A North Texas local official is suing a federal bureaucracy for stifling faith-based free speech.
Susan Fletcher, a graphic designer from Frisco who also serves as Collin County’s Precinct 1 commissioner, is challenging a United States Postal Service regulation that prevented her from expressing her faith on custom-designed postage stamps. Fletcher’s lawsuit argues the federal restriction is an unconstitutional violation of her rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Fletcher wanted to create personalized stamps for Christmas and Texas Independence Day that communicated a Christian message to family and friends, using a government-approved third-party vendor.
But she discovered that a USPS regulation prohibits custom stamp designs that contain any depiction of religious content, which it categorizes as “unsuitable for all-ages audiences” along with political, violent, and sexual content.
“I just want to express my faith in everything I do, at Christmas and all throughout the year,” Fletcher said in a press statement. “I am truly saddened that the country I love would keep me from expressing the most important message I could share with others: my faith.”
“This regulation by the USPS not only chills speech, it silences it,” said Jeremy Dys, special counsel for First Liberty Institute, which filed the federal suit on Fletcher’s behalf on December 19.
According to Fletcher’s complaint:
The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that this kind of categorical exclusion of religious perspectives on permitted topics constitutes impermissible viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee. It also creates a substantial burden on Ms. Fletcher’s religious practices in violation of the United States Constitution.
“Personalized postage stamps do not violate the First Amendment just because they reference religion,” said Chad Walker, a partner with Winston & Strawn who filed the complaint along with First Liberty. “Government regulations prohibiting religious speech by Americans offend the First Amendment.”