Moral Low Ground


Alaska Airlines Stops Handing out Christian Prayer Cards on Flights; Sarah Palin Upset

Alaska Airlines is ending its long-standing tradition of handing out Christian prayer cards aboard flights, and Sarah Palin does not like it one bit.

According to the Seattle Times, the airline will stop handing out the cards, which have accompanied passengers’ meal trays for more than thirty years. Since the airline stopped serving meals to coach customers in 2006, only first class ticket holders have received the cards.

Company officials insist the move has nothing to do with a frequent-flier partnership the airline has entered into with Emirates, an airline based in the United Arab Emirates, a Muslim country.

“This difficult decision was not made lightly,” Alaska Air Group CEO Bill Ayer and Alaska Airlines President Brad Tilden wrote in an email to customers. “Some of you enjoy the cards and associate them with our service. At the same time, we’ve heard from many of you who believe religion is inappropriate on an airplane.”

Former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is one of those customers who enjoyed the cards. She took to Facebook to voice her disappointment with the airline’s plan to stop handing them out. In a Facebook note titled “Alaska Airlines’ Prayer Cards: It’s hip to be offended?“, Palin wrote:

“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? 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.”

The problem is, Mrs. Palin, that “little card with an encouraging non-denominational verse from the Psalms” is still very much an endorsement of Christianity. Did Alaska Airlines distribute prayer cards for Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Rastafarians, Pastafarians, etc.? Of course not. Those who support the distribution of Christian prayer cards are hypocrites. Christianity isn’t the only religion. Christianity is not better than any other religion. Christians do not hold a monopoly on faith.

But as selective, discriminatory and hypocritical as handing out Christian prayer cards is, which religion the cards promote is actually of little importance. The bigger issue is whether or not airlines should be promoting any religion at all. Moral Low Ground believes they definitely should not.

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