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Alaska Airlines ends prayer cards on flights
Alaska Airlines distributed prayer cards like these on flights for more than 30 years.
January 26th, 2012
04:21 PM ET

Alaska Airlines ends prayer cards on flights

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.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Alaska • Prayer

soundoff (2,364 Responses)
  1. JT

    The dollar is the real god and if most of their passengers and employees are complaining then the cards have to go.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  2. Are there any Eskimo pilots?

    I really dont know. Are there?

    January 26, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  3. Kim K

    Another win for the muslims....

    January 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • sybaris

      ...............and the rest of us rational people who don't believe in fairy tales.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  4. Randy Conley

    Hmmm...Alaska Air serves 23 million passengers a year...115 million passengers over this 5 year period and they've received a whopping 242 complaints. Clearly a critical business issue they had to address. Keep the cards!

    January 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • 3N1Amen

      Amen! And bump off the haters.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  5. Randy

    Wow. All the left wing nuts are spastic over this, as usual. If the card was promoting the militant gay agenda, that would be wholly supported. The lefties and atheists support everything except Christianity. Bigger hypocrites than any person of faith has ever been. Now let the spastic replies start.......

    January 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Adam C

      I know what you mean. All those militant gay people trying to force their "equality" down your throat. If god wanted gay people to be equal, he would have made it so 6,000 years ago when he made the world...

      January 26, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Randy

      Atheists are not rational, just deeply hurt people who "hate" God and those who follow God. Atheists have been around a long time and claiming that they will banish Christianity from the globe. Hasn't happened yet and won't ever happen.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Left Coast Agnostic

      Go fuc k yourself, Randy

      January 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Adam C

      Everyone is an atheist when they are born – are all infants deeply hurt people? Or are perhaps you the one that is not rational?

      January 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • "Wow" is the most overused word on the interwebs.

      Wow. Just wow.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Randy

      Thanks LCA. A typical rational response to someone who disagrees with you. Evidence of the deep hurt I talked about.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Randy

      Oh Adam. Your lack of logic is further proof for my statements. Gotta go. I have a life, but you keep posting insults to everyone who disagrees with you.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Wow

      "Atheists are not rational, just deeply hurt people"

      This has to be the most over used phrase against Atheists, you can't believe people are happy, full of profound joy and love if they don't believe in your god. Well, guess what, we are not deeply hurt people at all, it's a lie you tell yourself so you can keep believing in your fairytale. Oh, just for the record lying is a sin according to your own fairytale.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Adam C

      "Gotta go. I have a life, but you keep posting insults to everyone who disagrees with you."

      You have posted several insults. Your initial post was an insult. I, on the other hand, was simply trying to disprove your theory that all atheists are "deeply hurt".

      I hope you have a great night. :)

      January 26, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  6. Tr1Xen

    It wouldn't offend me, and I'm atheist. Some folks are too darn sensitive.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  7. ITellYouWhat

    Our God is a God of the living and not of the dead. (Luke 20:38) In our God the creator of our Lord Jesus Christ, time has no beginning or end. Whose Son is the Christ? David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son? (Luke 20:41-44) Finite Universe – zero and one are equal (matter can be infinitely divided into nothing – God is Nothing that created everything out of emptiness) "At the Planck distance and the Planck time all physics, as we know it today collapses. This is the reason we call the beginning of the big bang a singularity. You cannot apply ordinary reasoning there. Zero and one have no sense there.OK?" There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Big Bang views one and zero as being equal, since it states that zero appeared out of the absence of zero; then zero created something. Many scientists believe or have faith that light does not have mass, thus they believe the Universe is Finite. Religion promotes the most commonly accepted idea of the group. If light does not have mass, then it would be impossible to move an electron. Light described as a particle means nothing, if it has no mass since it would be impossible to distinguish from nothing because no mass means void of substance. If it has no substance, then nothing is present to distinguish the particle from other particles.
    The Big Bang theory prevents any condition where something has always been. Infinity is defined as the difference between one and zero. Once one and zero are the same according to the big bang, the definition of infinity as stated above is no longer valid. If the big bang occurred, all math's must deal with the proof of 0=1.

