home
RSS
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. Burbank

    I would most definitely be annoyed with Christians shoving their religion in my face with my meal. Well meant, but totally inappropriate on an airline flight in today's global economy. What to do with the leftovers? Donate them to a Christian church to pass out at services.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You can always revert to walking.

      Amen.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      So HeavenScent, convince us you would have the same attitude if the card was anti your god, or ripped into the jesus myth.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  2. Asunja

    this whole discussion should not be turned into throwing insults. it has really nothing to do with Atheism or Christianity. it has all to do that there are many believes in this world. All should and need to be respected and that means no religion/believe should be pushes onto others. If a busieness ony wants to attract customers from one religion, go ahed and sponsor that one. If you want customers from all over, then respect all.
    I would not like to have a prayer card handed to me from another believe other than mine and I agree with their descicion.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  3. Snookums

    Hail Mary, full of grace
    Drop your pants, and sit on my .......

    January 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  4. tbone

    The sad thing about our society trying to be diverse, is that it has made any type of conviction obsolete and effectively erased diversity by claiming to respect it. Egan says, “A business that aspires to be diverse and inclusive shouldn't have a religious agenda." which sounds nice, but is just a way of saying, "For us, Bible verses were a gimmick, and we are looking for a different way to get more money". While this is sad, I would respect this an answer over a false claim of diversity and inclusiveness. The myth that one cannot be passionate about something and yet welcome someone who does not share his or her view has for far too long been perpetuated.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Andrew

      They could do it in less invasive ways, like In n Out posting psalm referances on the bottoms of their shake cups, it means nothing to an atheist like me, but nor is it getting religious imagry shoved in my face, and I'm sure some Christians take comfort in the fact that they are there.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Ancient Curse

      I agree, but we're not talking about individuals here. We're talking about a company, specifically an airline, that decided to push their ideas of God and scripture onto anyone that decided they wanted something to eat. This wasn't a meeting with friends, or even a discussion about religion. It's a meal, with a side of dogma. No thanks.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "but we're not talking about individuals here. We're talking about a company"

      As far as the govt is concern...is their a difference?

      January 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Come now, who are you non-believers kidding when your shoved "politically correct" down everyone's throat.

      Amen.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  5. Perplexed in Florida

    I don't see how quotes from the Psalms are "prayer cards", or even particularly Christian. I always though that prayer cards were a Roman / Orthodox Catholic folk tradition, with a saintly illustration and typically invoking an indulgence. Some Muslims use prayer cards also. The Alaska Airlines cards seem more like hymnal verses to me, and Jewish at that.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  6. Russ

    So yep, give me a prayer card for lunch and I'll hold it my hot little hand all the way to ground as we crash and burn. I know God will save me........NOT!!! A prayer card does one little good in a plane crash. A parachute, maybe, prayer card, not so much.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Jimbo

      So you are saying they should hand out parachutes with their meals? Your comment is irrelevant.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Vlad

      Who said anything about a plane crash? It looks like these were being passed out as a way to bring a little brightness to people's days.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Vlad, nice post except ... non-believers live in the dark, how can they see the card to read it.

      Amen.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  7. Tim

    It is sad that they decided to use the idea promoting religious to hide what is certainly a decision based entirely on cutting costs.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Burbank

      I can't believe how out of touch you must be to have said that. People from other religions don't want their airline flight meal delivered with an ad for Christianity. It has noting to do with cutting costs although that would be a benefit, it has everything to do with being sensitive to those who are not Christian and don't want something like that shoved in their face.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Burbank, oh, wait, atheists can shove their politically correct babble everyone's face, but, shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... don't say where the nonsense came from!

      Amen.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  8. NJBob

    Only a very powerful god could conceal the evidence of his own existence so completely.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • bao

      And of all of the gods that came before that god who also were so powerful they hid from view from everyone as well? And Unicorns? And the Tooth Fairy?

      January 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • booboo

      oh lord.. two athiests arguing with each other and not even know it.. cue to leave forum

      January 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • JayJ7

      yes booboo please leave, it's painful to read the result of such profound ignorance.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You'd think the atheists would get tired of changing handles all day long because they have no jobs. LOL.

      Amen.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  9. Comfort

    The atheist card does sound like a good idea.

    Imagine there's no heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky

    So comforting. Just a quick roller coaster ride to nil. That's where we were going all along.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • CEC

      Better to have false comfort, Comfort, than none at all? How do you select your false comfort, by the way?

