Well this is sure to be controversial. A Twitter user shares a video of an American Airlines gate agent praying over the loudspeaker, in order to have “a moment of prayer for our customers and our nation.” The Twitter user says this was taken by a friend yesterday at gate 38 at Washington National Airport.
In the video, the gate agent can be heard saying the following, among other things:
- “Teach us just to trust you Father God. With the virus, with the economy, with all that’s going on. Teach us just to trust you, trust you with all our heart.”
- “Father God, we need love, we need kindness. Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
- “Oh thank you Jesus, thank you for all that you do for us, Father God.”
- “Give us the fruits of the spirit.”
Here’s the full video:
Ummm excuse me, @AmericanAir? Care to explain why your agent at gate 38 at DC’s @Reagan_Airport (DCA) is reciting lengthy Christian prayers over the loudspeaker right now? So inappropriate, not okay. Insulting to ppl of other faiths/no faith at all. #shame #fail #ThursdayThoughts pic.twitter.com/kc1UpcTbhI
— (((John M. Becker))) (@freedom2marry) June 25, 2020
View from the Wing argues that there’s nothing wrong with this, that some colleagues and passengers may appreciate it, that there’s no reason to be offended, and that there’s nothing exclusionary about the prayer.
While I suspect the gate agent’s intentions were good (he’s not pushing the Westboro Baptist Church agenda, if they’re still a thing), I don’t agree with View from the Wing:
- While everyone should have religious freedom, this gate agent was taking advantage of a special privilege he has on account of being a gate agent, which is the ability to use a loudspeaker; other people can’t express their religious views in the same way, so why should he be allowed to broadcast his religious beliefs more than others?
- Where should the line be drawn here? Would it be appropriate to make a pro-life or anti-gay announcement based on selectively reciting the Bible?
- Could you imagine if a Muslim gate agent started reciting something from the Quran over the loudspeaker for a US airline?
- It would be one thing to offer a generic prayer, but the focus on “Jesus” and “Father God” excludes many
- I’m not sure I fully agree with the message of the prayer — personally I think our coronavirus numbers would be a little bit better if we focused a bit more on science than “trusting” in God (just look at the people arguing that mandatory masks are trying to take away from “God’s breathing system”)
- If the gate agent wanted to pray, he could have done so while not on duty, and not over the loudspeaker
Sometimes I don’t think it’s wrong for gate agents to offer some sort of positive message over the PA. For example, I think what this Delta gate agent did after Kobe Bryant passed was totally fine:
Anyway, I absolutely believe that the guy meant well, just as I believe that anyone who is praying in a non-hateful way means well. That being said, this is a slippery slope, and there’s simply no place for prayers to be expressed in this way over a loudspeaker, in my opinion.
I can understand that some people may have appreciated this prayer, but I’m sure those people may have felt differently if it was a prayer of a different religion over the PA…
What do you make of this American Airlines gate agent praying?