A postage stamp for

By Elizabeth Tenety The United States Postal Service’s decision to issue a 2010 stamp honoring Mother Teresa may seem harmless, … Continued

By Elizabeth Tenety

The United States Postal Service’s decision to issue a 2010 stamp honoring Mother Teresa may seem harmless, but a closer look shows that the USPS may be in violation of its own guidelines.

Among the 12 guidelines on how and in whose honor to issue stamps, the Postal Service includes this regulation:

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

So why did the Postal Service decide to include the late Calcutta nun in its 2010 stamp program?

In an interview with FoxNews.com, USPS Spokesman Roy Betts said, “Mother Teresa is not being honored because of her religion, she’s being honored for her work with the poor and her acts of humanitarian relief.” “This has nothing to do with religion or faith.”

Nothing to do with religion or faith? Even the press release announcing the stamp noted that the nun’s “divine inspiration” for her charity work. Why would the Postal Service bother with guidelines if it refuses to follow them?

And now the Postal Service, of all benign government agencies, has found itself in the midst of a clash over the separation of church and state and postage stamps.

Referring to the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s call for a protest of the stamp, FoxNews.com ran an article titled “Atheist Group Blasts Postal Service for Mother Teresa Stamp” which focused on some non-believers’ criticism of the controversial stamp.

And over at the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative legal defense organization, President Brad Dacus bemoaned, “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.”

But at the First Things blog, Joe Carter wrote that based on the USPS’s guidelines, the nun should not be honored with the stamp. “Mother Teresa should certainly appear on a stamp–but only after we change the law. We shouldn’t look for loopholes that require denying the importance of her faith in order for her to qualify.”

Speaking of denying her faith -it was revealed in 2007 that Mother Teresa was plagued by entrenched and implacable doubt, to the point where the venerated holy woman even questioned the existence of God.

Perhaps Mother Teresa was motivated by her faith, or maybe even moved to action on behalf of the desperately poor despite her doubt. Should the US Postal Service be in the business of deciding whether certain belief systems motivate charitable people?

If the “principle achievements” of the habit-clad Roman Catholic founder of the Missionaries of Charity, beatified by Pope John Paul II as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta are not “associated with religious undertakings or beliefs,” whose are?

About

Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • Bluefish2012

    After reading this article, I feel like I did the first time I read “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”

  • marlendale

    Everything for which we consider MLK great came from his faith. He was a Baptist minister, his “I have a dream speech” is one of the greatest sermons ever preached, his call to non-violent resistance came directly from the teachings of Jesus. I doubt that the USPS regulations ever were intended to deny any person of faith from being commemorated on stamps simply because they live their beliefs. After all, isn’t that what we are supposed to do, live what we believe?

  • lepidopteryx

    I have no problem with a Mother Theresa stamp. It’s honoring an individual – one person – for her specific acts of charity.

  • eagle2roost

    I don’t belong to a Christian religion and I think the Mother Teresa stamp is great. As previous comments point out, it is the contribution to society that is honored, not the religion of those contributing.

  • socaloralpleazer

    Why would anyone possibly object to this stamp?

  • cassie123

    I think it is impossible to separate what Mother Teresa did from her faith. Her belief in God was clearly why she did what she did. Now, I think that she deserves a stamp at the very least for everything she has done. However, if the USPS violated it’s own rules….then there is the issue. I agree with other posters here in that MLK (very religious and what he did/said stemmed from his religious beliefs) and Christmas stamps are both religious. I think the rule is kind of ridiculous because many of the people who have done great things, attribute it to their faith. Faith in action. I think if we eliminated stamps associated with faith (of any kind) in any way completely…we will not have very many stamps to choose from (at least ones of people). So, I don’t like the rule, but it is a rule.

  • JeffRandom

    I couldn’t care less whether religious figures are honored on stamps, but it would be good for guidelines to be honored a little more closely. Either the stamp shouldn’t have been issued or the guideline should be reworded.I can’t complain too much given that I received mail in Arlington today though.

  • marianronan

    What I cannot believe is that we are having this conversation. Folks, a child dies of a water-borne disease every fifteen seconds in the Global South. Does Ms. Tenety think, and do we, that this topic qualifies as an issue “under God”?

  • shewholives

    Mother Teresa was more concerned with spreading Catholicism than she was with decreasing the devastation of poverty. One way to decrease poverty is population control but that would mean educating people on birth control methods, distributing condoms, etc., but that would contradict Catholic “values.”

