Alaska Airways will apparently stop, as of February 1, the practice of handing out prayer cards on flights, after some passengers complained. Never having flown on that particular airline I was not aware that such an odd policy even existed and I filed this story under the category of “What were they thinking?” It has apparently been going on for 30 years but in the last six years the prayers were handed out only in first class, since they came with a meal.
The people who objected may not necessarily be unbelievers, who would likely have treated it as a joke. They may simply be nervous religious flyers for whom being told to pray during a flight made them feel that airline travel is so unsafe that it requires divine intervention. As one passenger said, “I’d get a clutch in my stomach when I read it… My reasoning was, if they put that card on the plate, they must be worried that something bad was going to happen. If they’re worried, I’m worried.”
It reminds me of the study to test the efficacy of prayer in which the test group that was being prayed for did worse than the unprayed for control group because they thought that if others were praying for them, that must mean they were really sick and they became dispirited.