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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. Robh

    if I was flying Egypt Airlines and they handed me a Koran I would read it, at the end of the flight I might have learned something about someone else beliefs and I would walk out a wiser person. Those who feel offended for any little thing should go a suck on an egg, those that cave in from a few disgruntled people's pressure should go down like the cowards that they are.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      does Penthouse have an airline?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • sam

      You sound pretty sure in your snotty arrogance. A book would be nice...but these were just silly little Jesus trading cards that didn't even come with bubble gum. Not cool.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • booboo

      sam.. oops, your ignorance is leaking

      January 26, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • sam

      It doesn't leak, booboo...is english your first language?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  2. JazzyMom

    I bet atheists pray in secret, especially when being around with their atheists friends/family. I mean common, which moron and idiot will not pray to God when an airplane is going to crasch, or if a police pulled you over and you pray God for nothing to happen. Remember prayer changes!!!

    January 26, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • sam

      How does crash keep getting spelled wrong! HOW?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Hooligan

      if we prayed then we would not be atheists...

      unlike you we don't say one thing then do another..

      much like how christians banter on about god yet let the poor starve

      January 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Douglas Adams

      I hoped and prayed there was no afterlife, but then I noticed the contradiction and just hoped.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Fred Garvin

      Ignorant s.lut.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • booboo

      what if athiests are right and they die and turn into nothing.. but then what if at the same time religious people are right and spend forever kickin it in the eternity having some coolness.. poor athiests would never know.. ha ha (by the way, it is entirely possible for two distinct truths in the case, it doesnt have to be one way or the other)

      January 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • sam

      So long as I'm free of you jerks one way or the other, I don't even care.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • TR6

      @booboo:”
      what if athiests are right and they die and turn into nothing.. but then what if at the same time religious people are right and spend forever kickin it in the eternity having some coolness”

      I would much rather not exist than have to spend eternity stuck with the Christians on this board. Also there would be a lot of pedophile priests, televangelists and mega church pastors. No thanks

      January 28, 2012 at 3:45 am |
  3. Staring Horse with Tongue Stick Out

    Poll Question:

    Is George a fake? A troller? If so he is pretty good (and must have no life):

    I say: He is real. Real stupid.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • George

      God and His Truth will show you the way once you are roasting in the depths of hell.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Stick Out

      George, AFTER I am roasting he will show me?? Why not now before my complexion is all hosed??

      January 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  4. Granma

    Atheists... watch out..... one day you will be realize your big mistake and face your creator.... too bad I hope he will not forgive any of you

    January 26, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Hooligan

      yeah, and if that is the case why would I want the acceptance of a supreme being that acts like a small child throwing a tempet tantrum?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • sybaris

      How christian of you.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Stick Out

      Thank you for those delightful words Granma. NOW GET YOUR NASTY OLD B.ITCH A.S.S BACK IN THE GOD DAM KITCHEN AND MAKE ME SOME GOD DAM EGGS YOU FUK'N OLD FREAK!

      January 26, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • JazzyMom

      Staring Horse with Tongue Stick Out @ I love the report button your loser.... Hell will be waiting for you moron

      January 26, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Fred Garvin

      Jazzy...you ignorant s.lut.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Jon S.

      Don't you get it? Atheists don't want you to pray for them. Save your energy. And don't you realize that wishing ill on others is a sin? Don't you even follow your own religion?

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

      I sure hope you've passed these reassuring words of wisdom on to your grandkids like a good grandma should! LOL

      January 26, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Stick Out

      Hey, it is a sin to lie right? So if Granma is a FREAKY OLD BEEEEEOTCH what can I do? I am just trying to be a good boy.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • booboo

      like i said before, wouldnt it be something if athiests are right and they die and just disappear into nothingness. but at the same time religious people turn out to be right AS WELL and go kick it in the universe for eternity living an awesome time.. ha ha.. wow, that would sck.. for athiests

      January 26, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • sam

      I feel that God hates it when you repeat yourself for no good reason.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Glenn

      ...sounds like an evil creator, one who won't forgive. Good thing I don't believe in him, good thing I don't feel it necessary to drop to my knees every week to appease his holy ego. Really, why is it you believe in this vengeful ghost?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  5. LOL

    Atheists attack believers in blogs and online, but then in real life they are like p.ussy and chicken

    January 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Hooligan

      really?

      show me the statistics on that fact... also show me the statistics that proof there is an invisible man in the sky that does not come from a book over 3000 years ago.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Hooligan

      Sorry for my previous post.... I can't do anything about my stupid atheism belief.. please forgive me God :/

      January 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Hooligan

      and now one of you is making up fake posts in my name?

      damn... now I know how the Bible was REALLY written

      January 26, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • sam

      Good post from someone who's likely never seen a p.ussy.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Stick Out

      Why do you say that? You want athiests to stay in the closet like Gays right? You are paranoid they no longer fear your persecution and discrimination. I am OUT and I love scaring the Christians. Not on purpose mind you, but just SAY you are an Athiest and Christians will just fall apart. It is hysterical.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Jon S.