  • PSolus

    This is a minor thing, like “in god we trust” on the dollar bill.Instead of complaining about it, find a way to use it to your advantage.For example:Every time a panhandler would ask my father for money, he would take a one-dollar bill out of his pocket, point to the “in god we trust” on the back of the bill, and then ask the panhandler if he trusts in god.The panhandler would always say yes.My father would then reply, “Well, then you don’t need my money”, and return the bill to his pocket.

  • ronStrong

    No doubt Ms Tenety would object to a stamp for the Reverend Martin Luther King. Not only was he a minister, but religious symbolism dominated his speeches.I happen to be an atheist and don’t care for Mother Teresa, but the snide anti-religious remarks that dominate the On Faith columns gets a little old.Perhaps the name of this set of columns should be changed from “On Faith” to “Smug Liberals Against Faith”.

  • BlueIguana

    ronStrong,

  • rah1962

    The proposed stamp also seems to violate the USPS guideline #1, which states that subjects of postage stamps should be “American” or “American-related”. “Mother” Theresa is neither.

  • Kevin19

    I am an atheist and tend to believe that people “of faith” suffer from something akin to a mental disorder. In my opinion, we should not be honoring *any* Catholics, given that institution’s hideous pretense to be a “moral authority;” it continues to harbor pedophiles and encourages the sexual abuse of innocent children. I will not be using this stamp.

  • Yankeesfan1

    Why is this column called “On Faith” when it would more accurately be described as “Against Faith”?

  • sac1

    Elizabeth, You have no idea what you are writing about! Go to Calcutta, and see the abject poverty that people have lived under and see what Mother’s Teresa’s mission means for these people and the society there. As someone pointed out, its one thing to have a point of view (which I respect), and quite another to argue for the sake or arguing….

  • dkoflynn01

    Hey Kevin19 – you are a bigot. Get a grip buddy. By your reasoning, we should not honor John F. Kennedy

  • Fabrisse

    SoCalOralPleazer said:RAH1962 has stated my main objection: US stamps are supposed to commemorate US citizens. Moreover, they are supposed to commemorate them for their works. MLK is remembered for the bus boycott and the marches, the four chaplains for giving up their lives. It may seem like a minor distinction, but it is an important one to me.

  • haveaheart

    “…she’s being honored for her work with the poor and her acts of humanitarian relief.”One of the principal reasons for not putting Mother Teresa on a stamp — or for singing her praises in any way whatsoever — is that the widely held belief that she brought “humanitarian relief” to the sick and dying of Calcutta simply isn’t true.It is now widely known that Mother Teresa eschewed the use of medicines to relieve dying patients’ pain and suffering. Instead, she exhorted them to find God in their pain, promising that belief would deliver them from the bondage of their agony and suffering on earth. (She apparently thought it was more important for these poor, miserable people to suffer and die like Jesus than to be eased into death with as much comfort as it was possible to provide.)It is no wonder that Teresa suffered from a crisis of faith late in her life. She had spent so much of it denying genuine comfort to people who were the poorest of the poor, the lowliest of the low. Could she really have believed that her God wanted her to extract veneration from these miserable souls instead of giving them relief from pain?Could it be that she used all of her patients’ pain and suffering to try vainly to draw herself closer to God?This is what happens when a human seeks to become God’s spokesperson. “God wants us to blah, blah, blah.” God says XYZ is an abomination.” “God loves and saves only those who obey what we say are his commands.”We see numerous examples of this every day in “On Faith.”

  • valmain1

    Extremists! Dunderheads! What is the problemo here? I’m an atheist and practice no faith, but I certainly uphold the right of every citizen to do so should they chosse. What’s with the anti-Christianity these days? Montgomery County Public Schools does not hold classes on “Rosh Hashana” and “Yom Kippur,” yet “Winter Break” and “Spring Break” characterize Christmas and Easter. Mother Teresa is a selfless example of goodwill and humanity at its best. Give her the stamp, for g-d’s sake and spend this wasteful time feeding the bag lady on the corner.

