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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. Mom

    Why do Atheists attack Christians only? Perhaps there are by far worse people... take a look at Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Muslims....... I'm sure you will see Christians 100% better and easier to live with than with them!!!!

    January 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Lol, who's smarter--you or your cat?

      Because they leave us alone, and you don't. Is that too complex a concept for your little rat brain to grasp?

      January 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • 21k

      ha! that did make me chuckle. spoken like a true white xtian nazi. good for you!

      January 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • sam

      In this country, christians keep trying to enact legislation to force everyone to live by their supposed rules and morals. That's a problem.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • The Phist

      Your religions are all equally stupid. Don't you worry your little head.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  2. Sic Semper Tyrannis

    When can we start having drone attacks against leaders of the AMERICAN Taliban? I'd gladly pay 100% more in taxes in exchange for that.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  3. KeninTexas

    “We have been keeping track over the recent years and we are receiving more complaints than compliments” says Egan. ..... This is a poor yard stick to determine the issue. You'll always receive more complaints than compliments regardless of what you're talking about. It's human nature that people are more likely to complain than to compliment. The folks who appreciate the cards, most likely just accept and savor the little extra and go about their business. Then you'll have the few who always find offense and love to complain if something is not to their liking. It's unfortunate that their voices sound so much louder sometimes.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Lol, who's smarter--you or your cat?

      Your Yahweh is the biggest whiner and tantrum-throwing brat in the history of the written word.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  4. One True Believer

    Love God

    January 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  5. Fat Albert

    Commandment XI: Keep thy religion to thyself.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Adam C

      +1

      The best Christian is a silent Christian.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • booboo

      i wish athiests would listen to this advice. sick of seeing their agenda constantly in the news and their religion pushed down my throat. im sure if they were allowed theyd take up arms and start the march for "freedom"..

      January 26, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • sam

      booboo...first off, it's not a religion. Second off, stick to Fox news and I'm sure your wish will come true, and you can stop imagining that there's an agenda other than your own.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  6. Daughter

    To be honest I don't consider atheists to be normal people.... if you take a look at Stálin and Máo, they shared same belief and that´s how it started. Being being born normal and raised normal will have faith, otherwise they are psycopaths :/

    January 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • sam

      Wow, look at your logic! Good luck to you living in the real world.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Jon

      Yeah, they are morans

      January 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • George

      Yes, Daughter, you are right. The atheists can't even see that they have a sick soul and character because of their mental illness.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • David

      To be honest, I don't find Christians to be normal people. They tell children stories about a god who flooded the whole world, committing global infanticide and leaving behind piles of bloated dead babies. Then they teach their children that this character and everything he does is the epitome of all that is good, holy, glorious, wonderful, and beautiful.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Observer

      Speaking of not being nornal, calling people psychopaths about something that can't be proved shows a real lack of intelligence.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • it ain't true

      Ouch... that hurt... associating me with such evil people... and all christians have to claim are Jim Jones, Hitler, Waco Followers, Priest for boys, and Jimmy Swaggart......

      January 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Observer

      George,

      Since you supoort Chick-fil-A, do you follow their principles and not go to any other businesses or attend sports events on Sundays?

      January 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • George

      They don't understand that their sick souls would be cured if they just repented. Otherwise they're going to burn in hell bent over for Satan.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • HellBound

      Were crusades done by non believers like Mao or Hitler? From Newton to Einstein all were non believers. Why are we forgetting what happened to Gallelio? Religion is the opium of masses and pretty much not necessary anymore, with the advancement of science!

      January 26, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Al

      To be honest I don't consider atheists to be normal people

      Let's see... Which of these groups of people perform ceremonies in which they pretend to eat human flesh and drink human blood?

      A. Atheists
      B. Christians
      C. Psychos
      D. Both B and C are correct

      January 26, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • K

      Your logic is flawed because you are mistaken – Christians do not pretend to eat real flesh and blood. You have not understood what you are attempting to mock.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're not normal, you boob.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Al

      K

      Have you been "Washed in the blood"?

      January 26, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  7. whatever

    I wouldn't have a problem with it... as long as they included ALL psalms and not just the "happy" ones. Here are a few I'd like to see on cards:

    "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." 137:9
    "Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth ... let them be cut in pieces." 58:6-7
    "Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell." 55:15
    "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow." 109:9
    "Let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun." 58:8

    Wow... I feel inspired.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • !

      troll.... that´s an atheist fake bible spreading their hatred

      January 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • sam

      '!' has never read the bible.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • whatever

      Not fake at all... even put the verses there to back them up... have a BLESSED day.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Kevin

      Of course these are real Psalms. Christians and Jews know that, read them, and also understand why they are in the Bible. The Psalms deal in real, human emotions and feelings, but there's more to these Psalms than the above comment deals with. Simply taking a verse out of its context and using it against the Bible or against believers is silly.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • GodPot

      @Kevin

      So taking the happy ones out and putting them in non-believers faces in an attempt to convert them isn't " taking a verse out of its context and using it against" them?