    Infinite Universe – zero is not equal to one (there is a point where matter can't be divided – God is Something that can neither be created nor destroyed that is dependent on nothing.) An infinite universe lacks a beginning, so there is no one set past or a given future.
    In all other cases, Newton used the phenomenon of motion to explain the origin of various forces acting on bodies, but in the case of gravity, he was unable to experimentally identify the motion that produces the force of gravity. Moreover, he refused to even offer a hypothesis as to the cause of this force on grounds that to do so was contrary to sound science. He lamented that "philosophers have hitherto attempted the search of nature in vain" for the source of the gravitational force, as he was convinced "by many reasons" that there were "causes hitherto unknown" that were fundamental to all the "phenomena of nature". These fundamental phenomena are still under investigation and, though hypotheses abound, the definitive answer is yet to be found. Gravity is a force that lacks activation, since it is constant and the only way that we know of to produce gravitons uniformly from a surface is to make that surface have a lot of mass! Moreover, Newton's second law states that an object must have mass in order to produce a force. Matter is defined as anything that has mass and takes up space. Why is gravity being used as evidence for this universe? The infinite Universe supports the view that all particles considered to be energy have mass or substance; that there is one fundamental particle which accounts for all the diverse forms of matter in the Universe. It is the ultimate example of team work, since it fundamentally has no reason to destroy itself. So, why does evil exist? Free will and without freewill, God would lack choice. Balance is the nature of perfection in the Infinite Universe. In an infinite Universe the total amount of something remains constant. When an atom is divided it no longer has the characteristics of the original element. There is a point where matter can't be divided and at this point something and nothing are distinctly defined. In the infinite Universe, the term infinite is used to describe the difference between something (1) and nothing (0). There is an infinite difference between zero and one.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • sybaris

      You should really stay away from CARM and the Creation Museum, it's junk science and makes you look bad.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Andrew

      Please, do science a favor, never play armchair physicist again. You're not very good at it.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Damen

      Sybaris and Andrew, your sweeping insults without backup makes you look ULTRA pathetic. Unless you have a rebuttal keep your mouths shut! Ill be more than happy to answer any LOGICAL objection you have to the above PROVEN science.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  8. bostontola

    I enjoy my beliefs. Constraining yourself to facts and logic is very limiting. I myself have a deep rooted, dare I say spiritual belief that there is (are) no god(s). Science is a passion, but it has only scratched the surface. Many answers won't come until long after I'm dead, so I'll add speculation/belief to entertain myself. I'm happy to modify my beliefs as better data comes in.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  9. Left Coast Agnostic

    Good decision! One of these creepy cards came with my breakfast on a recent flight from San Diego to Seattle – I returned it to the flight attendant.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • booboo

      i had the same thing happen. except it was a big banner flown over my face by athiests in a plane. only i couldnt get rid of it as it was being stuffed down my throat..

      January 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Adam C

      booboo, you must be very old. You've mentioned the atheist plane banner thing about 20 times now.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  10. If horses had Gods ...

    Typical religion industry priorities ... only the 1st class passengers got one LOL! The rest weren't worth the $0.002 they cost.!

    January 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • dabble53

      Actually, more a case that only the 1st class passengers get meals any more.
      Although I'm glad they are stopping the practice. THEIR religion is not necessarily MY religion and I always felt
      uncomfortable (to say the least) at having one of their prayers thrown at me.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ...

      agreed that's likely the case. However I feel that if someone felt it was such an important activity to give out these cards .. it's a bit telling that they "choose" a program the only gave them to the 1st class passengers .. they could easily give them to all passengers. It was a choice.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  11. OLE

    Welcome to the post christian west !