  • skipsailing28

    Life in America can certainly be interesting.There is a growing rift in America between those that worship God (in whatever form they conceive of God) and those that don’t.the people that don’t have used the levers of politics to wage a massive campaign against the faithful.Now people of faith are girding their loins and fighting back. The unbelievers are out of shape and will struggle in this tussle, at least initially. they thought that they’d already won. Yet everyday new evidence of a resurgent, outspoken religiously inspired movement emerges.Just as the Tiebow ad caused great consertnation amongst the non believers, this stamp is once again working over the undies in a wad squad. What is worse for them is that catholics and others aren’t backing down. Instead we are fighting back.I am prepared for the ensuing struggle. It will be ugly at times, but so be it.

  • orange3

    I don’t give a rats *ss what the atheists who don’t like Mother Teresa think. I also don’t give a rats *ss about any lectures they have about a ‘Christian’ attitude. If these mornons don’t like Mother Teresa then don’t use the stamp and get a life. She did more good in her life than they ever thought of doing and I could care less if they like her.

  • stevenmmappes

    Not to change the subject topic but I suggest the United States Postal Service

  • Chaotician

    Who gives a damn?

  • tmcproductions2004

    This little nun is hardly an evangelical call to arms for christian soldiers. She helped people in need. She got the nobel prize for peace. She is recognized world-wide, not just in jesus-land, for her good works. Considering the aftermath of haiti, the tsumai, and katrina, where thousands of lost and injured and dead were in the streets a shout out to mother theresa –who helped people on the streets seems fitting.

  • s3xk1t10

    I would just like to point out that Jesus and Mary are both honored with stamps, as well as mere mortals the likes of Martin Luther and the The Four Chaplains. How is it that Mother Teresa is more of a holy figure than Jesus and Mary? It’s just a stamp.. I understand the ‘separation of church and state and postage stamps’ but c’mon, really? It’s Mother Teresa.

  • snowy2

    This column is mis-named. It should be called Stomp on Faith.

  • JPDG

    If you have time to write an article criticizing a Mother Teresa stamp, I say you have way too much time on your hands and a poor selection of topics. May as well bash baseball and apple pie, and kick a few puppies in your spare time.

  • screwjob2

    If Liz Tenety had her way there would be an Aleister Crowley postage stamp.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Un-F’ng believable. Don’t we have enough secular corrupt sadists?I, for one, would prefer that sadism and the Postal Service have as little as possible to do with one another, but wouldn’t ordinarily make a fuss. However, this nun was in bed with Haiti’s Duvaliers, and, at that, I draw the line. I also draw a line at re-using injection needles with dying patients. An additional line is marked when one runs a hospice which takes in sick but not dying human beings and does not tell them that one’s hospice doesn’t offer treatment.What the heck. I guess when one refuses pain medication to those in agony because “suffering is good,” I draw a fourth line.But of course Mommie Dearest went only to the most costly, most prestigious hospitals to meet her own health care needs.Yunno, maybe we should just give it up, declare ourselves a colony of Rome, and say goodnight.

  • fike01

    Pretty sad. Seems the critics could find something else to complain about. But, like all of us, you are certainly entitiled to your opinion. You can even protest. I suggest using a postage meter. You’ll feel better.

  • arkhon

    I’m quite the non-believer, and I have no issues whatsoever with Mother Theresa being on a stamp. Disappointing is the word that comes to mind that this is even an argument. It would be one thing if religious figures were a very routine occurrence on stamps. They’re not. Plain and simple. Get over it. She’s touched many more millions than other figures who have already been immortalized on stamps.

  • SeniorVet

    From the comments posted here, there is either a double standard, or Dr. Martin Luther King was not a preacher ?

  • bellabone

    I’m pretty sure the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also motivated by his faith. It doesn’t stop him from deserving postage stamps for his humanitarian successes!

  • djah

    I think religion is the greatest scam in history but Mother Theresa was coincidentally religious just as Franklin and Jefferson were coincidentally non-religious.

  • hpy2surf

    The stamp does not violate any guidelines. It simply honors a person who made a huge decision to be incredibly selfless, regardless of any religion affiliation. If she was any other religion she would still have been honored with the Nobel Prize, a stamp and all the other honors (probably except beatification by the Pope :-) ).I can prove it. BTW, I don’t see any complaints about journalists being honored with Stamps. Like Ruben Salazar. It’s great that he’s honored with a stamp. I bet he was also driven by faith, no? Mother Teresa is NO LESS deserving!

