Action Alert!

be careful what you pray for

By Diogenes (articles - email) | Jan 21, 2010

A teenage boy, an Orthodox Jew, threw a flight crew into panic when he began putting on his tefillin to pray. (H/t Father Z)

Prayer is still allowed on airplanes, but if you are paranoid enough, and have never seen an Orthodox Jew at prayer before, you might—if you squint really hard—decide that the tefillin looks a bit like a suicide vest. Apparently the whole flight crew managed that feat. The flight was quickly diverted; the pilot prepared for an emergency landing.

Fortunately the young Jewish lad was able to convince flight attendants that he was only preparing to pray, that the tiny boxes of the tefillin contain only citations from Scripture, and that Bible verses don’t ordinarily explode. So did everybody calm down? Not quite.

The teen explained the ritual after being questioned by crew members, but the captain decided to land in Philadelphia anyway, authorities said.

You can’t be too careful. It's only a matter of time before another equally astute flight crew notices that rosary beads look a little bit like motorcycle drive chains, which are notoriously used by Hell's Angels as weapons in gang fights. So that little old lady in seat 21B, who's fingering her beads, might be a deadly terrorist. See? She looks nervous, too! 

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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