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.
I'm a pilot who has flown commercially. If bad things start happening on a flight, do you want me to use my training, skills and experience or grab The Babble?
I wouldn't want you anywhere near the controls of an aircraft , you can't even properly spell the text you ridicule.
Apparently in an emergency, you are supposed to let go of the controls and look for the little prayer cards.
I would hope you'd leave everything in God's hands and PRAY that He gives you the strenghth, courage, and wisdom to safely land that plane!
Observer: you've seen the bumper stickers...Let go and let god – god is my co-pilot
Grab the babble. My favorite board game!
Jesus holds up the plane. The wings are his handles. Sometimes he gets distracted and drops the plane, but for the most part, Jesus stays focused if you pray enough. The pilot is just a silly little atheist who thinks that he can and must control the plane. He simply will not Let Go And Let God, as a good Christian knows he must do.
Plane crashes only occur if you have not prayed enough. Therefore, you should remember that the victims had it coming because they did something to piss Jesus off.
Lift, drag, laminar flow and that other ridiculous "science" stuff is just the way God keeps atheists from finding God, so that he can have fun burning them later for not havving found what he intentionally kept them from finding.
Ranger Rick said that God gives "the wisdom to safely land that plane!"
Which means my flight instructor was God. Well, it's good to finally know that God exists and now works for Air Uganda!
Anyone who thinks it takes strength and courage to land a plane has clearly never learned to fly.
That include a fiction Book by Charles Darwin?
Some also cal it the Bubble. For Catholics it's more of a Bauble. The prayer cards did an excellent job of removing the remnants of the boxed lunch from between the teeth and gums.
Use whatever you are really capable of using – science and belief are not necessarily incompatible. I remember some astronauts who clearly did not find it so and they were all top pilots. Benedict said it well "Ora et labora".
Then again, while flying in a regional airline overseas a few years back, I found each seat had a card with prayers in all major religions and languages for the successful completion of the flight (and, for one religion, "for the preservation of our wealth"). That was the last time our company used that particular airline. I like religion; I'm not so sure the card helps with your sense of proper maintenance, though!
I routinely toss in the trash religious literature and Bibles found in the hotel room where I stay.
That was one of the reasons I like to fly with Alaska. What a shame that they allowed some bigots to dictate for the rest of us who are believers in a great God. Whoever made the decision is foolish and a coward. If the enemies of God don't like little prayer cards they can fly with someone else. Believers are losing ground by not speaking up.
Speaking of foolish, why can't you take enough religious materials of your own on flights? Isn't what you have good enough?
Please fly with someone else. Everyone sees the diminishing Religious right of christians will probably be the terrorists of tomorrow, a temper tantrum because they aren't geting their way.
Hrm...bigots...what about Muslims? Confucianism? Druids? Cthulhu? Cast not the first stone...or something like that.
What, exactly, is bigoted about making a complaint?
Atheist are just jealous. Who can blame them? They go everyday believing in nothing but their own stupidity and lies. I'd rather die believing in God than die not believing.
Christians should form an organization that passes out non-denominational religious materials on flights.
Speaking of "believing their own stupidity", please tell us all about the talking serpents, dragons, and unicorns the Bible says are real.
I agree Pamela, what a shame that they allowed those who get offended dictate to them how they should, when they should and if they should witness to ppl. Sounds to me like they really aren't that God oriented in the first place
as long as you don't say the enemies of the Tooth Fairy.....
To BOTH Pamela and Ranger Rick:
So another human being must be a "believer" in your eyes to be worthy of your business, your respect, your trust and your consideration?
WOW. Congratulations on being so SHALLOW. Everyone has to meet up to your personal expectations, as well as being JUST LIKE YOU?
Interesting you call yourselves Christians. Only your god is worthy of judgment on the day of Rapture...but you seem to be doing just as well on your own.
It's telling that you consider non-Christians "Enemies of God." You realize you are the American Taliban, right Pamela?
Pamela: How would you HONESTLY feel if an airline gave you a thoughtful, hope filled, Islam prayer? Just curious
Well said Pamela!
Quite the contrary, too much factually unsupportable "speaking out" is ruining the reputation of your fraying legend in the "information age". It's sad how so many Christians think they're words and deeds convey the myth in a way that doesn't make them sound like evil bigots. The good news is they're getting easier to ingnore with each new ignominious revelation from the clergy. So sorry you're all so afraid of dying:(
Why were they doing this in the first place? How arrogant to assume that the entire world is a practiing Christian.
