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Alaska Airlines to stop distributing prayer cards with

In this handout provided by Alaska Airlines, prayer cards of the type given to passengers on their meal trays are seen. After 30 years of giving passengers spiritual words to reflect on while they eat their meals, Alaska Airlines is retiring the prayer cards on Feb 1, 2012. Airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan says the decision was made after hearing from customers who preferred not to mix religion with transportation. She says the cards began as a marketing ploy to differentiate the regional airline from its competitors. The cards offer a rotating message of different psalms from the Old Testament. (AP Photo/Alaska Airlines)

In this handout provided by Alaska Airlines, prayer cards of the type given to passengers on their meal trays are seen. After 30 years of giving passengers spiritual words to reflect on while they eat their meals, Alaska Airlines is retiring the prayer cards on Feb 1, 2012. Airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan says the decision was made after hearing from customers who preferred not to mix religion with transportation. She says the cards began as a marketing ploy to differentiate the regional airline from its competitors. The cards offer a rotating message of different psalms from the Old Testament. (AP Photo/Alaska Airlines)

SEATTLE (AP) – Alaska Airlines is ending decades of giving passengers prayer cards with their meals, saying Wednesday the decision was made out of respect for all passengers.

Airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said the airline heard from customers who preferred not to mix religion with transportation. The decision reflects respect for the diverse religious beliefs and cultural attitudes of Alaska Airlines’ customers and employees, the company said in announcing the change.

“Some customers were comforted by the cards and some didn’t feel religion was appropriate on the plane and preferred not to receive one,” she said.

The cards began as a marketing ploy 30 years ago to differentiate the regional airline from its competitors. The company admits the idea was borrowed from another airline.

The cards offer a short excerpt of a psalm from the Old Testament printed on a beautiful photograph. One current example includes this excerpt printed over a beach scene: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.”