christmas stampUSPS will not print stamps depicting the Nativity or other religious holiday

Postage stamps honoring the Christian Nativity have long been an American tradition.

But the United States Postal Service now will not print Nativity stamps, or any other stamp honoring a religious holiday, the government agency announced.

“In 45 of the last 50 years, the postal service has printed new images for each Christmas season, including Mary, angels, wise men, Nativity scenes, the Star of David and even Santa Claus. But this year, all of them have been banished from the production presses,” The Daily Caller reports.

Instead, the USPS will print “Peanuts” stamps, and one for the Chinese New Year.

“This is one symptom of a very broader effort to purge religion from the public square,” Matt Sharp legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a non-profit legal group that litigates on behalf of the First Amendment right to freedom of religion, tells the Caller.

“They can only do Frosty the Snowman or something that has no religious content.  It’s part of other efforts to take down religious symbols and religious monuments.  It’s part of the effort to completely drive religion out of the public square,” Sharp said.

The decision to ban religion from being depicted on stamps was made by USPS management.

This is only the seventh year in which the USPS did not print religious stamps.

The first was in 1977 under Jimmy Carter.  They were not printed again in 2000 under Bill Clinton and in 2005 under Bush.  They have not been printed in four of Obama’s previous six years in office.

The USPS announcement comes just days after the Obama White House held a ceremony to give a National Humanities Medal to Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, honorary director of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Goldstein’s organization hunts down and sues schools and government agencies that acknowledge religion.

In past years, the Foundation has attacked the Postal Service for issuing religious stamps.

The Foundation claims the stamps are illegal and “Post Office regulations forbid issuance of religious stamps.”

They also praised a 1994 decree banning depictions of religion in post offices.

“The Foundation and various members have complained over the years about religion in post offices, usually with speedy results from the current Postmaster General Marvin T. Runyon. A copy of the Postal Bulletin containing the clarification was obtained from Minnesota Atheists, which received the public information from a Foundation member who is also a postmaster,” the Foundation reported in 1994.

At the time the Foundation vowed to force the USPS to eliminate religious stamps.

“Still unresolved is the issuance of religious Christmas stamps every year since 1965. In 1970, the post office adopted its current policy of offering a religious as well as secular ‘Christmas’ stamp every year. A ‘Madonna and Child’ stamp has been issued every consecutive year since 1978,” said the Foundation.

“Nativity scenes, crosses and the words ‘Merry Christmas’ are very properly prohibited from postal displays, but ironically the U.S. Post Office currently endorses Christian worship through its own Christmas stamps!” said Anne Gaylor, then Foundation president.

“We would like to see the U.S. Postal Service extend its policy of neutrality to stamps as well,” Gaylor said.