"I choose the poverty of our poor people. But I am grateful to receive (the Nobel) in the name of the hungry, the naked, the homeless, of the crippled, of the blind. of the lepers, of all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone."--Mother Teresa on her acceptance of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize.
The U.S. Postal Service is issuing a stamp August 26th on what would have been Mother Teresa's 100th birthday. She was a wonderful humanitarian and did so much for so many people. Who would ever find fault with honoring her on a stamp?
Well, it appears the Freedom from Religion Foundation is asking people to boycott the stamp. They feel it violates the postal regulation that "individuals whose principal achievements are associated with religious undertakings" cannot be on a stamp. There is no doubt that Mother Teresa was a religious person and motivated by her faith, but the same could be said of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Father Flanagan. There was no flack for them being honored on stamps and dare I say, what about baby Jesus who is on a stamp every Christmas?
This atheist group suggests that people purchase the Katherine Hepburn stamp instead because (I did not know this) she was an atheist. I can't imagine that with her successful acting career that she would want to be remembered for being an atheist. Since Hepburn's stamp is coming out in May and it is standard practice to only have commemorative stamps for a few months, it is likely that the consumers won't have the opportunity to choose between Katherine Hepburn and Mother Teresa. There are, of course, many other stamp choices, but I for one, after this publicity, hope that the Mother Teresa stamp becomes a big seller. If the postal service changed their issuance schedule, they could possibly cash in on a contest between the sales generated by Katherine Hepburn vs. Mother Teresa. Who would have ever imagined a contest between those two women?
Who would think that a woman of peace would in death, cause controversy. She blessed so many and in her honor, I leave you with one of her many, many inspirational quotes, "Every time you smile at someone it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing." :)