A lawsuit has been filed by First Liberty Institute against the United States Postal Service (USPS) for prohibiting religious-themed content on stamps created by customers. USPS authorizes third-party contractors, like PhotoStamps, to allow customers to create their own stamp designs.
Susan Fletcher is a devout Christian who wishes to share her faith with her family and friends, especially around Christmastime. She tried to do that this Christmas by creating custom stamps through USPS. One of her proposed stamps fit the Christmas season by including a nativity scene with the words, “Emmanuel God with us.” Others included a picture of the empty cross with Jesus’ words from Matthew 28, “I am with you always” to celebrate Easter, and a stamp about missionary work with the words, “Go therefore and make disciples” also from Matthew 28.
While designing these stamps, Fletcher ran into a problem. Regulations by the USPS prohibit any stamp design that depicts “political, religious, violent or sexual content.”
As an agency of the executive branch of the federal government, the USPS is required by law to abide by the First Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits Congress from abridging the freedom of speech.
And as First Liberty alleges in its lawsuit, “The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the categorical exclusion of religious perspectives on permitted topics constitutes impermissible viewpoint discrimination. By engaging in viewpoint discrimination, USPS violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
“USPS offers its own version of a religious stamp, but, ironically, it will not allow religious Americans to personalize stamps containing an expression of their own religious beliefs for their own use. This regulation by the USPS not only chills speech, it silences it,” said Jeremy Dys, Special Counsel for Litigation and Communications at First Liberty Institute, in a press release.
In the press release, Susan Fletcher said, “I just want to express my faith in everything I do, at Christmas and all throughout the year. I am truly saddened that the country I love would keep me from expressing the most important message I could share with others: my faith.”
Religious freedom benefits all Americans by granting each citizen the right to practice, or not practice, their faith. Let’s pray the USPS chooses to rescind this burdensome regulation and allow every American to share his or her faith. Especially since it’s Christmastime.
The case is Susan Fletcher v. United States Postal Service
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