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First interview with pilot who told Christian passengers to raise hands
Advocate (via Christianity Today) ^ | Feb. 10, 04 | Pilot Roger Findiesen/Compiled by Ted Olsen

Posted on 02/10/2004 12:37:00 PM PST by churchillbuff

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1 posted on 02/10/2004 12:37:04 PM PST by churchillbuff
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To: Modernman; SJackson; Bella_Bru; ken5050
here-we-go-again PING
2 posted on 02/10/2004 12:39:49 PM PST by EggsAckley (..................**AMEND** the Fourteenth Amendment......(There, is THAT better?).................)
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To: churchillbuff
Doesn't sound like what he said was all that objectionable.
3 posted on 02/10/2004 12:40:27 PM PST by Lazamataz (I know exactly what opinion I am permitted to have, and I am zealous -- nay, vociferous -- in it!!!)
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To: churchillbuff

4 posted on 02/10/2004 12:40:50 PM PST by Zavien Doombringer (If a Democrat falls from office and nobody is around will they make a sound?)
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To: churchillbuff
There's actually no regulation against doing what I did

From what I read there is, it falls under "personal sharing" according to American Airlines.
5 posted on 02/10/2004 12:41:40 PM PST by lelio
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To: Lazamataz
I would prefer that my airline pilot not be too confident about going to Heaven.

I'd rather fly with a pilot who's somewhat concerned that he might burn in Hell.

6 posted on 02/10/2004 12:42:09 PM PST by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: EggsAckley
I can here it now: "I'm American, come fly me!"
7 posted on 02/10/2004 12:42:11 PM PST by battlegearboat
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To: battlegearboat
here=hear
8 posted on 02/10/2004 12:42:50 PM PST by battlegearboat
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Interview with American Airlines pilot who told Christian passengers to raise their hands
"If you have five minutes, I'll tell you why I did it," American Airlines captain Roger Findiesen told Advocate.com as Flight 34 had all but emptied out after its arrival at New York's JFK Airport, on Friday, February 6. "I felt that God was telling me to say something [to the passengers]."

Findiesen is the pilot about whom CNN and other media have been reporting since Saturday; even The New York Times ran a story about how an American Airlines pilot, using the P.A. system before takeoff from Los Angeles International Airport on Friday morning, requested that Christians on his flight identify themselves.

As the plane sat immobile, waiting for its slot to take off, Findiesen asked Christian passengers to raise their hands and said that "everyone else on board" might want to "make good use" of the flight. The implication was that non-Christians should learn about the Christian faith from the passengers who had raised their hands.

Passenger Amanda Nelligan told WCBS-TV of New York that the pilot called non-Christians "crazy" and that his comments "felt like a threat," although other passengers remember the word "crazy" having been playfully applied to the Christians on board. Nelligan said she and several others aboard were so worried they tried to call relatives on their cell phones before flight attendants assured them they were safe and that people on the ground had been notified about the pilot's comments.

Findiesen's identity has been shielded by American Airlines, but the pilot spoke candidly to The Advocate and Advocate.com editor in chief Bruce C. Steele, who identified himself to the captain at the end of the flight. Findiesen then confirmed to Steele his identity, the spelling of his name, and that his home base is Washington, D.C. At no time did Findiesen mention homosexuality or say anything antigay. During the three- to five-minute interview, he was positive and upbeat and interested only in explaining the importance of witnessing about his faith.

What Findiesen said, as best the stunned passengers could recall once they were able to move about the cabin and confer after Flight 34 took off, was this: "I just got back from a mission," Findiesen said after making a routine announcement about the plane being second in line for takeoff. "You know, they say about half of Americans are Christians. I'd just like the Christians on board to raise their hands."

In the suddenly hushed coach section of the airplane, a few nervous passengers raised one hand, most no higher than shoulder level, none above tops of the seats.

"I want everyone else on board to look around at how crazy these people are," the pilot continued, with an intonation suggesting he was using the word "crazy" in a positive, even admiring manner. Evidently addressing the non-Christian passengers, he concluded that they could "make good use of [the flight], or you can read your paper and watch the movie."

The movie on the flight was Under the Tuscan Sun, with Diane Lane and Sandra Oh as Lane's lesbian best friend.

Findiesen did not directly ask Christians to witness, nor did he explicitly ask non-Christians to talk to the people he imagined were raising their hands, but the implication that he hoped such interactions would take place was clear, and he confirmed his desire to foster religious discussion in his interview with Advocate.com.