  • hohandy1

    love the way that when it comes to the law the religionists always want special exemptions and treatment for themselves

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    “[T]he sources of some donations accepted have been criticized. Mother Teresa accepted donations from the autocratic and corrupt Duvalier family in Haiti and openly praised them. She also accepted 1.4 million dollars from Charles Keating, involved in the fraud and corruption scheme known as the Keating Five scandal and supported him before and after his arrest. The Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles, Paul Turley, wrote to Mother Teresa asking her to return the donated money to the people Keating had stolen from, one of whom was ‘a poor carpenter.’ The donated money was not accounted for, and Turley did not receive a reply.”–Wikipedia

  • AuthoritativeAuthoritarian

    this country is going into the dumps.:(

  • MyTulsecoPost

    Have we gone “a bridge too far” in our separation of church and state? India, overwhelmingly Hindu, held Mother Teresa in such high esteem that she was given a state funeral! Believe me, I definitely believe in separation of church and state, but I believe the left wingnuts are as bad as the right wingnuts. The earth is round. If we go too far to the right or the left, we get the same idiotic and dangerous results.

  • YEAL9

    Two other Holiday StampsAngel with LuteThis 2009 stamp features a detail of a fragment of a circa-1480 fresco by Melozzo da Forli (1438-1494). Clad in red and green, an angel with a halo strums a lute and glances downward. The original fresco fragment is in Room IV of the Vatican Pinacoteca (art museum), and measures approximately 37 inches by 46 inches. Although few of Melozzo’s works have survived, art historians have praised his skilled use of perspective, and he is sometimes considered one of the great fresco artists of his day. In recent years, his depictions of musical angels have enjoyed a newfound popularity.Hanukkah (menorah)The 2009 Hanukkah design features a photograph of a menorah with nine lit candles. The menorah was designed by Lisa Regan of the Garden Deva Sculpture Company in Tulsa, OK, and photographed by Ira Wexler of Braddock Heights, MD.Hanukkah is the Hebrew word for “dedication.” Tradition relates how a miracle took place during the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been desecrated. The remaining supply of sacramental oil, thought to be enough for only one day, burned for eight days.The eight days and nights of Hanukkah begin on the 25th of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, a date that falls in late November or December. Hanukkah begins on Dec. 11 in 2009, and on Dec. 1 in 2010.During Hanukkah, family members gather each night during the festival to light candles on a special candleholder. Other Hanukkah traditions include singing, the exchange of gifts, and the spinning of the dreidel, a four-sided top. Children typically use chocolate gelt (coins) to make bets on the outcome of each spin of the dreidel.”

  • FlameoftheWest

    Hmm… So are we saying that we can only honor a life spent in doing good to others if the person’s motivation is non-religious? Really, Elizabeth, how biased can you get? The point of the Post Office’s guidelines is to refrain from honoring activities/achievements that are SPECIFICALLY religious – like founding a denomination, building a church or monastery, or doing something of that sort. There is nothing specifically Catholic about doing helping the poor; it is something that every human being should want and try to do. And just the fact that Mother Teresa’s love for her God helped strengthen her love for the poor, as it undoubtedly did, is absolutely no reason whatsoever to refuse to honor her love for the poor – which is an eminently human and natural and praiseworthy attribute.

  • terencef100

    USPS is not issuing the stamp to recognize, honor, or in any way support Mother Teresa’s faith or specific religious beliefs. They are doing so to honor her humanitarian work, just like MLK stamps honor his civil rights work. So, for me, there is no issue here. Just people wanting an argument for the sake of an argument.

  • YEAL9

    From Canada”The Nativity Scene on stamps The stamps have provided excellent opportunities to celebrate the birth of Jesus through Canadian art.”"And from India- Builders of Modern India New Definitive Issues Mother Teresa

  • Fabrisse

    I don’t see this as being the same as the four chaplains, who were honored for choosing to sacrifice themselves so that four other people might live or even Martin Luther King. In those cases, the persons being honored were A) Americans and B) honored for specific acts.I also don’t see it as being analogous to the Christmas, Hannukah, and Eid stamps that are available either. In those cases, an artistic depiction which might have other significance — like the one honoring the 400th anniversary of the birth of the painter — is chosen. The USPS should not have violated their guidelines. However, as long as I can refuse those stamps for my mailing and use something neutral, I will grin and bear it.

  • YEAL9

    “This column is mis-named. It should be called Stomp on Faith.Priceless!!!!Don’t forget though that you can already purchase a Mother Teresa stamp from India for 65 cents. It is in India’s Builders of Modern India New Definitive Issues.