      January 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • William Nilliam

      Nothing comforts.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Where's tallulah to voice her many complaints that you ripped off Lennon's lyrics? Oh, that's right, it only cares about the other non-believers in the world.

      Amen.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  10. Kevin

    Jeremy,
    As someone who is an atheist I see that you are creating a strawman arguement - the assertion that atheists proclaim gods don't exist. On the contrary, we atheists don't proclaim gods don't exist, just that there's absolutely no good evidence for believing in one. I would certainly have no problems believing in god(s) if only sufficient evidence were presented. To believe in something just because you cannot prove its non-existence is not a good reason for believing. Should we believe in unicorns, mermaids, the Loch Ness monster, etc because we cannot prove their non-existence? Of course not. As for atheists being angry, you need to get out more. Most atheists I know are not angry. However, you seem to be angry by calling atheists idiots. I will not sink to name calling. Just present me with the evidence for gods and I'll be a believer.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • CEC

      Well put.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Chad

      @Kevin " we atheists don't proclaim gods don't exist"

      atheism – Noun: "The theory or belief that God does not exist."

      January 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • literate

      Your argument is based on the assumption that we have all the necessary tools and intellectual capabilities to observe and measure the existence and impact of all things. Further your argument assumes that as humans, we will not develop new measurement tools, observational skills, or learn about new physical existences because we have reached our potential. Sorry, I disagree.

      The "physical" evidence you speak of may be there, but we just do not yet have the capacity to see it. However, the impact of that evidence is alive and well. Many just choose to ignore it. E.g. Black holes.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Vlad

      Kevin,

      I'm not going to defend Jeremy because I can't find his original comment, and I don't know what he said. I would, however, like to respond to your comment about whether or not one should believe in unicorns, the Loch Ness Monster, etc., despite not having any evidence of their existence.

      The difference between those who believe in God (or gods) and atheists is that a believer has not given up the search for evidence.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  11. VBinNC

    Ok, all you God haters . . . burn your money!! (better yet. . . give it to someone who actually does trust in God)

    January 26, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      I think most atheists would just be happy if we'd get rid of the Cold War relics on our money and in the Pledge of Allegiance. It wasn't there in the first place. No reason that it should be around now that we're all done with the Red Scare.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • really now

      First, find a god hater. It won't be an atheist because we don't believe in god.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • steve

      Do you even know when all the references to God on our money in the Pledge of Allegiance were put in place?

      January 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • NJBob

      @iamdeadlyserious– An excellent idea!!!!!

      January 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Observer

      Do believers use any common sense or logic?

      The ONLY people who can hate God are those who believe God exists. In other words: ONLY believers can hate God. Talk to your friends. Take some logic courses.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Ancient Curse

      "Do believers use any common sense or logic?"

      Ooh! Ooh! I know the answer to this question!! Ready? Here it comes!

      "No."

      January 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Ancient Curse, it's called wisdom ... then atheists of days gone by, typically ripped off His terminology and called it by another name.

      Amen.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Asunja

      Seriously? According to your post money comes from your god? As money causes so much evil, maybe I am glad I do not believe in christianlity.
      A little history lesson: the god phrase was not put on US money until the Cold War era – it was not wanted by the Founding Fathers. And free thinking people aer usually not haters. Only people so insecure in their faith, that they must stuff it down other's throats – regardless what religion.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  12. steve

    An airline has no business pushing ANY religion. I purchase a ticket not a sermon. Maybe if they want to affiliate themselves with a particular church or religion they should officially do so and market themselves as such.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • bao

      Amen Brotha.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Burbank

      Agree!

      January 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Vlad

      It's a private company. They can do as they please. If you don't like it, find another airline or complain. The complainers won. So...

      January 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Vlad, their just barking nonsense again, none of these atheists have a job to get a paycheck to buy a ticket on any airline.

      Amen.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  13. Daniel33

    Cue the crazy Christians coming to post outrage.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Of course...because the crazy atheists are just plain rude and shoved their way in first ;)

      January 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • booboo

      but your post is from a crazy athiest.. and you posted first.. weird

      January 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  14. John robbit

    Like a lot of the news that get reported, I say, "big deal."

