It’s an end to a prayer era at Alaska Airlines. After three decades, the carrier is putting the kibosh on prayer card distribution with in-flight meals.
Alaska Airlines frequent fliers got the news in an email signed by Bill Ayer, the airliner’s chairman and CEO, and Brad Tilden, its president. The email cited backlash from some travelers who were offended by the prayer cards.
"This difficult decision was not made lightly. 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," the email said.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is among those making noise about the airline’s decision. Palin wrote a letter to Alaska Airlines and also posted a note on Facebook entitled, “Alaska Airlines’ Prayer Cards; It’s hip to be offended?”
“It feels so odd that some may be offended by a little card with an encouraging non-denominational verse from the Psalms, but how often do we hear complaints about tawdry ads or billboard images flashing at us everywhere we turn?,” Palin wrote. “People of faith and common decency just shrug and move on from the constant assault on their sensibilities; we don't call for censorship—at least I don't.”
In her letter to the company, which she also posted on Facebook, she told Ayer and Tilden that Alaska Airlines is her favorite. She also poured out other kudos on the airline before getting to her complaint:
“It’s come to my attention that the cards may be discontinued due to a few who are offended. I really hope this is just a rumor,” Palin wrote. “Please remain strong and courageous in the face of a cultural trend that wants to wage war on any positive thing that a few may construe as offensive. The Alaska Airlines tradition should be looked upon as an all-American, hopeful, encouraging gesture. Please don’t discontinue the cards.”
Alaska Airlines has not yet responded to Palin’s plea. What’s your take?
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