WDEL Blog: Eclectic Hobbies with Allan Loudell

Philately: (Somewhat Controversial) U.S. Mother Teresa stamp out this month

A standard U.S. 44-cent, commemorative postage stamp honoring Mother Teresa comes out this weekend.

It will honor Mother Teresa's birth centenary.

Doubtless, some Americans - inspired by Mother Teresa's life and work - will request the stamp at the nation's post offices.

And some people will go out of their way to AVOID purchasing or using such a stamp. (Although that may be a moot point, since postal clerks typically offer the small square definitive stamps - typically the Liberty Bell "forever" stamps - unless you specifically request a commemorative stamp!)

The Freedom from Religion Foundation earlier this year denounced the United States Postal Service's plans to issue a Mother Teresa stamp.

The FFRF cited the postal regulation which reads, "stamps or stationery items shall not be issued to honor religious institutions or individuals whose principal achievements are associated with religious undertakings or beliefs".

The United States Postal Service insists the stamp honors Mother Teresa's work as a humanitarian... Mother Teresa's fifty years of service to "the sick and destitute of India and the world", plus her "humility and compassion".

After all, she was a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. And, by an Act of Congress, Mother Teresa was made an honorary U.S. citizen.

Of course, U.S. stamps over the years have honored other religious figures whose achievements transcended their denominational status: Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Father Edward Flanagan, the founder of the Boys' Town orphanage, come to mind.

More questionable to some was the issuance of a U.S. stamp honoring Martin Luther in 1983.

Of course, the ultimate Mother Teresa critic - Christopher Hitchens - would argue Mother Teresa's mission was NOT humanitarian at all, but P-R for the Roman Catholic Church. In other words, she did not care for the poor out of any human warmth, but to obey the will of Christ.

Of course, the land of Mother Teresa's birth - Muslim-majority Albania - and Mother Teresa's adoptive homeland - Hindu-majority India - have already issued many stamps honoring the nun. So have a number of other countries, regardless of creed.

Posted at 3:48pm on September 1, 2010 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Sat, Sep 25, 2010 10:48am
I wonder if those same people would complain if a Muslim or other non-Christian person that did similar work as Mother Theresa had been honored with a postage stamp. My guess is, probably not.

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