      January 26, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  8. Iggy Pop

    Everyone is wrong.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • bnb42

      The previous comment is false

      January 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  9. Sic Semper Tyrannis

    That thud sound you heard was ex-bukkake queen Sarah Palin's uterus hitting the floor in apoplectic shock. Considering the state's education level, it's doubtful many of Alaska Air's 1st class passengers could even read them. If you're going to hand out cards describing a fairy tale, you should at least have chosen The Brothers Grimm.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  10. Jon

    Aren't Christians the number one cause of atheism in the world?

    January 26, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Louisa

      Who cares if people turn to atheists... they are the ones' who will go to hell, not us :)

      January 26, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Shane

      Yes, Luisa, we're all going to "Hell" where a little red man in a little red suit and a pitchfork is waiting for you. You are ridiculous and possibly delusional.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • tokencode

      Yea because god hates everyone who uses logic rather than blindly believing in 2,000 year old fairy tales. What a joke.... If only people who believe in jesus go to heaven, then your god is an unfair bigot. I'd hate to have to live for eternity with a bunch of people who can't question the world around them anyway.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • booboo

      hey token. your idea of "logic" really only applies here on earth. so while you think you may be the smartest person alive, you actually got duped into thinking logic equals truth. and by the way, whats so 'logical' about only knowing 3 percent of the universe and assuming you know everything.. youre really operating on a LOT of faith there buddy

      January 26, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • GodPot

      your idea of "logic" really only applies here on earth.

      log·ic/ˈläjik/ Noun: Reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity: "experience is a better guide to this than deductive logic". A particular system or codification of the principles of proof and inference: "Aristotelian logic".

      Sorry to tell you that logic works everywhere, there are just lot's of places that we have not been so it's difficult to reason without any experience of principle. Religion, much like magic, makes claims that defy reason and logic in order to control the audience. They also both use slight of hand and misdirection to attempt to amaze the audience with feats that defy their logic which is why they keep coming back paying the full ticket price because they never get to see behind the curtain. I don't mind you Christians spending so much money on your entertainment, but when you try forcing others to come watch your magic show, the rest of us have to put you in your place and explain to you in small words how magic isn't real and the magicians are lying to you and we will have no part in it.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  11. Louisa

    IN GOD WE TRUST

    January 26, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      a phrase added to money during the cold war scare. you can trust in god, i'll trust in humanity, my friends and family.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • booboo

      booty, you trust in humanity? thats far worse. at least god is a mystery. we have PROOF humanity is vile at best. when left to their own devices will destroy each other. your kind of post makes me wonder..

      January 26, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • GodPot

      "we have PROOF humanity is vile at best. when left to their own devices will destroy each other"

      Um, sorry to break it to you, but we are where we are now by being left to our own devices. There have been great deeds done by humble caring good men and women throughout history, both religious and non-religious alike, as there have also been great atrocities done by both the religious and the non-religious, though history says far more were committed by the religious up until this century when the backlash in Asia against thousands of years of religious rule a handful of non-religious leaders struck back and killed millions. If you look at the museum of torture devices that could be used as a measure of how vile humans can become, you'll notice nearly all of them were invented by the church.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  12. Snow

    What is with the believers and their obsession with death? more than half the comments here are like
    – "Oh if the plane is going to crash and you are going to die, what would.. blah blah" or
    – "God make you burn in hell for eternity after you die if you don't .. blah blah" or

    why can't you focus on LIFE? why not live a good and happy life taking each day as it comes? unless you are too weak-minded, you do not need a book to tell you not to hurt other or steal what is not yours.. Besides, law enforcement is enough to keep those weak-willed people in line..

    January 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Louisa

      You forgot to take your psycho pills? Go and rest so you will see the physcical doctor tomorrow

      January 26, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • haha

      "physcical"? really? what are you a 2nd grade dropout? It is better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt

      January 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • tokencode

      People that just blindly believe in something without questioning it probably are not that smart.... give her a break...

      January 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • booboo

      token. athiesm is a blind belief. only understanding 3 percent of the universe and almost nothing about the human mind, yet people proclaim god does not exist, is a pretty blind function of logic. blind acceptance is as bad as blind denial.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • GodPot

      Boo. religion is a blind belief. only understanding 3 percent of the universe and almost nothing about the human mind, yet people proclaim god does exist, is a pretty blind function of logic. blind acceptance is as bad as blind denial.

      Hmmmm, funny how your logic works both ways there...

      January 26, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  13. Mike in sjc

    Hmmm, perhaps there's economic room for some upstart airlines that wouldn't offend insecure, thin-skinned unbelievers. Let's see, how about,
    "Trans-Atheist Airways"? "Wicca West"? Godless Heathen Airlines"?

    Any ideas?

