, I would not be disrespected. I understand their good wills.
Some people probably saw it as an insult, when in reality it was a sincere form of a company respecting their customers. You don't see that very often.
I applaud Alaska Airlines for keeping the prayers cards as long as they did. In this world of hate and prejudice (as MANY of the comments reflected) it's not easy to give or display anything religious.
choco – Would you be okay with them handing out 1 card for every major religion in the world (Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, etc, etc)?
If not, if it's only Christianity you support, then you are the prejudiced one.
Many of their costomers weren't religeous. Is that a fact? You might be surprised just how many would get "religeous" if the engines began to sputter......
HAHAHA! True, true..
exactly. people on the edge of death suddenly become very close to god.. ha ha
Yes, when that happens, people would scramble to fetch those prayer cards. LOL!!!
Airlines should be spending money on the science of flight such as pilot training and aircraft inspection, not crap promoting unsupported mythology. If you need / want a prayer card to fly on an airline, I suggest you bring your own, find another airline or find mode of transportation.
This atheist has been in several life threatening situations without once calling on big juju for help. It offensive (and more to the point, incorrect) to assume that we are as cowardly as you seem to think.
Ah yes, the old "No Atheists in Foxholes" strawman. Except now it's "No Atheists in Airplanes." Creative.
By the way, if you're religious, you should probably know how to spell that word.
hotair. yes, because 3 dollars for a bunch of cards is the same amount it costs to do flight training, etc, i think not.. what a weird avenue to pick a fight over..
That is bunk, there are many non religious people (myself included) that have been near death and don't pray or even think about a god(s) or an afterlife. Please stop assuming that your line of thought is the only one.
Just because you have been taught to be a coward don" assume we all are.
Many of us do NOT fear the dark
Who's picking a flight? If the total cost of the "idiot cards" including the cost of dealing with the complaints and the potential risk of lose of business from believers because of hurt feelings and the usual christian persecution complex warrants ceasing handing out the cards, it's probably a fair amount of money that can be better utilized.
How offensive: Psalms. My favorite verse to share on flights is Isaiah 14:12
"How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!"
I do not want to see the word "fallen" and my airplane in the same sentence.
Surprised that a company had the courage to do something like this. Disappointed that a relatively small number of complaints of being people "offending" for whatever reason cancelled it.
Just like other religious nutjobs, it appears you have a reading comprehension problem. They said they get more complaints than complements.
steve. just like other religious athiests, it appears you have a spelling problem... see how easy that is ;)
Let the plane have engine trouble and see how many of the passengers say religion is inappropriate on a flight! Somebody better be praying for the pilots and a safe trip! To those so small minded as to be offended... don't go to the light.
Pray to what?
I'll bet on a good pilot way before some STUPID card with writing on it!
How would you Christians HONESTLY feel if the airline gave a hopeful and caring Islamic prayer? My guess would be that they would receive thousands of complaints instead of hundreds. Perspective people, your beliefs are not the only ones out there.
Using idiot jesustard logic, we should just stop training pilots altogether. Let anyone fly the plane, and just pray that we all get to our destination safe and sound.
It is amazing how stupid the religious are.
too bad they couldn't keep up the tradition. always going to be complainers out there. don't like it? don't take it.
Back atcha bud. Obviously their business folks decided this was a good business decision. That means that they felt there would be more business without the cult cards than with them.
Don't like it? Don't fly.
Why did they even make an announcement? Just quietly remove those prayer cards and most people won't know you once tried to force your religion down your passengers' throats.
Does this mean Alaska Airlines will lower their prices?
Wait...they still have meal service on Alaska Airlines?
"Since 2006, only passengers in First Class on longer Alaska Airlines flights have been served meals, so only a small percent of passengers received a card."
Good for you Alaska Airlines. I, and many others, applaud this step toward equality and logic.
equality and logic. hmm let me guess. you are a brainwashed athiest who is following the latest trend and forcing your religious beliefs down peoples throats, trying to force them to believe what you believe. so sad, you became what you most feared.
Equality and logic? Are you for real? Equality doesn't mean everyone has to believe the same thing, nor does logic. Logic is as subjective as religion. What's logical to you isn't to the guy next to you. Alaska Airlines giving in to negative whiners is not logical. Standing up for what one believes is a far better route to go. If a Muslim or Buddhist or whatever run airline offered me a card with a prayer or something, I'd either take it and say thank you or I'd decline it and say 'but thank you anyway.' Sheesh, this "i'm offended" nonsense is TRULY getting out of control.
@booboo, hahahahaha.... I'm guessing you're one that believes in the space ghost, right? I really hope you're just trolling. If you're actually as stupid as your comment indicates, I fear for any offspring you produce. If you're looking for brainwashing and belief, you generally won't find that in atheists.
sure steve.. i would wager a million dollars that your religious beliefs were brought on by other people or groups. athiesm isnt a natural conclusion by any stretch of the imagination. it is just as force fed and peer induced as any other religion. trust me, next year youll be into the newest religious trend. you think being an athiest is free from religion? you are down the hole so deep you dont even know it..
Booboo, actually my non religious beliefs were brought upon by myself alone, my family and friends are for the most part, religious in one form or another, (Islam, Christian, Mormon, Pagan, Jewish) its because of that variety, that i view all religions as equals, but choose not to believe in, but learn from each one. (in a way, logic and compassion is my religion) Where's my million dollars?
booboo – You obviously know NOTHING about atheism/agnosticism. The truth is that most of us naturally gravitated toward atheism DESPITE the best efforts of society to keep us in the cult. Logic and reason led us to the conclusion that your myth is no different from all of the others that came before.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to live as an free-thinking atheist/agnostic in a culture where a high percentage of folks are brain-washed sheep?
