Woman’s Customized Stamp Order Rejected for Being Too Religious

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
Weird story I came across this morning:

A legal organization is demanding the United States Postal Service change its policy on custom stamps after a woman’s order was rejected because it showed her family standing in front of a historic cathedral.

First Liberty Institute is representing client Tavia Hunt, who submitted an order through Zazzle.com for stamps showing her and her family standing in front of Moscow’s famous St. Basil’s Cathedral. The order was to be filled through Stamps.com, a separate public company.

But Zazzle.com declined the order, saying it violated USPS policy prohibiting “any depiction” of religious content on customized stamps. The policy was adopted in 2017.

“No one should have to go to court to send a Christmas card,” said Hiram Sasser, general counsel for First Liberty Institute. “USPS policies are so ambiguous and unequally applied that even its approved vendors don’t know what is allowed and what isn’t. The USPS has made Zazzle and Stamps.com agents of discrimination.”

First Liberty sent a letter to the Postal Service Dec. 20, asserting that a “photo’s inclusion of a secular cultural icon such as St. Basil’s Cathedral cannot plausibly be prohibited under a regulation for ‘religious’ depictions.”

The letter says a lawsuit is possible if the issue is not resolved.

“If you insist that Mrs. Hunt’s photo contains ‘religious content’ in violation of the USPS guidelines, then the guidelines raise significant First Amendment concerns and we will consider appropriate legal remedies to vindicate Mrs. Hunt’s constitutional rights,” the letter says.
Woman’s Customized Stamp Order Rejected for Being Too Religious

The Hunt family, who were visiting Moscow for the World Cup this summer

I gather they are holding the flag of a soccer team they own.

It is strange, especially considering St. Basil's, today, is not exactly even a religious facility per se.

It is owned by the government, not the Church, since the Soviet era, and, most of the time, functions as a history museum

albeit the government nowadays also allowed the Church to perform its services there on religious holidays

But, yeah, weird policy, at US postal service haha