    January 26, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  15. Jeremy

    Some people are just absolutely convinced that there must be a "God" or "No God" – both of these are equally outlandish claims. You can't prove either one.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Jeremy, let me try and explain this as clearly as possible: atheists don't "believe there is no god." We don't believe that there is a god. Huge difference.

      Let me give you an example. If I told you that there was a unicorn behind you right now, would you believe me? Oh, by the way, don't bother trying to find him: he's invisible, intangible and inaudible. But he's there. And his name is Chuckles.

      Now, if you're even semi-rational, you won't believe me. This requires no active belief on your part. You don't need to expend effort proving that my claim is irrational, because I haven't offered any support for it in the first place.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Chuckles the Invisible Unicorn

      Aren't you going to be in for a surprise.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • really now

      Since you keep repeating the same thing, you will get the same response.

      Theya are not equally outlandish. That's the whole point!

      January 26, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • booboo

      sounds like someone all caught up in the silly "prove it game".. too bad proof has nothing to do with truth. what if you were tripping on acid and i proved the unicorn was there by showing it to you? does that mean its true? ha ha.. proof only works on earth anyway, its a manmade concept and is totally subjective.. too funny.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • JayJ7

      Thousands of years of experience tell us that the universe acts in a way that does not produce infinitely powerful, invisible sky Fairies. Our experience lets us estimate the odds of God's existence conservatively as billions to one.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "he's invisible, intangible and inaudible"

      The problem with this example is that the God of the Judeo-Christian belief system wouldn't have anything in common with your theoretical unicorn.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • booboo

      jay.. thats about the most ignorant post ive ever read. you just make that up as you go along? really, millions of years proves that theres no god. and the possibilities and millions to one? ha ha, who came up with THOSE figures.. hilarious at best.. wow

      January 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      JayJ7- "infinitely powerful, invisible sky Fairies."

      Thank goodness no one beleieves in such things here.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      To claim that there is no god when there is zero evidence of a god is not outlandish. And no, @booboo, no one was playing the prove it game – just refuting the original claim that the two statements were equally outlandish. Another Logic Fail.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Really, Swain? You say that you have seen, heard (outside your head) or physically touched the actual divine being known as Yahweh, the god of Abraham?

      January 26, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "To claim that there is no god when there is zero evidence of a god is not outlandish."

      But is their zero evidence? Would not one's personal experience count at some level?

      January 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • JayJ7

      booboo That's how you make sense of the world. It's what every scientist does when deciding what things are worth investigating. It's a shame you are not equipped to form any rational view of the world.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Swain, if we use "personal evidence" as a valid form of support for an idea, then everyone should be Muslim. There's lots more personal evidence, by the numbers, for their faith than for yours.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Observer

      "proof has nothing to do with truth"

      "proof only works on earth anyway"

      So does the moon disobey all of the science "proofs" we have? Wow!

      Unbelieveable. It's hard to think anyone could blindly believe in such nonsense above. Our educational system has failed miserably.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      iamdeadlyserious- "You say that you have seen, heard (outside your head) or physically touched the actual divine being known as Yahweh, the god of Abraham?"

      I said nothing of the sort. However, if one takes their information upon the God of Abraham from the religious texts such as the Torah, Tanakh and the New Testament....God has been seen, heard and touched. To compare that to a quickly constructed idea of a unicorn named Chuckles that is invisible, intangible and inaudible is fallacious.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • J.W

      I havent seen Chuckles on here for a while, but now I know he was a unicorn behind my back the whole time.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @iamdeadlyserious- "if we use "personal evidence" as a valid form of support for an idea, then everyone should be Muslim. There's lots more personal evidence, by the numbers, for their faith than for yours."

      ??Are we confused tonight? I have yet to express anything of my own belief in this conversation.
      I also find you number's game a bit faulty in different ways. But mostly because "truth" isn't decided by who has the most numbers correct? If that was the case, their are a lot more atheists on here throwing out their thoughts than those of a faith and their is nothing to imply that they are correct.

      As with any evidence, it would need to be looked at with an open mind. Their is a part of me that does not think that could be achieved on here.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Anatomically Bombed

      "God has been seen, heard and touched."

      So who's to say the slight breeze blowing by my desk wasn't the wind from a swiftly passing invisible Unicorn? The sound of the waves crashing on the shore a few blocks away must be the hoof beats of the invisible Unicorn jumping across the sky. The smell of honeysuckle and pine in the air that could have only come from said Unicorn rubbing its soft white pelt against the trees and flowers in the field...

