This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.
From: FoxNews , January 28, 2010 (full article available on-line)
An atheist organization is blasting the U.S. Postal Service for its plan to honor Mother Teresa with a commemorative stamp, saying it violates postal regulations against honoring "individuals whose principal achievements are associated with religious undertakings."
The Freedom from Religion Foundation is urging its supporters to boycott the stamp — and also to engage in a letter-writing campaign to spread the word about what it calls the "darker side" of Mother Teresa.
"Noted for her compassion toward the poor and suffering, Mother Teresa, a diminutive Roman Catholic nun and honorary U.S. citizen, served the sick and destitute of India and the world for nearly 50 years," the Postal Service said in a press release. "Her humility and compassion, as well as her respect for the innate worth and dignity of humankind, inspired people of all ages and backgrounds to work on behalf of the world’s poorest populations."
But Freedom from Religion Foundation spokeswoman Annie Laurie Gaylor says issuing the stamp runs against Postal Service regulations.
"Mother Teresa is principally known as a religious figure who ran a religious institution. You can't really separate her being a nun and being a Roman Catholic from everything she did," Gaylor told FoxNews.com.
Postal Service spokesman Roy Betts expressed surprise at the protest, given the long list of previous honorees with strong religious backgrounds, including Malcolm X, the former chief spokesman for the Nation of Islam, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister and co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
"In fact we honored Father Flanagan in 1986 for his humanitarian work. This has nothing to do with religion or faith," Betts told FoxNews.com.
Gaylor said the atheist group opposed Father Flanagan's stamp but not those for King and Malcolm X, because she said they were known for their civil rights activities, not for their religion.
Betts said that despite the Foundation's accusations and letter-writing campaign, "The response to Mother Teresa has been overwhelmingly in favor of this stamp."
An atheists’ group from Wisconsin vs. The US Constitution
The US Constitution: First Amendment
Thomas Jefferson’s reference to the phrase “separation of church and state”:
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.
Jefferson’s full letter is in the following link: http://www.usconstitution.net/jeffwall.html
We the People:
Honoring a Mother Theresa who happened to be religious does nothing toward establishing a national religion. Thomas Jefferson was once again speaking to limit the national legislature from making such laws. And yet the introductory paragraph from the “Freedom From Religion” website is as follows:
“The nonprofit Freedom From Religion Foundation works to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism, and to promote the constitutional principle of separation between church and state.”
Paradoxically, FFRF works “to promote the constitutional principle” which is not in the constitution; and their effort “to education of the public” separates Jefferson’s quote from its context.