  • ktidid

    George Bernard Shaw once said: “There is only one religion, though there are one hundred versions of it.” :) I would suggest one hundred thousand versions, and yes, I think most of us do not understand the etymology of the word “religion” and all its meanings.Attributing it solely to the structures of formal religion is absurd. Religion is far more complex than that and defines a feeling … a feeling, a drive, I think, intrinsic to survival … which is comprised of mental, physical, and emotional needs as unique as fingerprints in every one of us.Atheists are moaning and groaning about separation of church and state. Yet militant atheists espouse a “religion” of their own making, defined by themselves, which they want the rest of us to submit to.That is doing exactly what they claim (erroneously in the case of the Mother Teresa stamp) that the rest of us are doing if we choose to buy one.Balderdash.No two of us have been alike since the time a quadruped stood up and looked around and craved to understand “why…” The answers, even within and among structured groups… Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhaism, and countless more, are to each individual that ideal he or she believes in, needs to believe in, and will be different even from another in the same structure. The myriad structural commonalities are only the manner in which a person chooses to express his/her beliefs.The Mother Teresa stamp in no way ADVOCATES a specific religion, or its structure, its beliefs. Anyone who thinks it does has lost connection with the nerve fibers of logic in his/her brain.Other posters here point this out with excellent facts and sources. Every human being’s concept of that essence, that force is unique regardless of the word used and should be respected (even atheists) and left alone to express those beliefs… and NEVER silenced.We have choice. Never forget that. We can choose to buy the stamp. We can choose not to. But we may NOT choose to prevent another person from honoring it.

  • mscommerce

    This is Elizabeth Tenety’s atheist version of that great religious debate topic, “how many angels fit on the head of a pin”?

  • DouginMoz

    On the day that Mother Teresa died, 5000 girls and young women joined the Sisters of Charity. I have been to a few of their orphanages, including in Haiti and here in Mozambique,for children left there because they are dying of AIDS or starvation. Most of us don’t have the guts to look, much less work day in and day out to give comfort to an overwhelming number of suffering children. And at least among the formerly starving, they have a chance for life. But for some reason, this needs to be condemned.

  • mit2

    By this logic, there can be no quasi-governmental celebration of the Saints’ Superbowl win — Drew Brees is clearly motivated by his faith.

  • lab-lady

    I’m as religious as they come (Catholic even)but don’t think that honoring Mother Theresa is appropriate. First, there’s the law cited in the article but second, MT isn’t even an American. I’m not sure I understand the ‘thematics’ of such a stamp. Is it in a collection of great humanitarians (MT, Nelson Mandela, etc.) or is it a one-off thing. If I knew the answer to that, maybe I’d change my mind, but my first reaction is why would we choose to honor MT with a stamp? In saying not to, I’m not suggesting that MT wasn’t a great woman, just that it doesn’t make sense to me why she’d be on a US postal stamp.

  • trt3klasikcaz

    1. Mother Teresa has been known with Nobel Prize, so has been President of United States

  • Fate1

    When I see the MLK stamp I remember how people and governments required him to stand up against the tyranny of the times. As I see a Mother Teresa stamp I will consider why she had to work with those so poor they could not afford basic medical treatment and were ignored by the society at large. MLK was forged by the racist people and governments of his time. Mother Teresa is a product of India’s cast system and unequal treatment of its citizens through unfair laws. These stamps may honor the individual but when we see them we should remember why these people had to rise up as they did, to confront an unfair system and the people who support it.Only when we no longer need such saints will the world’s people have achieved justice and equality, something most religions say they are for but rarely work to achieve, except a few we eventually put on stamps.Maybe the stamp should have pictures of lynchings, police breaking up peaceful protests, beggars on India’s streets, a homeless man sleeping on a steam grate. Maybe we should be reminded through stamps why MLK and MT had to become the people they became and that only by changing society, to eliminate the need for such saints, can their work be completed.

  • trt3klasikcaz

    1. Mother Easter + Nobel Prize + President

  • trt3klasikcaz

    3. MAcedonia + New JErusalem + st John

  • lepidopteryx

    Lab-Lady, Mother Theresa would hardly be the first non-American on a postage stamp.Pictures or images representing non-AmericansJesus and his mammahave all appeared on US postage stamps.