The world would be a better place if everyone was a practicing Christian
"Justsayin", the world is not a bubble. Wake up.
I agree just sayin'. I think that since the world, and especially the United States, has removed prayer, and Christianity from their everyday lives we have gotten far worst than we were even 10 yrs ago when king george was at the helm.
With your Evangelical christian at the lead we started a war based on a lie, costing us trillions of dollars and over a hundred thousand innocent lives. How is it that we're worse off now?
@ Facepalm – Something tells me Ranger Rick does not consider Afghans and Iraqis "innocent" lives. They are guilty of following the wrong religion.
I want the science channel, discovery and Nat GEO taken off my cable and sat. provider I find them annoying and stupid. Please consider my emotions and feelings too.... See how dumb that sounds. thats how people who applaud this looks, get a life and stop crying so much. By the way give all your money away too IN GOD WE TRUST is on it.
Psst... what little brain matter you have is leaking out of your ear...
Amen Brother JB!
The day you support allowing prayers from the Qoran on your flight is the day I'll believe you.
IN GOD WE TRUST...awesome!!!!
good analogy. I mean there is only like three channels, right? Cause when i get on the plane i have many prayer cards to choose from. Oh ya, and its a plane, im not on it to read prayers. TV however, i think im there to watch TV.
Well boy howdy if its written on a dollar it's virtually assured! I had a buck on which somebody inscribed, "Gina gives great ...." Now that's the gospel... Testify Gina!!! In any event, my debit card says "in god we trust-fund baby".
Nicely put, JB. Quiet about that "IN GOD WE TRUST", though. They'll want to remove that too, these reasonable ones.
There is no reason to be upset about this. If people do not like it they will just not fly on this particular airline.
And so we, (hubby and I ) SHALL :)
Oh yes we SHALL find another airline...indeed!
Hah Hah!!! Oh,...SHALL you R. Diane,...SHALL you? Shall you seek one that dost deliver unto thee only the holiest of scripture? Shall you seek far and wide to find yet another airlise to help fill the hopeless void inside you that can only be placated with snippets of stale Bible verse... Methinks thou shalt be most disappointed then, since the only reason this is big news is because Alaska Airlines has been one of the only airlines to do this in the last 4 decades...The rest gave up this voodoo long ago... Happy hunting!
Good. I found it offensive. I am atheist and having any religion pushed on me, especially during my paid flight and my paid meal, is insulting. Keep it in your churches, out of businesses and ou of politics.
BTW anyone every wonder why the republicans latch on to church? Because the only way they can get the votes they need to advance their greedy company centric ways is to appeal to the religious right. Trust me, most of them could give a crap about your religion, they are using you to advance an agenda that is bad for this country and you suckers buy it because you only care about your religion and forcing it on others.
You're living in America, man. We are a religious country. If you want your atheist crap, move to North Korea.
Not even close on any accounts (except for the repub politicians faking religion). I'd advise you to try and do more research into what Christianity and Jesus is.
FYI listening to atheist bobbleheads or even Christian bobbleheads isn't going to give you any knowledge.
If you want religion everywhere in your country, including politics, move to Iran.
If you want religion nowhere in our country, move to N. Korea................See how dumb such an ignorant statement sounds?
@Tard: so you are saying that Religion and the Republicans are together in making this a better place? So you think we should crap on the middle class and poor in favor of inequity? You think health care is a privilege and not a right? You think being diverse and respecting others, at the same time forcing your edict on everyone os the way to go?
Sorry, this is why the religious right is dying.
America is my country. Iran is not. Moreover, I am a Christian and not a Muslim. My job is to help get America back to God.
Note: This country was FOUNDED on religion. People who find the offensive just shouldn't look at them. It isn't being forced ON you, it's being handed TO you as an OPTION.
This country was founded on freedom from religious persecution. but the government was not founded to be religious. That is why we have laws regarding Separation of Church and State. You can practice you religion and feel free to do so without persecution form the government. But you cannot inject your religion into politics and try to make it a standard for the country. I have no issue with people who believe in religion. Its fine if you believe in whatever you want. but it is a personal choice. Keep it to your self. It is not your job to convert everyone, it is not your job to transform the US into a religious state.
i am so offended that people keep saying this is a religious country founded for christianity. It is not. It is a country founded to protect the rights of whoever is a member of it, regardless of their religion or non belief.
Please try reading something on our founding fathers and their views on religion. I'd start with the author of the declaration of independence and the father of the consiti.tution. And then stop spreading obvious lies.
'If you want religion nowhere in our country, move to N. Korea................See how dumb such an ignorant statement sounds?'
