Flying is generally a joyless experience. People are crammed into a metal tube with a hundred strangers and sent hurtling through the clouds.
Some flights are worse than others, but only a select few flights go viral on social media.
A recent video made the rounds, showing a group of singers — one wielding a guitar — standing and singing Christian music on an airplane.
Some of the captive audience looks uncomfortable, some are joining in, and parts of the internet are equally divided.
This is a polarizing topic, and no matter where you stand, whether it’s the event or the reaction, may be offensive.
A lot of details remain unclear, but the video clearly shows someone standing in an airplane aisle and singing while playing a guitar.
Even if you can’t catch the lyrics or the general vibe of the music, the video’s caption says it all: “Worshiping Jesus 3,000 feet in the air!”
Worship can take many forms in many faiths, but in this instance, it was loud and vocal — and the singer was not alone.
Others were singing along with the airplane guitarist, some standing and others sitting, indicating that the particular tune was familiar.
Whoever was filming was clearly happy with what happened, otherwise the video would not have been uploaded with such a happy caption.
Not everyone in the video appears to be entirely thrilled by what is going down, however.
Some fellow passengers appear to be uncomfortable, as if wishing that they could be anywhere else in that moment.
Others just seem amused.
Naturally, the video’s initial post was followed by the video being shared and reposted elsewhere.
Some people were confused. Others were aghast at poor airplane etiquette. Others saw darker implications behind the video.
And of course, some folks just saw a cringey video and shared it for clout and laughs.
As the video made the rounds on Twitter, people imagined themselves on such a flight.
While there are certainly worse ways for a flight to be “hijacked,” many would still prefer a crying baby to what appears to be a religious group dominating the entire space.
Please note that emergency exit doors should only be used in true emergencies. Opening one during a flight should never happen.
Obviously, hyperbole was in full swing, with one Tweeter joking about crashing such a plane were they the pilot.
That might be overkill, no matter how awkward the situation on the plane.
Meanwhile, others commenting on the video focused upon the discomfort rather than upon how they would escape.
One hilarious callback to the live-action Scooby-Doo movie tapped into how exclusionary public religious singing is.
If you’ve ever been a kid at your school’s thinly-veiled Christmas celebration (throw in one Hannukah mention and then just pretend that it’s a multicultural event) and heard classmates break into a song you don’t know, you know the feeling.
Certainly, that was the vibe given off by some of the passengers in the video.
One of the thing about how social rules work is that people who violate basic guidelines of politeness rely upon people who are polite to get away with it.
Case in point: if someone jumps up and starts singing on an airplane, that’s usually rude. Passengers who are afraid of being rude hesitate to say anything.
Looking visibly uncomfortable in an uncomfortable situation is fine, even reassuring to other bewildered passengers, but we don’t see anyone confronting the guitarist.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar pointed out the outrageous double-standard that exists between Christianity and other faiths in America.
In the same breath, she also highlighted how Muslims are regarded with suspicion and villified, and so doubly could not “get away with” what this guitarist is doing.
She earned a lot of bad faith condemnation for saying this, but she’s right.
At its core, public displays of devotion with a captive audience like this are rude, but when it’s a majority religion doing it, it’s worse.
No one can escape this involuntary music show, even if they’re not religious, not Christian, or are Christian but don’t support the display.
As other Twitter users noted, there are numerous teachings within the New Testament that discourage exactly this kind of behavior.
It’s possible that we are all misinterpreting what we are seeing, of course.
The video could be fake, or taken from a flight that was booked entirely by members of the same Christian group — and thus all passengers signed up for this.
But given what we’re seeing in this video, that seems unlikely. People should be kinder to one another. This would be rude even with non-religous music.
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