      You've got that backwards – atheists just want religion to be left out of everyday life – it's right-wing religious zealots that are sticking their nose in everyone's business, wanting everyone to be a true believer.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • booboo

      "atheists just want religion to be left out of everyday life " sure john s.. if that was the case why do athiests push their religion down everyone's throat all the time, every day. If you were truly an athiest you wouldnt be on this blog wasting your time talking about religion..

      January 26, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • sam

      1)It's not a religion
      2) If living in the light of God's love every day is enough, then you wouldn't be here posting either.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  6. Brof

    You know you do not really believe what your religion says about heaven/hell/sin/atonement, if you scrap its truth for political correctness. What a mess this country is in. Just another sign of the times. Just another falling away.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • sybaris

      "What a mess this country is in" blah, blah, blah.

      By your logic non-christian countries would be in chaos and that is certainly not the case.

      Here's a bit of reality for you, ethics and morals were not handed down from some old dude with stone tablets or a book of fairy tales. No, they evolved over time from the success of the group.

      Take an anthropology class. You'll thank me later.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  7. Agnostic Lady

    Question to Atheists: Would you rather have the government to observe Good Friday as federal holiday, rather than not observing it BUT keeping 'In God We Trust' on $ and national motto? Curios about your thought. Keep in mind that Good Friday is a holiday in 12 states already....

    January 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Hooligan

      I really don't give a %@#$ one way or the other

      January 26, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  8. seriously?

    I am not offended by the cards at all but I could imagine that some may be more freaked out that something bad is going to happen on the flight than put off by it not being their religion!

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

    O.K., since I want to be in a nation of rational thinkers, I'll go to one...providing those who want to be with their imaginary friend in the sky check out to go to him at the same time.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  10. Jose

    USA IS A CHRISTIAN COUNTRY AND WAS BASED UPON CHRISTIAN BELIEF........... NOW SHUT UP IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT AND LEAVE US ALONE!!! WE DON'T CARE IF YOU LIVE IN A GOTHIC PEGAN LIFESTYLE, STOP SHOVELING YOUR NONBELIEF IN OUR THROATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Hooligan

      Many Religious Right activists have attempted to rewrite history by asserting that the United States government derived from Christian foundations, that our Founding Fathers originally aimed for a Christian nation. This idea simply does not hold to the historical evidence.

      Of course many Americans did practice Christianity, but so also did many believe in deistic philosophy. Indeed, most of our influential Founding Fathers, although they respected the rights of other religionists, held to deism and Freemasonry tenets rather than to Christianity.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • sam

      w.t.f....is a pegan?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Hooligan

      also, stop shoving your pro beliefs down ours.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Ed Charles

      AMEN!!!

      January 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • George

      Right on, Jose. It's the atheists who want to rewrite history.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • bnb42

      George:
      History has already been written.....

      *Sigh* how many times do I have to post this....

      "The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation."
      – Treaty of Tripoli (1797), carried unanimously by the Senate and signed into law by John Adams

      January 26, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  11. Timmy never really read the Bible

    If an airline handed me a prayer card, I would tell the flight attendant I was ill. OMG. I would think, "why do they think I need to pray ?", "what do they know I don't ?" A very bad sign.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  12. Christine

    God Bless FOX NEWS! Such a blessing having that news channel..... without Fox News = Nothing on TV

    January 26, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Hooligan

      you be trollin

      January 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Timmy never really read the Bible

      So, nothing on TV then.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • bnb42

      So...what are you doing on the CNN blog?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • bajadelmar

      And without koolaid there would be nothing to drink???

      January 26, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  13. Rachael

    Frankly, if an airline starting handing me prayer cards, I'd be wondering if were suddenly going to have a need to pray...

    January 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • mike hunt

      lol i was thinking the same thing. what do these flight attendants know that i dont? am i going to NEED these or something???

      January 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  14. Ed Charles

    If non-Christians don't like the prayer cards, let them return to their countries. The U.S. is a Christian country, founded on Christian ideals. Let them go back to their pagan countries.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Stick Out

      Ed the clueless, I would love to escort you out of the land that I love. The less morons the better.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • sam

      Whoops...Ed's laboring under a very unfortunate misapprehension....sorry Ed. You either don't go outside much, or you live in the bible belt, which explains it.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • bnb42

      *Sigh* how many times do I have to post this....