–Why is it ignorant? If he can't stand religion or religious people. Then he should move to a country where it's outlawed, like North Korea. Then he won't have any religious people to bother him.
George, you are a liar. America is not a religious country, even though the majority of its citizens are delusional believers. Seems your man Newt got caught lying – are you still going to vote for a lying fornicator?
Wow LawnSausage, you are one hell of a "wuss". It seems that the word "god" simply eats you alive, and you can't control your emotions, so you have to complain to the rest of the world about it. Then you pretend to know about the founding father's intentions. You most likely also think that the founding fathers were atheist, just like you. That belief probably gives you this warm and fuzzy feeling of belonging. Well let me tell you, all of the founding fathers considered themselves, Christians. That is a fact, and simply because they did intend to separate church and state, does not mean that they did not want god in the government. I'm almost certain that they would have had a brain, which told them, there is no way anybody will get offended by the word god on their money. After all, how can anybody get offended by the word god. It is a three letter word, that is not forced upon it's citizens, nor is the government discriminating against non-believers, so how the hell can anybody be offended. In addition, this is a private enterprise, which promoted this policy. Again, you also want them to cease the policy. Well, looser, you bought the ticket, but maybe you should research what you purchase. Don't simply get offended at the company's policy, look into the mirror and ask yourself. "Did I buy an airplane ticket that could lead me to an airplane which contains these super dangerous religious quotes"? This might seem overboard, but you seem so offended, maybe you need to watch out what you buy.
To all you in this thread responding that this country was founded on religion and Christianity, you've apparently never read the Treaty of Tripoli, written by America's founding fathers in 1796, merely 20 years after the birth of our nation... In article 11 of that treaty, it specifically states:
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."
Sorry folks,...if you've been led to believe that this nation was founded on religion, specifically Christianity, you're wrong, according to the very founders of our nation... If you want a government that immerses itself in Christianity, you need to go find it elsewhere... As for the rest of us, we need to keep insuring that there will ALWAYS be a separation between church and state...
The whole if you don't want religion move to N. Korea argument is flawed. They WORSHIP the dear leader, every single one of them MUST be religious or they get tossed in jail. The only difference is, they can actually SEE what they are worshipping. Oh snap.
You whinning atheist. If I tell you how great my kids are, am I forcing my family on you? If I tell you how great the NE Patriots are, am I forcing my football down you throat? If that's how you think, you need social services. If I tell you how wonderful I find Jesus Christ to be, or how fantastic the contents of the Holy Bible are to me, I'm hardly forcing my religion on you, though I can see how a dark mind would think that. You sorry atheists are just a pack of asocial twits.
Now if a private company, that is not bound by the first amendment, can do this, why can't the federal government that IS? If you don't like receiving the cards, you can always switch to another airline (or not fly at all). But there are times a person is REQUIRED to go to a court house or other government building, they don't have a choice. That is where a person should not be exposed to religious dogma.
ahh but here is the quandry: Alaska has sole possession of dozens of routes. So a consumer is forced to fly with them to get from point a to point b in many cases.
but aside from that, its just bad business and risking litigation to present these crds. If you need a verse on the plane, they make a bible pp or what the hell, just bring your bib;e and read it! Dumb.
How about not pushing your weak atheist "reasoning" on the rest of us. How about that? If your so "reasonable", look at this: Religion is obviously a huge part of the human experiance. Why don't you get that?
This is ridiculous. People don't have to see them or read them. No one is going to be converted because of a prayer card. This is crazy!
It's not ridiculous at all... And yes,...if the "prayer card" is placed right there on the tray with their meal, then the customer IS being made to see it... It's Alaska Airline's right to run their business any way they want to... They had been doing this for decades, and if they now feel that their business might get hurt by too many complaints recently about having religious materials included in a meal that their cusomers pay for with the price of their ticket, then the airline is wise to consider stopping it... It's just good business... If Christians decide that they now no longer want to fly Alaskanw Airlines, that's their business too,...but at that point, they're the ones being intollerant, since it's not as if Alask decided that they needed to start distributing cards saying that Christbanity is a lie.
I agree with MM; the little cards can be read as scripture, enjoyed for the pretty background pictures, or ignored. To take offense at them is self-important and bigoted. And if I found a card with verses from the Qu'ran, or an eastern religion, or The Book of Mormon, I would read , and have read, them with tolerant or kindly interest. If one believes in a different concept of God, He is big enough to tolerate it, and if one does not believe in God, then how are you hurt by another's concept of how one should get through life, even if you disagree?
