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Quote of the Day - The number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state. - James Madison
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A Post Office Is A Post Office Is A Post Office

Return To Sender: Church Materials

There are Post Offices and there are Post Offices.  You know the standard ones run by the U.S. Government - postal workers in light blue uniforms with dark pants, the ever-present, red take-a-paper-number dispenser that always seems to give you a number that is nowhere near the electronic red flashing number displayed behind the counter.  And of course the equally ever-present long line that extends out the door and snakes around the rows of post office boxes, back out to the parking lot and all the way around the block.

But I exaggerate, ever so slightly.

That one condition is likely the main reason that competitors sprang up and the government had to give in and allow privately-run post offices.  As many private post offices as I've been in, I've never seen a line.

Ya gotta love private enterprise.

But with private enterprise come other issues, especially when that private enterprise is a church.  According to the Associated Press, Bertram Cooper, Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean War, said he became upset when he went to  a post office run by the Full Gospel Interdenominational Church, which operates the Sincerely Yours Inc. post office on Main Street in Manchester, Connecticut.

Like any other red-blooded American, he sued.

Cooper, who is Jewish, said ''I'm walking into a place that's doing government business - selling stamps, mailing parcels and so forth - and they're doing this religious bit,'' according to the AP.  "The Church's Post Office has evangelical displays, including posters, advertisements and artwork. One of the displays is about Jesus Christ and invites customers to submit a request if they 'need a prayer in 'their lives.'"  To top it off, "the office has prayer cards and an advertisement for a mission run by the Full Gospel Interdenominational Church that receives profits from the post office. There is a television monitor for church-related religious videos," the AP reports.

If you remember your high-school or college civics class (or for me, my Constitutional Law class), then you probably remember the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which requires separation of church and state.  Here, where the government has delegated its duties of running a post office to private enterprise, that private enterprise is a "state actor" and still bound by the Constitution, which prohibits actions that can be deemed to "establish" religion.

At least that's something close to what Federal District Court Judge Dominic J. Squatrito ruled when he ordered the government's post office to inform the 5,200 private post-office contractors to toe the line and remove all religious materials from private post offices.

It seemed like a fitting post for a Sabbath.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, April 29, 2007 at 09:49 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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