In a form of travel non-distribution, Alaska Airlines says starting next month it will discontinue its decades-old practice of handing out prayer cards to passengers along with in-flight meals.
With the airline halting handing out prayer cards, which it has been doing since the 1970s, the Seattle-based airline says it wants to respect the diverse wishes of all its passengers and obviously feels that The Lord's Prayer is no longer palatable as a side order of spiritual nourishment to accompany Alaska Salmon in first class.
A controversy over the airline discontinuing its dissemination of God's words on high has been aired all over social media, including Twitter, with people expressing opinions split as widely as the parted Red Sea.
Even former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who has strong views about the separation of church and state, has chimed in, characterizing Alaska Airlines' decision as "nonsensical."
Somewhat comically, the cast of the ABC News TV show, The View, has discussed the issue, with Whoopi Goldberg opining:
I don't understand why you want to panic me. You come over with a prayer card, you're pretty much saying, 'Look, I'm not sure what's going to happen.'
Here's a video of a discussion about the prayer card issue on The View:
Wondering what to think about the issue and where to turn next, I consulted Jenn, Alaska Airlines' virtual assistant.
Jenn was totally willing to direct me to information about which Alaska Airlines flights offer meals for purchase, but the virtual assistant was perplexed about my prayer card questions.
The "conversation" follows:
Jenn: Hi, I'm Jenn, your virtual assistant for the Alaska Airlines Web site. If you need help or have a question, simply type it below.
You Asked: Hi, why did you discontinue the prayer cards?
Jenn: I would love to help you, but I am not sure I understand your question. Could you please rephrase that for me?
You Asked: I read that you discontinued handing out prayer cards with meals. Why?
Jenn: In addition to beverage service, you have the option to purchase a meal. Please check the details section of your itinerary to determine which flights offer food for purchase. Here's more about our Northern Bites Service. View Page.
God bless, Jenn. With a little reprogramming, she'll get it right eventually.