      So yeah, lot's of evidence of Unicorns, very little evidence of God though...

      January 26, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Anatomically Bombed- "So who's to say the slight breeze blowing by my desk wasn't the wind from a swiftly passing invisible Unicorn?"

      ~Is that what you believe?

      "The sound of the waves crashing on the shore a few blocks away must be the hoof beats of the invisible Unicorn jumping across the sky."

      ~Is that what you believe?

      "The smell of honeysuckle and pine in the air that could have only come from said Unicorn rubbing its soft white pelt against the trees and flowers in the field..."

      ~Is that what you believe?

      "So yeah, lot's of evidence of Unicorns, very little evidence of God though..."

      So you believe in unicorns...very well.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      iamdeadlyserious, you should change your handle to iamspirituallydead. Anyway, the reason I am posting ... did a unicorn do something in your cornflakes this morning? You seem to have some unresolved issues.

      Amen.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  16. Eric

    Chalk one up for intolerance.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Persecution Complex Detector

      How is it intolerant to just not do something? How is not handing out prayer cards possibly intolerant?

      Time to get over yourself.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • bao

      It's pretty damned intolerant to assume that everyone that gets on your plane needs converting from their heathen religion by shoving this crap in their face with a meal.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • booboo

      bao. pretty much the same amount that happens when an athiest WASTES money on a plane, flys a banner saying theres no god over public land, in front of thousands of people.. religion is werid like that

      January 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  17. Shara Jay

    Scripture says if we are ashamed of Him here, He will be ashamed of us later in front of God the Father. Take it or leave it.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Rick

      "Shara Jay
      Scripture says if we are ashamed of Him here, He will be ashamed of us later in front of God the Father. Take it or leave it."

      Shara Jay,
      Rational thinking dictates a nice belly laugh after your dribble. I think He needs to teach You to wake up.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  18. sharon

    Zomg: you are a bigot. Clearly, whatever your religion is, has done you no good.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  19. Liz

    I can bet that all of you who are making fun of the prayer cards and Christianity and the Bible, will be calling on Him to save you if the plane crashes. Thankfully for you, He loves you whether or not you love him back.
    "But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." (Psalm 86:15)

    January 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      I'll take that bet.

      Of course, I'd be dead when I won. But it's about the principle of the thing.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Fear Factor

      So, religion is a crutch that the weak minded need to deal with fear in the face of death. Noted. Not all of us need such a crutch – and if an atheist were to have a sudden death-plane conversion, why would it be to your god? I think I'd choose a god that was a little nicer than the christian tyrant.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • J.W

      Hey that helped me think of a hypothetical question for tomorrows speed read. If all of the gods ever actually existed which one would you choose?

      January 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • booboo

      so religions a crutch to help people deal with death? what about the 99 percent of the other times when theyre not.. uh.. dealing with death.. interesting how ignorant some people are about what religion actually is.. its sad really

      January 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • really now

      Liz,
      Even if we did call on him on our death bed, it wouldn't make the fairy tale any more true.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • J.W

      booboo that is just a common stereotype. For some reason atheists think that Christians are scared of dying. I have never understood why they think that.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • J.W

      Well I guess what Liz said might have added to that, but that doesn't mean that I walk around my everyday life thinking about what it will be like when I die.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • booboo

      really. imagine if you died as an athiest and found out you were right all along. theres no god and you just disappear, into nothingness. and become nothing..however, everyone who does believe in god are also right, and spend eternity having a great life.. that would be somethin huh..

      January 26, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Liz

      If you think my statement was entirely about death or the fear of death, then I'm sorry to inform you that you missed the point entirely. But what do I know...I'm just a weak minded (and apparently just all around weak) Christian. That's fine. I'll take it. God Bless.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Now where is that Christian that posted last year "when an atheist dies, they get all dressed up, with no where to go". I wished he still blogged his humor. He was cleaver.

      Amen.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  20. Kenneth

    I can prove their is a God. She just flopped over on my keyboard and started purring and demanding worship and treats.
    So, there!

    January 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Andrew

      So... if you don't believe in god, you deserve to own nothing in life? My, what a tolerant, open, and friendly christian you are.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Andrew

      O_o how the hell did the website respond to such a wrong comment? Seriously, this is quite a buggy interface.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Shara Jay

      Ken: use there, not their

      January 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
Advertisement
About this blog

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.