      "The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation."
      – Treaty of Tripoli (1797), carried unanimously by the Senate and signed into law by John Adams

      January 26, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • George

      Amen, Ed.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Hooligan

      and I am sure you learned that "fact" in church right?

      Many Religious Right activists have attempted to rewrite history by asserting that the United States government derived from Christian foundations, that our Founding Fathers originally aimed for a Christian nation. This idea simply does not hold to the historical evidence.

      Of course many Americans did practice Christianity, but so also did many believe in deistic philosophy. Indeed, most of our influential Founding Fathers, although they respected the rights of other religionists, held to deism and Freemasonry tenets rather than to Christianity.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      You tell them Ed. Now let's go feast on some Jesus flesh and swill back on some of his blood!!

      January 26, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Timmy never really read the Bible

      "let them return to their countries" What an f'ing moron. First THIS is MY country. Return to a "different " Christian country ? Some people are just stupid ALL day.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • ol cranky

      I hate to break it to you but Christianity is an import. . .

      January 26, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  15. mike hunt

    So Christians proclaiming their faith to non-believers out of a pure concern for the soul of the non-believer and their overall well being is considered bad, but an atheist or liberal, for their own self gratification of feeling right, will try to silence and prove wrong the Christian for believing something, and that is somehow good?

    January 26, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Hooligan

      LOL @ pure concern

      January 26, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • sam

      I'm having trouble believing you really believe any of this stuff, Mike, based on your screen name. If that's your real name, your parents were clueless and you suffered a lot at school. If it's not, you're full of it and you're trolling.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • mike hunt

      @sam (if thats your real name) does my screen name mean there is any less truth in the words i write?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • christianlib

      mike hunt- why must you assume that a liberal can't be a Christian?? Jesus was VERY clear about many things: non-judgement of others, helping the poor, turning the other cheek. As far as I know, Jesus didn't have an opinion on scripture in airplanes. ALSO, just because one is a Christian and doesn't believe in other religions doesn't mean that there aren't many, many good people out there who are Jewish or Muslim or Hindu that have extremely strong feelings about their religions. Why should those people not be offended by religious scripture that they don't believe in? America (including Alaska) is a country that has from its beginning allowed religious freedom and discussion. I may not agree with other religions, but I believe that they have a right to exist and be practiced the same as Christianity.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • sam

      A name that sounds out to 'my c|_|nt'? Yes, it tends to take a little legitimacy away from your points. Very cute.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • mike hunt

      @christianlib right, so since this is a country of many religions, should religion be celebrated rather than specific religions (Christianity) be silenced for fear of offending another religion? Read the comments here. 90% is Christian bashing by atheists, not by Hindu, Muslim, or Jew. Most religious people appreciate and respect other people's religion and even if they don’t agree with it, recognize its right to be practiced and preached and shared and discussed. Atheists don’t. And I say liberal because come on, be real, you know silencing Christianity is part of the liberal mantra.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • sam

      Mainly because it's christians who can't seem to stfu for 5 minutes, my c.unt.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • booboo

      sam.. you havent been in a room full of athiests like i have who not only cant shut up, but insist on raising the volume every 4 seconds in an attempt to fill the room with their bad breath and religious rants about how everyone is wrong except for them

      January 26, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • sam

      Hmmm...booboo...replace the word atheist with christian, and the same thing is possible. Depends on who you hang out with/agree with most/have problems with. I know plenty of atheists and religious people who act like that, and plenty who don't. Online and in our government, however, they tend to be the former, sadly. Stop hanging out with attention wh0res like yourself and it will likely stop happening.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  16. J

    You reap what you sow.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  17. jeff

    What better place for prayer than an airplane.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  18. Hooligan

    I rode these airlines back in the early 90's... I dont remember these even existing.

    Also, I would rather thank my pilot for not being an alcoholic and flying us safely despite their near slave wages.

    Stop thanking invisible people and thank the captain and crew that really ARE taking care of you.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  19. Mike Scott

    I'm sure the wing nuts from Liberty Counsel will sue.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  20. ÅÄÖ

    Many atheists are against Christians, yet they still live in one of the most religious western countries in the world, if not, the most religious. Why not consider moving to another less religious, secular, nation and be free?

    January 26, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Stick Out

      This is a secular nation. You are lost.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Observer

      Because some people believe in democracy and the principle of the Golden Rule. Let those who want to force their religiou beliefs on others leave this great nation.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Hooligan

      because you dimwit this is our home too.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • David

      Observer, the Golden Rule is a quote from the sermon on the mount that Jesus gave before he was crucified.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:17 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.