  • trt3klasikcaz

    6. Rosebud + BudDharma + Dharma + Rose+ Bud9. Armenia + Serbia + Anatolia + St PAntaleon + Noah12. Ukrain + Ethiopia + Armenia + India + PAkistan + St Thomas + Caliphate Omer15. Communism + to commune + St Augustine + City of God + Capitalism + the trees “standing people” + forest

  • mhr614

    This column is called “On Faith.” But the negative manner in which it invariably deals with religion (except for islam) indicates that it should be named “Why We Detest Christianity.” Leftist movements, beginning with the French Revolution and Enlightenment, the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and every marxist country since have been anti-Christian. Modern US liberalism appears to be no exception to that rule.

  • mhr614

    This column is called “On Faith.” But the negative manner in which it invariably deals with religion (except for islam) indicates that it should be named “Why We Detest Christianity.” Leftist movements, beginning with the French Revolution and Enlightenment, the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and every marxist country since have been anti-Christian. Modern US liberalism appears to be no exception to that rule.

  • IGiveup1

    Good grief. Even I, an avowed atheist, will support a public show of honor (such as a stamp) for a person who dedicated their life to taking care of the poor and sick. If you can’t help someone else’s life, at least go get one of your own.

  • fedemp1

    Why is it so difficult for atheists to stomach Mother Teresa on a stamp? Do you not remember the millions of Indian’s who paid their respects to her in a state funeral? India is not a predominantly Christian, little lone a Catholic country. If Hindus can honor a Catholic nun for her selfless devotion to the poor, why can’t atheists?

  • bigbrother1

    Not seeing the controversy here. I’m a radical agnostic and all for strict interpretation of the establishment clause, but the MLK comparison is apt. There’s plenty of reason to honor Theresa for her humanitarian work, even if it was under the auspices of the Catholic Church. And if it takes a simple rule change to do this, fine.

  • bpai_99

    As has been stated elsewhere:”Mother Teresa was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan.”

  • Trakker

    This is a very simple issue that the religious nuts and reactionaries have blown all out of proportion.Freedom From Religion Foundation is a watchdog group devoted to the separation of church and state. When the USPS announced they planned to issue a stamp in honor of Mother Teresa, the FFRF pointed out that this likely violated one of the USPS’s own guidelines. The complaint it would seem is issuing a stamp that honors her using her Catholic name, MOTHER Teresa. Martin Luther King stamps and the holiday honoring him don’t identify him as the REV. Martin Luther King.Mother Teresa had a real name (Agnesë Bojaxhiu). Using her Catholic name in my opinion implies that her humanitarian works were part of her religion, not selflessness.The FFRF and other atheists are not at war with religion per se, or a freedom to worship. We merely insist that our government refrain from imposing religion on us or giving the impression that religious people have more rights or are more American than atheists.To MHR614, above, I was raised Baptist, and I can confidently say that the left in this country support policies that are more Christian than the so-called Christian right: peace, health care for all, safety nets for the poor, equal access to higher education for all, disdain for the money changers (big predatory banks), protecting the earth and our bodies from damaging pollution, etc. Don’t you find that ironic?

  • felixjer

    As has been said already, there are stamps of religious figures already (Madonna & Child, menorah, Kwanzaa), and there are stamps of figures who performed honorable work on the basis of their religious beliefs (MLK Jr.). I for one am not surprised that the USPS is breaking its own guidelines: another of its guidelines, that a person be dead for 10 years before having their own stamp, was obviously broken in the case of Reagan. I agree that the law needs to be changed to prevent people from thinking of this as something that actually needs to be discussed. Thank goodness I’ve been snowed in all week; otherwise I might be afraid I was wasting time posting a comment on this!

  • WillowTree

    Another religious figure recognized with a stamp in the US was Father Flanagan, founder of Boys Town. I believe the stamp identified him as Father Flanagan.Mother Theresa’s work was with the sick and dying. Is this the proper audience for lectures about birth control? Even in the hellish conditions that she worked in, she could still see that life is a beautiful gift. Her struggle was not to end poverty – that is a fight for others. Her struggle was to help the abandoned and dying know they were loved.It is useless to criticize her for not fighting the the battle you think should be fought. If you want to assist the women of India (and the rest of Asia, and Africa) to raise their status and have choices, then go there yourself and do it. Don’t carp because Mother Theresa didn’t do things your way. BTW, dead presidents are the only exception to the ten-year rule. Their stamp is issued as soon as possible following their death.

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Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

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God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

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The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

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Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.