    January 26, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  12. Adam C

    So, the airline decides to stop handing out the cards, and somehow that's non-religious people's fault? Sounds like they are listening to their customers and making a business decision to maximize profits.

    Also, for everyone that says "If the plane starts to go down, you'll wish you had those cards", would the cards prevent the plane from going down? If god decided that plane should crash, would having a piece of paper with a religious quote on it be able to force god to change his mind?

    January 26, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  13. Jane Guelle

    Hey Guess what? My Goddess gave birth to your god.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  14. 3N1Amen

    Sad to say for all you haters of God, you will find out one day while burning in Hell that there really is GOD. He is the Alpha and Omega...beginning and the end.
    He created us to love Him. You see what happened to Sodom & Gomorrhah. IT's sad that so many don't believe or have faith...you don't know the difference between a fairy tale and the Truth.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • JT

      I feel the same way about people who do not believe in fairies. I know exactly how you feel. People can be so stupid. I only wished they would suffer unspeakable terror in eternal flames for not believing in fairies as they will in not believing in your invisible deity. It's just not fair.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Adam C

      If you lived in ancient Greece you would have been saying the same thing about Zeus. And you would have been just as wrong then.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • americanofficepolitix

      When you're burning in hell (really just another phrase for withering away into nonexistence,) for judgin a bro, I'll be doing something we young stereotypical atheist will be doing- finding truth in alternative views and in science.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • TAK

      What kind of an upside down world do you live in? Knowing the difference between fairy tales and truth is exactly why rational people are atheists.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • 3N1Amen

      Hmmm...and what if I was right?? It's tragic that you among many do not believe. Eternal torment in hell someday with gnashing of the teeth?? I'd seek God with your own heart and mind..not words of men.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • dabble53

      Another thumper who obviously has not actually read the story of S & G, nor understood the real "sins" they were punished for.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Left Coast Agnostic

      I think you are the one who doesn't know the difference between a fairy tale and reality....

      January 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • 3N1Amen

      Sin is sin "Dabble".

      January 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Adam C

      3N1Amen, if you were right, and there really was a god and a hell, I would hope your ever-merciful god would not condemn non-believers to hell for using their brains that he gave them to determine that it was highly unlikely that he existed.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Al

      you don't know the difference between a fairy tale and the Truth.

      The feeling is mutual my friend.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • sybaris

      THAT would be a good trick, hating something that doesn't exist.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • TrueBlue42

      @3N1Amen: You're going to have to come to grips with the fact that people can't believe what they don't believe. As a former reader of the "bible", it's obvious that you have no more proof or solid evidence of your god's existence than those who espouse the "koran" or any other "holy" texts. It would be so easy to pretend that I agree with you, but that's all it would be – pretense.

      You're certainly free to believe as you will, but you're never going to convince others who've dug a bit deeper and have every right to believe as WE will.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • RNB

      Rational people are atheist? So you're saying that 5-10% of the 7 billion people on earth are "rational" and everyone else is wrong?

      Wow. You bash fundamentalists, but you are blind to the fact that you are one yourself.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  15. Observer

    Repeat of a question that apparently stumped everyone:

    Can any Christians explain why they can't take along enough of their own religious material so they don't need reminders? If your own religious material is such a failure that you need an additional card, you might want to rethink your logic.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Many do take it but you might not be aware that not all airlines allow carry on luggage anymore. Think on it.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • 3N1Amen

      did you ever stop to observe for yourself that not many people carry their Bibles on board? Or perhaps some who may never have heard such peaceful verses in their lives? It was the company's idea to do these verses for THEIR passengers no matter what belief they were.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Observer

      Uncouth Swain,

      So people can't carry on books anymore? What airlines do that? Is a paperback Bible too big for any airline?

      January 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • JT

      You're missing the point. It's all about proselytizing. Christians seem to be the only ones who feel the need to do this.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Observer

      3N1Amen
      "not many people carry their Bibles on board?"

