First Liberty Institute, a Dallas-based religious liberty law firm, is suing the United States Postal Service (USPS) arguing that a 2017 USPS regulation barring "any depiction" of religious content on personalized stamps is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Susan Fletcher, a graphic designer from Plano, Texas, who was prevented from creating personalized stamps because of the USPS rule.
"Personalized postage stamps do not violate the First Amendment just because they reference religion," Chad Walker, partner with Winston & Strawn and First Liberty network attorney said. "Government regulations prohibiting religious speech by Americans offend the First Amendment."
According to First Liberty, Fletcher was hoping to create her own stamps with the following designs:
- A Christmas nativity scene recalling the birth of Christ, "Emmanuel, God with us."
- The phrase "God Bless Texas" to celebrate Texas Independence Day and reflecting her personal prayer for her home state.
- A depiction of the empty cross of Christ with the phrase "I am with you always" to celebrate Easter, the most central of Christian holidays.
- And, a stamp about missionary work—a primary duty of Christians, according to Susan—featuring the words of Christ from Matthew 28, "Go therefore and make disciples."
Not only does the USPS regulation prevent Fletcher from creating a stamp involving the most personal thing to her (her faith), it lumps her religion into a category the regulation describes as, "unsuitable for all ages and audiences," according to the law firm.
"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," said Jeremy Dys, special counsel for litigation and communications at First Liberty Institute. "This regulation by the USPS not only chills speech, it silences it."
"I just want to express my faith in everything I do, at Christmas and all throughout the year," Fletcher said. "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."