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Save Mother Teresa Postage Stamp Campaign begins

January 28, 2010

Atheist Group Assails Mother Teresa Postage Stamp
Photo: Túrelio on Wikimedia-Commson, CC-BY-SA

WASHINGTON – An anti-religion group is urging its members to write complaint letters to the U.S. Postal Service over the upcoming issuance of a stamp to honor the late Mother Teresa.

In a press release, the Freedom From Religion Foundation asserts that Mother Teresa, a nun who won the Nobel Peace Prize and international acclaim for her decades of relief work among the impoverished of Calcutta, India, should not be honored because she is a religious figure. While Mother Teresa was Catholic, Hindu leaders have applauded the stamp decision. Rajan Zed, head of the Universal Society for Hinduism, called it an honor to all of India. Mother Teresa was born in Albania and spent most of her life in India but was given honorary U.S. citizenship in 1996, a year before she died.

Pacific Justice Institute has clashed with the FFRF before. In the last year, the FFRF has sent numerous letters to local governments in California and elsewhere threatening to sue over public invocations, and PJI has countered with legal opinion letters supporting prayer and free speech.  Last October, the FFRF filed suit challenging federal and state tax laws that provide tax exemptions for ministers’ housing allowances. PJI represents ministers who would be affected by that suit.

PJI President Brad Dacus commented, “Just when you think the atheists and anti-religionists have run out of things to complain about, they attack Mother Teresa, one of the great role models of the last century. We are encouraging anyone who has been inspired by Mother Teresa to join us in writing letters of appreciation to the U.S. Postal Service to counter the ridiculous complaints they are receiving from the FFRF.”

Pacific Justice Institute will be sending a letter to the USPS offering legal support for  the Mother Teresa stamp. Comments may be sent to the Postal Service via its website, www.usps.com.  Citizens may also write to the USPS at either or both of the following addresses:

Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee
Stamp Department, USPS
1735 N. Lynn Street, Suite 5013
Arlington, VA 22209-6432

Consumer Advocate
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 10433
Washington, D.C. 20260-2200

About The Pacific Justice Institute:  Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties. Pacific Justice Institute works diligently, without charge, to provide their clients with all the legal support they need.  Pacific Justice Institute’s strategy is to coordinate and oversee large numbers of concurrent court actions through a network of over 1,000 affiliate attorneys nationwide. And, according to former US Attorney General Edwin Meese, “The Institute fills a critical need for those whose civil liberties are threatened.” “Through our dedicated attorneys and supporters, we defend the rights of countless individuals, families and churches… without charge.”

pacificjustice.org ..

  
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Discuss this article

Dona January 28, 2010

I guess the real question is, was she given a place on the stamp because she is a nun or because she is a Nobel Peace Prize winner? I find the reasons for the objection upsetting. Where are our freedoms going? Thank heavens we can still write letters!

LaRayne January 28, 2010

I’m inclined to agree with Dacus that the opposition is comming from people who have run out of things to complain about. While I’m not a big Mother Tresa “fan,” as I think she was set up as almost an idol, the reasons for objecting to her being on the stamp bothers me deeply. I can’t say I was inspired by her, but I do plan on writing to the USPS. Thanks for letting us know about this.

abb3w January 28, 2010

For anyone looking for the FFRF.org statement, it’s on their web site under “action alerts” (Jan 20), NOT press releases.

The current USPS rule they point to is number 9 of the stamp selection criteria listed on the USPS website (tinyurl.com/balw8): “Stamps or stationery items shall not be issued to honor religious institutions or individuals whose principal achievements are associated with religious undertakings or beliefs.” Mother Theresa would appear to fall under that criterion’s prohibition.

To effectively support the stamp, you need to make the unlikely argument that her principle achievements were not associated with religious undertakings (difficult, since they mostly resulted from her work as founder and head of a religious order), or that the specific criterion should be revised. Suggestions for criterion change that ignore the current state of law regarding public religious expression (tinyurl.com/yggx43u) are likely to have less influence than those that do.

Anonymous January 28, 2010

Atheists and anti-religion individuals tend to be intolerant, self-centered and bigoted and this just proves my point. Either everyone has to agree with them and their NON-beliefs or it becomes a lawsuit.

If you don’t like the practice of religion or Noble Peace prize humanitarians…leave….Oh, and read up on the TRUE meaning of separation of church and state, you obviously don’t get it.

Anna Vulaj January 28, 2010

As an American-Albanian, I vote to keep the Mother Theresa stamp not just because of our shared heritage, but because of her heroic humantarian life.

Barb February 1, 2010

“Stamps or stationery items shall not be issued to honor religious institutions or individuals whose principal achievements are associated with religious undertakings or beliefs.”

I think Mother Teresa transcended religious undertakings or beliefs. You don’t see the leaders of most religious institutions spending their lives the way that she did. She was a good, kind person who loved her fellow human being. She should be honored even if it is on a postage stamp.

Carol February 13, 2010

Mother Teresa was never judgmental of other religions or beliefs. She operated on the universal principle of love. Anyone who criticizes that should first go to their local skid road (no need to go to Calcutta), move in and serve the poor for a month (or even a week) and then judge if a woman who spent her life doing that should be honored.

Chris July 26, 2010

Oh please – this is so sad. She may have been a nun but what she did was reach out to the desolate, the dying, and the people that society threw away and she took ‘em in and helped them. She may have been a nun but she was also a woman, a human being, an Albanian citizen…all things that equally qualify the issue of this stamp

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