      Everyone decides what is important enough to take with them. Guess Bibles aren't so important anymore.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • dabble53

      I fly a LOT, and have yet to fly on any airline that prohibits all carry-on luggage. I've not even flown on any that count a book (e.g., the bible) as carry-on even.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Observer- "So people can't carry on books anymore? What airlines do that? Is a paperback Bible too big for any airline?"

      Lol...we were talking about carry-on luggage but I see what you mean. No..of course you can take a Bible on board that way and many do.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  16. NorthropP61

    Religious people don't seem to understand that not everyone HAS to share their POV. If a person wants to read the Bible or the Koran, let them, but don't start passing out verses for the rest of us top "appreciate". If you don't see things their way, they think you "hate God." Newsflash: I don't hate God, but I do STRONGLY dislike boring religious fanatics.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • 3N1Amen

      It's too bad that this company gave in to the "world" and has conformed to its many ideas.

      Don't fly on a plane that hands out Christian material. That's pretty easy eh?

      January 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • ifdsa

      You have a slight paranoia problem if you view little paper cards as conversion messages from religious fanatics.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  17. John Gabriel

    Religion is inappropriate anywhere except in your bedroom! I don't want to know about your dear Lordy or Allah or Jehovah.

    Keep your religion in your bedroom please!!

    January 26, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • booboo

      wish you could work with all the athiests who are spending thousands upon thousands to fly banners and rent billboards to do the same..

      January 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  18. IceT

    "Passengers on Alaska Airlines will no longer get a free Psalm with their meal." .. "FREE", as if it was something with monetary value.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Free is subjective.....like you opinion to us was free...as if it had any value.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • IceT

      lol.. the type of response I expected from a follower. Not reading/understanding the "monetary" part of the post .. very typical.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Oh..very judgemental. Are you a stereotypical "follower"?
      I take it you disagree with my @ssessment of the worth of your opinion. Oh well.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • IceT

      No, I don't disagree at all, my opinion isn't worth anything monetarily .. I just noticed that your post was about the value of MY opinion when what I was pointing out was the manner in which the writer implied the card's natural inherant value, & I found it kind of funny. But your comment was an attempt at personal insult.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      And your comment was an insult toward a faith system that many ppl believe in. Your point?

      January 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • IceT

      It's very telling of your nature that you would take an ambiguous statement & take it as an insult. Very Freudian.
      If you don't understand my point I won't be able to explain it to you, your mind is already made.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  19. lebleu

    I was upgraded to 1st class on an Alaska-operated Delta flight and noticed one of these cards on my tray. It was discreet and nicely done. I was surprised by it...an unexpected but nice touch. The message was encouraging and not offensive.

    I really don't understand why so many posters feel offended by a service they likely never personally experienced, yet are so compelled to denigrate others' religion in response to the article.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Casonfs

      Encouraging? No. Offensive? No not really. Obnoxious maybe. It's not even encouraging if you're Christian. (This is saying that the ones in the picture are the only verses).

      Actually, as an atheist I wouldn't mind verses from the Bible. As long as they are more secular in nature (i.e. not a verse as to why everyone should worship God).

      January 26, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • JT

      I have a feeling it upset more Jews and Muslims than it did atheists.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Turp Griswald

      Notes like the ones that Alaska Air have been distributing are a lot like SPAM to non-believers. No harm (usually), but a nuisance. I realize it gives some people a feeling of calm or can even be uplifting. But it has the opposite effect on many individuals. Would you be as open to getting a quote from the Torah or the Koran? In an increasingly divisive world, there is probably a need to curtail actions that create emotion (until we humans learn to deal with diversity/multiculturalism, which sadly many haven't). On a positive note, we'll save a tree or two and a little jet fuel by not having the cards on board. Bring your Bible if you need Christian comforting when you fly.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  20. evolved

    Alaska Airlines – welcome to the 21st century.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
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