"I just wanted to give Christians a chance to talk about why they're Christians," he said, standing in the forward galley at the end of the flight as the final passengers departed. "I obviously couldn't go back there and address everyone directly, so I used the P.A.

"I just got back from a mission in Costa Rica," said Findiesen, a tall white man with neatly trimmed thick white hair and a mustache, both lightly peppered with black. "I felt that God was telling me to say something." He went on to explain that he felt God wanted him to witness to the passengers on his first flight upon returning to work for American Airlines after his mission. Despite this feeling, he said, he had decided not to say anything--but then he got another sign from God.

A minor problem with the plane's braking system had developed during final checks before takeoff, he said, a problem that might have grounded the aircraft, on which every seat was taken, in part because another American flight from Los Angeles to New York had been canceled that morning. But after a simple maneuver involving a power source, the braking problem inexplicably "disappeared," Findiesen said, and the plane was cleared for departure, and that's when he knew he had to use the P.A. system to talk about his Christian faith.

Flight attendants were inundated with questions and complaints, and the pilot came back on to the P.A. system a couple of hours into the flight to apologize: Not to the paying passengers, but to the flight attendants. "I'd just like to apologize to the flight attendants" for the remarks he had made before takeoff, he said over the P.A. He said he had heard the crew had "taken a little heat" for his witnessing and that he would be available at the end of the flight to answer any questions or hear any complaints himself.

He then apologized again to the flight attendants and ended his announcement.

Asked by Advocate.com whether he felt he should also have apologized to his passengers, Findiesen paused. "I felt bad for the flight attendants," he said. As for the passengers, he said that he felt making himself available to talk to them as they deplaned was sufficient.

Asked whether it was part of his job as an American Airlines pilot, trusted with the safety of hundreds of passengers, to witness about his faith from the cockpit, he said it was not. But, he asserted, "there's actually no regulation against doing what I did." He also reminded Steele that the plane was not moving at the time of his original announcement.

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.

Because of privacy issues, there would likely never be any announcement about what kind of punishment or reprimand the pilot may face, Wagner said.

While Findiesen repeated to Steele that he was sorry his fellow crew members had taken heat for his comments, he expressed no regret for having made them and no regret for not having apologized to the American Airlines customers he was serving on the flight. But, he added, "I won't do it again, if you want to make a big deal of it."

9 posted on 02/10/2004 12:42:58 PM PST by george wythe
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To: Lazamataz
Doesn't sound like what he said was all that objectionable.

Doesn't sound like what he said was part of his job description.

10 posted on 02/10/2004 12:43:38 PM PST by gdani (Have you played Atari today?)
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To: battlegearboat
LOL!
11 posted on 02/10/2004 12:43:41 PM PST by EggsAckley (..................**AMEND** the Fourteenth Amendment......(There, is THAT better?).................)
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To: billorites
I'd rather fly with a pilot who's somewhat concerned that he might burn in Hell.

Meet your pilot Mohammed Abdul al-Wokka-Wokka, who is VERY concerened that he might burn in hell if he keeps flying these infidels around...

12 posted on 02/10/2004 12:46:35 PM PST by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: churchillbuff
"There's actually no regulation against doing what I did."

Actually, I bet there is such a regulation at AA.

For me, I want the pilot of any airliner I'm on to fly the darned plane. If he has an important safety announcement to make, then I want to hear from him. If he wants to point out some interesting feature on the ground, that's OK, too.

I don't want to hear about what he had for dinner, his date with the flight attendant, or his religious beliefs. I want him to pay attention to his job and fly me to my destination.

I'm sure it's very nice that he went on a misson trip. I'm sure he's all "filled with the Spirit" right now. That's great. Let him talk the copilot's ear off about it, although I'd rather he was going through the pre-takeoff checklist instead.

You've all seen the signs in the bus: "Do not talk to the Driver." The reverse makes just as much sense. Pay attention to your job, Mr. Pilot, and leave me alone.
13 posted on 02/10/2004 12:50:33 PM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: george wythe
I'm wondering if any of the passengers DID talk to him on deplaning. I know that *I* would have had a few choice words with him!
14 posted on 02/10/2004 12:50:53 PM PST by EggsAckley (..................**AMEND** the Fourteenth Amendment......(There, is THAT better?).................)
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To: EggsAckley
I'll just paste what I said on the other thread.

............

