Friday, October 24, 2008

In God We Trust, but not Anonymous Emails

I recently received this email:

Payback is fun!!!!!!!!!!!!! WRITE IT ON THE BACK OF YOUR ENVELOPES or front! WE THINK THIS IS A GREAT IDEA. WE'LL START WRITING IT ON THE FRONT OF OUR ENVELOPES, TOO! ! Including Bills You may have heard in the news that a couple of Post Offices in Texas have been forced to take down small posters that say 'IN GOD WE TRUST ,' The law, they say, is being violated. Anyway, we heard proposed on a radio station show, that we should all write 'IN GOD WE TRUST' on the back of all our mail. After all, that's our National Motto, and it's on all the money we use to buy those stamps. We think it's a wonderful idea. We must take back our nation from all the people who think that anything that offends them should be removed. If you like this idea, please pass it on and DO IT. The idea of writing or stamping! 'IN GOD WE TRUST' on our envelopes sounds good to us WE'RE HAVING A STAMP MADE TOO! Lets use it as our signature on e-mails too! It's been reported that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore, we have a very hard time understanding why there's such a mess about having 'In God We Trust!' on our money and having God in the pledge of Allegiance. Could it be that WE just need to take action and tell the 14% to 'sit down and shut up'? If you agree, pass this on, if not, delete!!! BUT REMEMBER IF YOU DELETE THIS, that's 1 reason why this world is in the mess we're in now. WE SIT BACK & LET IT HAPPEN!!

These kinds of things should always be checked out at Sure enough, it's there, and the story didn't exactly play out as implied in the email. There's a lot of information left out. It is true that several small post offices in Texas had to remove their "In God We Trust" posters. It was not because anybody had a problem with the message, and it was not because the "law was being violated" as claimed in the email. It was because the posters were provided by a private citizen (Frank P. Williamson) and postal regulations don't allow display of private material. The "In God We Trust" posters were removed at the request of the local postmaster, not because of some anonymous and intolerant "they."

Here is the relevant portion of the
postal regulations:

"Depositing or posting of handbills, flyers, pamphlets, signs, posters, placards, or other literature (except official postal and other governmental notices and announcements) on the grounds, walks, driveways, parking and maneuvering areas, exteriors of buildings, and other structures, or on the floors, walls, stairs, racks, counters, desks, writing tables, window ledges, or furnishings in interior public areas on postal premises is prohibited. This does not apply to the following:
a. Posting notices on employee bulletin boards as authorized by 39 CFR 243.2.
b. Interior space assigned to tenants for their exclusive use."

Now if people still want to write "In God We Trust" on their mail and bills, more power to them! It's a great use of free speech to express your beliefs. But as for telling the 14% to 'sit down and shut up' I do have a problem with that. This country thrives on diversity, and in my opinion it is the unique genius of this nation that all views get heard. In this case, the person who wrote this - the person who wants those not like him to shut up - was just plain wrong. Sadly it is too often the case that those who want others to shut up would benefit the most by listening.


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