Tavia Hunt was solely trying to print some good stamps for the household Christmas playing cards. However what she discovered would possibly turn into a pivotal Supreme Courtroom case testing the deep state’s struggle in opposition to Christmas.
Attorneys for Hunt on Thursday despatched a letter to the U.S. Postal Service demanding a proof for a coverage adopted in early 2017 that allegedly bars “all non secular content material” from getting used on U.S. postal stamps, even these created privately via third-party printers licensed to create custom-made stamps.
A bar on non secular imagery in stamps could be unconstitutional, in line with Tavia’s attorneys at First Liberty Institute, a authorized group devoted completely to defending non secular freedom for all Individuals.
Hunt is the spouse of Clarke Hunt, the proprietor of the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. Earlier this 12 months she determined to have customized stamps created from an image of her household taken in entrance of the simply recognizable onion-shaped minarets of St. Basil’s Cathedral. It’s a cute if acquainted picture: American vacationers, standing in entrance of St. Basil’s in foolish fur hats. Hunt and two of her daughters are holding a flag studying “Chief’s Kingdom” within the staff colours.
Just a few days after she had uploaded the picture to Zazzle, an organization licensed to create custom-made stamps, Hunt realized that her order had been cancelled. The corporate stated the picture violated its content material coverage.
When Hunt requested Zazzle to make clear what was mistaken with the picture, she was informed by an organization consultant that it was the prominence of the cathedral that violated the content material coverage. The corporate backed off of that place when Hunt stated in an electronic mail that this gave the impression to be a “ban on faith.” The following day it informed her that her order was authorised and could be shipped quickly.
However when Hunt tried to trace her cargo on-line, she realized it had been cancelled once more. This time Zazzle informed her to make inquiries with Stamps.com, which it stated is answerable for all content material choices, in line with Hunt’s attorneys.
Stamps.com initially claimed the rejection had nothing to do with Hunt’s non secular devotion or the picture of St. Basil’s. As an alternative, it stated the stamps have been rejected as a result of the picture included the brand of the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. To show she had the rights to the brand, Hunt signed an affidavit and had it delivered to Stamps.com and Zazzle.
Which is when Zazzle returns to the story. Zazzle known as to say that the unique rationalization was right–this was all about St. Basil’s. In a December 10 electronic mail, Zazzle confirmed that the rejection was “as a result of prominence of St. Basil’s Cathedral on the background.” The order could be authorised if “the picture is cropped in order that the cathedral will not be apparent,” the corporate added.
Later, Stamps.com informed Hunt’s assistant Ashleigh that “all non secular content material is forbidden regardless of the intent or religion.”
In different phrases, Zazzle and Stamps.com weren’t rejecting Hunt’s stamps due to their insurance policies. They have been rejecting them due to what they perceive to be a regulation of the USA Postal Service. As Postal Service distributors they’re obligated to comply with guidelines set by the federal government.
The letter from Hunt’s attorneys despatched Thursday morning seeks clarification on what the Postal Service’s rule truly is. If it has been misinterpreted by distributors, the Postal Service ought to make clear its place. Whether it is being appropriately interpreted as a ban on non secular content material, then it’s probably an unconstitutional restriction on the free train of faith, Hunt’s attorneys say within the letter.
Zazzle has just lately informed Hunt that it has suspended all printing of stamps custom-made with pictures whereas it tries to kind “a number of variables involving federal tips.”
In different phrases, they need Hunt to cancel her Christmas stamps this 12 months whereas they determine how a lot of the world-famous cathedral will be included on a stamp.
Hunt isn’t giving up really easy. Her attorneys conclude their letter by saying they’re keen to take the matter to court docket if mandatory:
Mrs. Hunt considers these stamps to be a vital facet of her Christmastime message for family and friends and is withholding sending the playing cards till this situation is resolved. For these causes, we ask that the USPS contact its authorised distributors Stamps.com and Zazzle no later than 12:00pm Central Time, Friday, December 21, 2018, to make clear that Mrs. Hunt’s picture doesn’t violate USPS tips from custom-made postage. In case you insist that Mrs. Hunt’s picture incorporates “non secular content material” in violation of the USPS tips, then the rules increase vital First Modification issues and we are going to contemplate acceptable authorized cures to vindicate Mrs. Hunt’s constitutional rights.
It’s not too late for the Postal Service to clarify this has all been a horrible misunderstanding, however which may take an actual Christmas miracle. Or at the very least a lawsuit defending the proper to specific a perception within the authentic Christmas miracle.
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