You touch an important point, that there is a safety rather than religious concern in play here.

Presuming everyone has forgotten 9/11, it might be fair to say that the hijacking risk in this country was a free trip to Cuba. That's not a universal experience though.

A number of times a similar question, usually requesting identification of Americans and/or Jews but designed to segregate passengers, has been asked on airplanes and on occasion ships. It's generally asked after control of the particular means of transport has been achieved, and has frequently ended in death.

It sounds as though the nature of this incident was known rather quickly, but a pilot, presumably aware of the history of hijackings, should know better. A reasonable person could have concluded something was wrong, in fact it sounds as though a number did. There could have been a bad ending here.

15 posted on 02/10/2004 12:52:26 PM PST by SJackson (Visit http://www.JewPoint.blogspot.com)
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To: churchillbuff
editor-in-chief Bruce C. Steele

Talk about the perfect name for the editor-in-chief of a gay magazine.

16 posted on 02/10/2004 12:53:00 PM PST by Modernman ("When you want to fool the world, tell the truth." -Otto von Bismarck)
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To: Lazamataz
Doesn't sound like what he said was all that objectionable.

I don't want my pilot 'entertaining' the passengers. He has more important duties.

17 posted on 02/10/2004 12:53:22 PM PST by cinFLA
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To: churchillbuff
Asking Americans if they're Christians is a lot like asking them if they like the Constitution. ;O)
18 posted on 02/10/2004 12:53:37 PM PST by newgeezer (fundamentalist, regarding the Constitution AND the Holy Bible, i.e. words mean things!)
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To: MineralMan
You've all seen the signs in the bus: "Do not talk to the Driver." The reverse makes just as much sense. Pay attention to your job, Mr. Pilot, and leave me alone.

LOL, I enjoyed the hyperbole on the other thread much more.

19 posted on 02/10/2004 12:53:57 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: billorites
I would prefer that my airline pilot not be too confident about going to Heaven. I'd rather fly with a pilot who's somewhat concerned that he might burn in Hell.

LOL! Good point.

20 posted on 02/10/2004 12:56:24 PM PST by Lazamataz (I know exactly what opinion I am permitted to have, and I am zealous -- nay, vociferous -- in it!!!)
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To: SJackson
A statement WELL WORTH REPEATING!
21 posted on 02/10/2004 12:57:58 PM PST by EggsAckley (..................**AMEND** the Fourteenth Amendment......(There, is THAT better?).................)
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To: churchillbuff
Compare this Advocate article to an AFP article on Yahoo!
NEW YORK (AFP) - An American Airlines pilot is facing an internal investigation after reportedly asking Christian passengers to identify themselves, and suggesting that non-Christians on his flight were "crazy."

Speaking Monday on CNN's "American Morning," several passengers said the Sunday flight from Los Angeles to New York had not yet taken off, when the pilot chose to address everyone on board.

"He said he'd recently been on a mission trip, and he'd like all the Christians to please raise their hands," said passenger Jen Dorsey.

According to fellow passenger Karla Austin, "He said, 'If you are a Christian, raise your hand.' He said, 'If you are not, you're crazy'."

Austin said no passengers raised their hands.

The pilot also asked passengers to look around at each other and use their flying time wisely. [snip]
Wow. No bias to see here. Move along.
22 posted on 02/10/2004 12:58:17 PM PST by anonymous_user (Politics is show business for ugly people.)
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To: Lazamataz
a lot of other good points on this thread about why he shouldn't have done this, but I agree with you, too.

Compared to the first version I read of this story, this version sounds like no big deal, and I can't really see people being too offended on the religion side of it. What he said was relatively innocuous in the first place, and he apologized later when he found out people were non-plussed.

I'm going to send him some flowers for Tu B'Shvat.
23 posted on 02/10/2004 12:58:58 PM PST by babble-on
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To: SJackson
Fair point. I haven't thought about the possibility that some passengers might have thought about a hijacking-related segregation.
24 posted on 02/10/2004 12:59:06 PM PST by george wythe
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To: cinFLA
I don't want my pilot 'entertaining' the passengers. He has more important duties.

Like staring at his flight stick controlling itself as it sits in auto pilot?

What he did might be considered bad judgement but hardly unsafe.

25 posted on 02/10/2004 1:00:09 PM PST by smith288 (http://www.ejsmithweb.com/FR/JohnKerry/)
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To: anonymous_user
Wow. No bias to see here. Move along.

