President Reagan presents Mother Teresa with the Medal of Freedom at a White House Ceremony, 1985
A group of atheist and agnostic “freethinkers” opposed to religion has criticized the United States Postal Service for honoring Mother Teresa with a stamp that it says goes against postal regulations.
Last month, in announcing the Mother Teresa commemorative stamp, the USPS praised the internationally famed Catholic nun for her 50 years of service to “the sick and destitute of India and the world,” as well as her “humility and compassion” and “respect for the innate worth and dignity of humankind.”
According to the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), however, the decision to recognize Mother Teresa with a stamp violates USPS policy.
Specifically, FFRF pointed out, the decision violates the postal service’s ninth regulation, which states “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 Teresa is principally known as a religious figure who ran a religious institution,” commented FFRF spokeswoman Annie Laurie Gaylor.
“You can’t really separate her being a nun and being a Roman Catholic from everything she did,” she added.
Notably, however, the atheist group has no objections to existing images of Martin Luther King, a Protestant clergyman, and Malcolm X, a Muslim minister.
The two men, FFRF explained, were better known for their civil rights work than their religious beliefs.
The Mother Teresa commemorative stamp is expected to be issued on Aug.26, 2010 – the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresa’s birth.