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Alaska Airlines Sends Prayer Cards to Purgatory

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FAITH NO MORE
DailyFeed

If you’ve been a flier on Alaska Airlines (ALK) over the past 30 years -- or caught David Cross’ 1999 stand-up special, The Pride Is Back -- you’re probably well-versed in passages from the Book of Psalms like these:
  • I will praise God's name in song and glorify Him with Thanksgiving - 69:30
  • Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever - 107:1
  • I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name O most high - 9:2
That’s because these Bible verses and others have been printed on the airline’s own prayer cards and handed out to passengers along with their tuna sandwiches on meal trays since the late-1970s. But come the first of February, those flying Alaska Airlines will have to BYOB (Bring Your Own Bible) because, according to a memo sent to frequent fliers, the prayer cards will be discontinued.

“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,” said airline spokesperson Bobbie Egan.

This decision comes six years after meal tray service was suspended in coach. Still, enough first class passengers found them offensive and sent letters and emails to that end. “[We've] heard from many of you who believe religion is inappropriate on an airplane,” read the statement. “Religious beliefs are deeply personal and sharing them with others is an individual choice.”

And the devotional sentiments on the cards haven’t exactly curried passengers’ favor with the Guy upstairs -- considering the airline falls in the bottom half of major carriers in terms of safety records, as ranked by The Daily Beast. In fact, when Alaska Airlines Flight 261 crashed over the Pacific Ocean in January 2000 and killed 83 passengers and five crew members, it was the highest ever death toll of any aviation accident involving a McDonnell Douglas (BA) MD-83.

For a public company that has to answer to shareholders, presumably of differing faiths and backgrounds, it’s surprising the practice has lasted as long as it did. Private franchise In-N-Out Burger, on the other hand, will be able to wrap its burgers up in Revelation 3:20 for as long as the spirit moves it.
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