Looks like there's some confusion as to what exactly he said.

26 posted on 02/10/2004 1:00:44 PM PST by Modernman ("When you want to fool the world, tell the truth." -Otto von Bismarck)
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To: george wythe
Precisely. It wouldn't have taken much for the "Christians" to be afraid to put up their hands lest the pilot pull out a gun and off them all, in the name of HIS "religion."
27 posted on 02/10/2004 1:02:34 PM PST by EggsAckley (..................**AMEND** the Fourteenth Amendment......(There, is THAT better?).................)
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To: gdani
Thats right only clergy may speak of such things!
28 posted on 02/10/2004 1:06:45 PM PST by TheGunny
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To: churchillbuff
I'd just like the Christians on board to raise their hands.

Sort of like the hijackers in "Delta Force"?

29 posted on 02/10/2004 1:07:16 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: EggsAckley
The versions of what the pilot allegedly said vary significantly. I didn't realize the plane was still on the ground. The pilot is lucky that one or more of the passengers did not demand to get off the plane immediately, or worse, take steps to drploy the emergency ramps and keep the plane from taking off.
30 posted on 02/10/2004 1:09:40 PM PST by Truth29
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To: All
There is a behavior which is often occasioned by certain events in a person's life. They go into a temporary "rapture" and want to "share" this rapture with the rest of the world who are primarily embarrassed by the personal display.

Unfortunately the pilot chose an inappropriate moment to get personal, as close to heaven as he was, the passengers probably didn't want to be reminded of anything to do with mortality.

These euphoric episodes happen after "retreats" either in psychological marathons or religious retreats, after experiencing a breakthrough in a therapeutic setting, and I have heard some who visit The Holy City on a religious tour cannot think of leaving - that the city is full of these people who wish to exist in proximity to the place where this break with reality was occasioned.

And break with reality it was people.

If the pilot was concerned for the safety of the passengers in any way, it should have been for their physical safety - not their souls. It was his duty at that moment in time to get those good people to their destinations.

Had this rapture been exhibited prior to the flight, he should have been replaced. It is as out of touch and disabling as too many drinks and replaces rational thought - sometimes for days.

The crew was also put in danger by the man and while the Christian and/or religious aspect of his break was well accepted and met with relief, he was not in control when he should have been AT the controls.

Sorry for the cold water, but I hope he has recovered and can now reflect on his mission as a wonderful experience to be shared in less grandiose circumstances glorifying the event as he lived it.
31 posted on 02/10/2004 1:10:10 PM PST by imintrouble
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To: cinFLA
I don't want my pilot 'entertaining' the passengers. He has more important duties.

Oh come on. You'd turn down a strip-tease from a really hot-lookin' pilot.

32 posted on 02/10/2004 1:10:26 PM PST by Lazamataz (I know exactly what opinion I am permitted to have, and I am zealous -- nay, vociferous -- in it!!!)
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To: churchillbuff
It could have been worse. He could have asked the passengers, "How many of you have ever been in a Turkish prison?"
33 posted on 02/10/2004 1:12:23 PM PST by Ken H
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To: imintrouble
JJJJEEEEEEZ.

You'd have me believe religion is a mental illness -- some sort of 'break with reality'?????

Balderdash.

34 posted on 02/10/2004 1:12:53 PM PST by Lazamataz (I know exactly what opinion I am permitted to have, and I am zealous -- nay, vociferous -- in it!!!)
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To: smith288
Like staring at his flight stick controlling itself as it sits in auto pilot? What he did might be considered bad judgement but hardly unsafe.

Please reread my post.

35 posted on 02/10/2004 1:14:17 PM PST by cinFLA
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To: churchillbuff
Totally inappropriate.
36 posted on 02/10/2004 1:17:31 PM PST by You Dirty Rats
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To: billorites
I'd rather fly with a pilot who's somewhat concerned that he might burn in Hell.

That is better than a pilot that believes in reincarnation.

37 posted on 02/10/2004 1:21:15 PM PST by Blue Screen of Death (,/i)
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To: imintrouble
If the pilot was concerned for the safety of the passengers in any way, it should have been for their physical safety - not their souls. It was his duty at that moment in time to get those good people to their destinations.

Criiiiipes, the rush to hyperbole begins anew.

38 posted on 02/10/2004 1:21:15 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: Lazamataz
Oh come on. You'd turn down a strip-tease from a really hot-lookin' pilot.