    January 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • bnb42

      Godless heathen airlines.... Where the motto is "Nobody believes in god on our airlines so we won't be flying them into buildings"

      I like it....

      January 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • bnb42

      Godless heathen airlines.... (Of course we do need to look out for religious people with surface to air rockets....)

      January 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • WhinyLiberal

      Mike, I find you comment EXTREMELY offensive. You are obviously religious and therefore, possibly a terrorist. I have contacted the DHS and they have scheduled a full grope-down and interrogation for you before your next flight. And don't bother driving to your next distance-destination: We're deploying VIPR teams to ensure your safety.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • tokencode

      Actually I prefer an airline that doesn't support any belief system. Bring your own card with a stupid saying on it if it makes you feel better...

      January 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  14. JazzyMom

    I wish I wish there was no seperation of church and state... wonder what atheists would have said then....

    January 26, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Snow

      Then you would not have freedom enough to even say what you just did..

      January 26, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      we would say HELP! we are living in a theocracy!

      fortunately, there is a separation of church and state, put in by the founding fathers to protect against religious fanatics taking control.

      January 26, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • cory

      Thank you God for the seperation of Church and State in free countries. Amen.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • mike

      Then our country would just be like Saudi-Arabia or Afghanistan :)

      January 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  15. monkyspunk

    I'm curious how many of you in support of this would still be supportive if the cards contained passages from the koran instead of the bible.

    January 26, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • booboo

      yours is the exact comment from like 40 other people. nobody would have a problem if it was from the koran, or mein kampf. as long as it had been there from the beginning. if that many people took offense, theyd all stop flying and the airline would go under.. fortunately up to this point nobody cared enough to make a stink. now everybody stinks because the airline turned on itself and folded to the pressure of an arrogant religious group

      January 26, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Observer

      booboo,

      Nice fantasy. You and I both know that if the airline passed out cards saying "God is Dead" or "Praise Allah", Christians all over our country would go berserk. Why not get back to reality?

      January 26, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • booboo

      umm.. not really. i think if an airline was stupid enough to do that people would imediately refuse to fly and it would be a matter of days not months before the airline went under and reconsidered.. see, a card with a prayer on it isnt usually considered an atrocious assault on ones freedom (unlike what most athiests think) but one saying "god is dead" when 90 percent of humans believe in god in one form or another, would be sheer lunacy and laughable at best.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  16. Saliba Mahmo

    If Atheists showed their non belief in Saudi Arabia or Iran, they would have prayed to have their head attached to their body.... Americans are stupid not enforcing religion on everybody

    January 26, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Andrew

      Yeah, screw all that 'free belief' and those atheists with their evil 'you know... I'd kinda like some stronger proof than strong declarations of faith, personal accounts of anecdotal experiences, and claims that a book is divine just because it says so'.

      They deserve nothing but scorn, right?

      January 26, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • booboo

      andrew.. you fell for that troll comment hook line and sinker..

      January 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Andrew

      I'm currently waiting for stuffed chicken breast to come out of the oven, I need something to pass the time that isn't DNS resolution. Fixing my house's server is still actually more annoying than reading these comments, well, that, and all my reddit links are clicked for the time being.

      January 26, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • booboo

      same here.. i discovered a site that showed how to boil eggs, then you put them in ICE cold water for ten minutes, then roll em around and the shells just come right off.. its awesome.. no more peeling

      January 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  17. Jo

    Everyone is selling out...What if the Lord sold you out? What if God said to Himself one afternoon? Ok, if this Atheistic person does not repent I am going to toss him off a plane? This country has gone to Hell literally. American Spring will happen; no matter who say’s what. Look it up in your browsers, and the solar flares will happen. Look at the NASA website, and look under 2007 archives. I guess we will all wait and see what happens, but I love the Lord Jesus Christ as My personal Savior. If you do not that’s ok, but in Iran there are Muslim prayer cards, and I do not get offended, and they do not give a crud whether you are not. Stop conforming people….

    January 26, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Adam C

      You're right, we should try to emulate Iran more. They're definitely a good role model.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  18. Richard Cheese

    Good. They should have never been on the flights to begin with...

    January 26, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • booboo

      who are you to tell a business what they can or cant do? just because you dont agree with it? thats kind of selfish of you no? if people didnt like it they dont have to fly with the airline, then the airline would go out of business.. its not a government owned airline

      January 26, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • SurRy

      No one forced them. Sounds like the good ol' Free Market at work : )

      January 26, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  19. Faux News.... lol ignorants

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJJlgNf06ek&w=640&h=390]

    January 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Observer

      Beck is the clown who disgraced his hypocritically named "Restore Honor" rally by telling blatant lies about holding one of George Washington's speeches.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  20. Very Christian.....

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uuc2aWJnmQ8&w=640&h=390]

    January 26, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • booboo

      i curse the code that lets you people litter up a board with youtube videos.. please for the love of everything known to man, PLEASE stop posting videos

      January 26, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
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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.