"it is just as force fed and peer induced as any other religion. trust me, next year youll be into the newest religious trend. you think being an athiest is free from religion? you are down the hole so deep you dont even know it.."
Yes, my parents forced atheism on me. They were doing it secretly so that when they dropped me off at sunday school nobody would know.
They were not all all surprised when I refused to make the sacrament of confirmation. They just assumed it was that awesome atheists training.
Well, now I know I can fly to Alaska without being harassed.
This was really happening?
you call having a card with a prayer on it being harrassed? good lord, are you in for a bumpy ride through life.. ha ha
Harrassed? Are you kidding? Tear it up and don't read it. It's not going to fight back.
I guess they wouldn't waste their prayers on those of us hungry in coach.
When the plane starts going down then the passengers will want these cards back! People are always crying about something these days... If you don't like something ignore it!
Uh, yeah. Most people who flew on those airlines appreciated the cards for 30 some-odd years. Just because you have no religion in your life doesn't mean that the vast majority of people who flew that airline weren't Christians who appreciated the message. If everyone in your town is Christian, and there are tons of town throughout the US that fit that description, you'll see a lot of God Bless You type signs all over the place. No one gets offended because everyone believes the same thing. It's not shocking to learn this was going on, considering this was a majority christian nation since it's inception. What IS shocking is that someone would be so dumb as to not know that, and then understand why this was an appreciated business practice of there's as a result. Way to have a clue about the nation you live in. And PS, I am not religious at all, just educated.
Having a complete stranger hand me a pamphlet so that they can start a conversation about something that's none of their business is harassment. I know it doesn't rank up there with having someone squeeze your butt on the way to the copy machine, but it's still incredibly disrespectful.
And the main point is that this is something I don't expect to deal with when I'm flying.
Dear Lillith (ironic name, considering your obvious religious leanings),
I don't give two hoots what you believe. All I ask is that you keep your beliefs out of my life. They have no place in it.
Also, if you ever pull your head up out of the sand, you'll notice that the US is not even close to 100% Christian, and that it has never been a nation built around one church. You might want to re-educate yourself by cracking open a history book. And if you want to come here claiming that you aren't religious while recognizing a non-fact that people only learn from their church leaders, you really want to work on your back-story. Bad fake-atheist is bad.
Also, people who are educated usually have a better command of the English language.
Easily resolved, keep them at the front, if you want one, they're there for you. I dont need them on my tray.
Dear deadly serious,
I wouldn't know what people "learn from their church leaders," as I've never been to church. Are you implying that you have? Or are you just referencing a generalization you learned from People Who Believe Things I Don't are Evil University? Ignorance and closed-mindedness is a BAD combination, son. Very dangerous. You questioned how it could be possible that an American company would hand out religious cards? I informed you that the majority of people flying that airline were most assuredly Christian, and that the majority of people in US history have been Christian. if those facts don't compute kid, I really don't know what to tell you, but the REALLY isn't rocket science. Somehow, because you are super-insecure about your own beliefs youa re actually OFFENDED if someone hands you a card with a Psalm on it. I don't know what kind of thin-skinned, insecure person you are, but seriously dude, you need to toughen up a little if you want to make it in this world. Try not to hate and be afraid of people who believe things you don't. That would be a good start. Good luck with all that.
The belief that America is a "Christian nation" can only be heard from the pulpit (or from Fox News, which is pretty much the same thing). There is absolutely nowhere else you will find it.
Now, if you want to argue that the majority of the people in this country identify as some kind of Christian, then go for it. Of course, that has absolutely no bearing on the way the country is run, much less the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment. You have no idea, however, how many people flying on that plane are Christian (actual research shows that people living in the most conservatively religious areas of this country have never left their county). And I don't understand exactly how that computes to supporting an airline proselytizing its passengers.
I'm quite secure in my beliefs. I have been for some time. I don't see the need to toughen up, especially not because some internet troll ascribes a lot of emotions and thought processes to me because of their overactive imagination.
It's not a belief, Ace, it's empirical fact. I'm sorry if the knowledge that the founding fathers and the society they engendered were and was predominantly Christian, but I'm afraid you just have to deal with it. Some other devastating news for you: the sky is blue, and the sun rises in the East. Now I know these are hard pills to swallow, but unfortunately there's nothing you can do about it, except to accept it.
Secondly, just because someone presents an argument that clearly bundles your panties in a knot, doesn't make them a troll. Everything I've said is either empirically true, or valid, justified opinion. But you just can't handle it, like a spoiled child. This goes back to your issue of hating those you disagree with. You seriously need to lose the Nazi mentality, and stop being such a close-minded bigotted d-bag. Just because someone or something is different than you, or thinks differently, or doesn't agree with you, doesn't make them worthy of hatred.
I really do wish you luck and hope you get some of this sorted.
"I guess they wouldn't waste their prayers on those of us hungry in coach."
That is the ironic part of the story. Statistically, Atheists enjoy a higher standard of living than christians. Atheists are more likely to fly first class. They probably would have met with less resistance had they handed out the dumb prayer cards to the peasant christians in coach.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.