Come on now, as much as I wish it was, life is not like a Van Halen video (actually, I think that's teachers, but whatever).

39 posted on 02/10/2004 1:24:00 PM PST by Modernman ("When you want to fool the world, tell the truth." -Otto von Bismarck)
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To: Ken H
It could have been worse. He could have asked the passengers, "How many of you have ever been in a Turkish prison?"

Have you ever seen a gladiator movie, Tommy? Or a grown man, naked?

40 posted on 02/10/2004 1:24:44 PM PST by Lazamataz (I know exactly what opinion I am permitted to have, and I am zealous -- nay, vociferous -- in it!!!)
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To: TheGunny
Thats right only clergy may speak of such things!

Not quite.

It's kind of like going to church & the pastor starts sermonizing about the proper technical steps to take before a plane lifts off.

Maybe I'd be interested in what he has to say -- but not while he's on the clock.

41 posted on 02/10/2004 1:25:26 PM PST by gdani (Have you played Atari today?)
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To: Modernman
Come on now, as much as I wish it was, life is not like a Van Halen video (actually, I think that's teachers, but whatever).

It *isn't*?

(looking up) Okay, you. Put your clothes back on. Life's not like this. Nice garters, by the way.

42 posted on 02/10/2004 1:27:46 PM PST by Lazamataz (I know exactly what opinion I am permitted to have, and I am zealous -- nay, vociferous -- in it!!!)
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To: Lazamataz
It *isn't*? (looking up) Okay, you. Put your clothes back on. Life's not like this. Nice garters, by the way.

LMAO!

43 posted on 02/10/2004 1:30:04 PM PST by Bella_Bru
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To: Lazamataz
(looking up) Okay, you. Put your clothes back on. Life's not like this. Nice garters, by the way.,

1)Where the hell do you work?

2) Are they hiring?

44 posted on 02/10/2004 1:30:45 PM PST by Modernman ("When you want to fool the world, tell the truth." -Otto von Bismarck)
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To: gdani
It's kind of like going to church & the pastor starts sermonizing about the proper technical steps to take before a plane lifts off.

Well, why not?

After all, they do it in Mosques all the time.

45 posted on 02/10/2004 1:31:11 PM PST by Lazamataz (I know exactly what opinion I am permitted to have, and I am zealous -- nay, vociferous -- in it!!!)
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To: Lazamataz
After all, they do it in Mosques all the time.

Funniest response I've seen in a while.

I would have said it myself if I would have thought of it.

46 posted on 02/10/2004 1:32:36 PM PST by gdani (Have you played Atari today?)
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To: Modernman
1)Where the hell do you work?

It's a little club called the Badda Bing, Badda Boom.

2) Are they hiring?

Sure, but I'm a demanding boss.


47 posted on 02/10/2004 1:36:58 PM PST by Lazamataz (I know exactly what opinion I am permitted to have, and I am zealous -- nay, vociferous -- in it!!!)
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To: MineralMan
I want . . . . I don't want . . . .

As if the whole world is concerned about your personal wants. Why be so concerned about mere words from other people? So what if people express their personal views to you in person? You have a spine, don't you?

48 posted on 02/10/2004 1:37:09 PM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Fester Chugabrew
"I want . . . . I don't want . . . .
As if the whole world is concerned about your personal wants. Why be so concerned about mere words from other people? So what if people express their personal views to you in person? You have a spine, don't you?"

Of course the whole world doesn't care about my personal wants. Businesses, however, generally do care about the wants of their customers.

This pilot did not express anything to anyone in person. He did so over a PA system on a closed box that people were locked into. Different situation.

Nobody could tell him they didn't want to listen to his nonsense. Nobody could get up and leave, as they can if approached on the street by a wild-eyed preacher.

You mistake the situation. You mistake my reaction. I pay for a ticket on an airline. The airline flies me to my destination. If I want a sermon, I'll drop into any of the two dozen churches in my little town.

Let the pilot fly the plane, OK?
49 posted on 02/10/2004 1:41:57 PM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: Truth29
I can guarantee you that I would have gotten myself and my family off of that plane. And there is no way that I would have raised my hand.

I would have been thinking "What's next? Will the ones who raised their hands be told to reach into the back of the seat in front of them, take out the yellow stars, and pin them on the other people?"

Just too weird. After 9/11, passengers have to be able to trust their instincts.
50 posted on 02/10/2004 1:43:53 PM PST by Iwo Jima
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