And no I am nor right wing nor a Republican. Call me tolerant. We need more of this.
For those of you upset I have one question. What would have been your response had they distributed verses from the Koran?
I know, exactly! Politics, companies, if they have broad market then they cannot be forcing the idealogy of one group on the rest.
Depends on the verse.
No, I would not but the odds of that would be slim in the U.S. since the majority is still Christian. If I had these verses of the Koran on Emirates per say, it would make sense for that airline and I would not be offended. To each his own.
The Oblame-man would not allow this without some muslim messages included – as he said at the State Campaign Speech – we need to cater to Christians Muslims and jews – he forgot to mention buddists ?!
Yes Karin, because the President controls what Alaska Airlines decides to do. Get a grip.
And Muslims? Confucianism? Druids? Cthulhu?
You sound like you have something against Buddhists.
Congratulations on TRYING to turn this into another perceived mark against Obama. I D I O T
the vast majority of people when offered a good service or product don't take the time to compliment. but many will complain. so the fact that only 141 complimented and more complained doesn't really mean anything. if anything, they should do a tally of those that received a card, and compare it to how many complained.
in 4 years, they received 242 complaints, thats roughly 1.26 complaints a week. how many passengers did they service in first class a day??
Just think of all the weight each day they will save by not having all that paper flying around. Financial windfall at least.
If the plane starts having trouble,Ill be cursing those who spent money on cards instead of engine repair and mechanics.
How much could something like this cost anyways?Its an unnecessary extra in a time when airlines are trimming all the unnecessary items.
I would hope you'd PRAY instead of cursing, should your plane start to take a nose dive.....
Not everyone believes in a diety, Ranger Rick, much less yours specifically... You should be "thanking god" that this discussion has given you such a surplus of air-time to vent your ravings... (Allah, Buddha, Krishna be praised...)
Prayer changes things
So does religious fundamentalism. Our cult is better than your cult – just ask us!
demon fears the truth behind prayer
Ignorance keeps people down as does religious dogma.
Educated people = life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
"A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything" – Friedrich Nietzsche
Really? How so? Please provide evidence to back up such a drastic statement.
Really? I'll place a bet with you:
You pray that tomorrow hunger and disease will be ended.
I won't pray.
Lets see what happens.
Activism changes things.
War changes things.
Charity changes things.
Conservation changes things.
Love changes things.
Prayer changes nothing.
Another small but meaningful way that Christianity is under assault.
It's sad that Christians need cards to come up with prayers for them.
What about Buddhism? Muslims? Confucianism? Druids? Cthulhu?
Under assault? Wow. Someone doesn't assault your beliefs by not giving you a card with some words on it.
And thank god for that.
It isn't "assaulting" a religion to ask that religion not be broached with strangers.
You make no sense! I don't believe in god, but for gods sake don't get offended by a tiny card, you looser.
@ Chris...well said!!
Hilarious how people (mostly atheists) want to get offended over a little card, shows how insecure atheists really are in their beliefs. If I was flying a Muslim airline or an atheist airline and they gave me a card that says something peaceful (according to what they believe, or lack there of lol) then I'd take it and eat my meal, doesn't mean I'd change my views or become offended and claim they're ramming their beliefs down my throat. If they preached during the whole flight then, yea, you've got a problem then.
Atheists make me laugh at their hypocrisy.
A an atheist, I wouldn't care. Congrats to you if you wouldn't care if, say, AirTran started handing out muslim cards. But if you think Christians in this country wouldn't be totally up in arms about such a decision then I have some wonderful ocean-front vacation property in Nevada you might like.
I think if you were on a Muslim airline you would be more interested in them providing parachutes
Not really,thats a bigoted thing to say,but have you seen the state of travel in third world countries(not necessarily muslim)
I couldnt Imagine flying in a plane in a country with lower standards in airplane condition.
Did they ASK "Sir / Madame, would you like a prayer card?" Very, Very doubtful. They handed it out, regardless of the faith (or lack of same) of the receiver. THAT'S the problem, and why it's 'religion down [our] throats'. You didn't ask to spread YOUR religious word, you just did it. And then you expect everyone ELSE to just accept it...or move on.
Why didn't YOU "move on" instead of passing around a card that makes a statement based on a singular viewpoint?
Good for them, I appreciate it. Keep your religion to yourself, thanks.
just let the pilot make the sign of the cross before he takes off and be done with it
Good thing they got rid of those prayer cards. Who knows what would have happened if people read them. Absolute chaos I'm guessing.
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.