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Thu, Feb 12, 2004

Update: Church Asks American Airlines To Turn The Other Cheek

Religious Leaders Caution Carrier on Pilot Discipline

You may recall ANN's report on Monday about the American Airlines captain who is facing disciplinary action after recently asking Christians on his flight to identify themselves and suggested the non-Christians discuss the faith with them. Well, now the church is getting involved in this holy mess.

On Wednesday, the National Clergy Council released the following statement:

"The National Clergy Council, representing Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox and Protestant church leaders, will today caution American Airlines executives to carefully approach its investigation of a pilot who urged his passengers to talk to Christians on board about faith."

"This was not a threatening incident," said National Clergy Council President Rev. Rob Schenck. "At worse it was misplaced exuberance. At best, he may have helped someone with their spiritual needs."

While the pilot may eventually answer to a higher authority, the case was handed over to the airline's personnel department for an investigation, American Airlines spokesman Tim Wagner said Sunday. "It falls along the lines of a personal level of sharing that may not be appropriate for one of our employees to do while on the job," he said earlier.

The pilot, whose name was not released, told the airline that he suggested the other passengers use the flight time to talk to the Christians about their faith, Wagner said. The pilot also told passengers he would be available for discussion at the end of the flight. Wagner said the pilot had just returned to work from a week long mission trip to Costa Rica.

Stay tuned to ANN to see if either group throws the book (holy or regulatory) at the pilot.

FMI:  www.faithandaction.org/clergycouncil.html

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