Attack on Royal Mail over Christmas stamps

By staff writers
July 13, 2004

Free Royal Mail stamp Calendar

News by email

Write for us

Bible verse by text message

Christmas ideas

Free Royal Mail stamp Calendar

Find fair trade Christmas presents

Send a chicken to Africa for Christmas

Free charity Christmas card catalogues

Go green on your gas and electricity

Advertise on Ekklesia

.adHeadline {font: bold 8pt Arial; text-decoration: underline; color: black;}
.adText {font: normal 8pt Arial; color: black;}

More News

Christian agencies unite to make poverty history 21/12/04

UN report paints bleak picture of Bethlehem 21/12/04

Christmas peace messages taken to Bethlehem 20/12/04

Bishops support Sikh community over controversial play 20/12/04

Urban churches feel post-christendom fallout 20/12/04

Evangelicals criticise channel 4 documentary about the Bible 19/12/04

Charity Christmas gifts online are last minute solution for shoppers 17/12/04

Bishop Robinson Denies Report About Lambeth Conference attendence 17/12/04

Development charities find common ground to help churches 17/12/04

this news on your site for free

Christians battling the decline of Christendom launched an assault on the Royal Mail yesterday demanding that snowmen, parcels and snowflakes be dropped from its Christmas stamps and only religious themes used in future.

The attack on the most popular annual designs for stamps, issued at the Post Office's busiest time of the year, came during a summer debate at the church's general synod at York University, amid complaints that what is a significant Christian festival is being ignored.

Some members of the synod clearly saw the choice of design as a plot to appease an increasingly secular society and wanted the card-sending public to have a constant reminder of the nature of the festival they are celebrating, reports the Guardian.

Such a position is at odds with those from a radical theological position who see the decline of religious imagery as an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the real meaning of Christian festivals rather than a threat.

However, some church members remain concerned about what they see as a playing down of the Christian message with some organisations dropping any mention of Christmas whatsoever. Being open and charitable however, speakers yesterday said that they did not mind other religions having their own festivals commemorated in stamps.

Christina Baxter, chair of the synod's house of laity who launched the debate, made an appeal to weight of numbers to support her position.

"Over 71% of the population declare themselves to be Christian and it is on that basis that we want to request the Royal Mail to issue Christmas stamps on Christian themes."

The actual figure for churchgoing is significantly less, with only 5% of the population in the UK attending a Church service on a Sunday.

The motion was carried unanimously. One synod member, Timothy Royle of Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, said: "We live in an increasingly secular society in which people don't like Christianity to be recognised. Other faiths should be able to celebrate their own festivals with stamps but Christmas is fundamentally a Christian festival in our country."

A Royal Mail spokesman said that the mail tries to choose Christian themes every other year, except when it is running a competition which is thought to be inappropriate to be associated with Christianity. In fact, though, it has not had such a theme since 2001 and will not run specifically Christian stamps again until Christmas 2005.

The spokesman said: "We welcome the interest shown in our stamps. We issued our first Christmas stamp in 1966 and we have varied the design each year since. Although Christmas is a Christian festival we live in a multi-faith society and there is no set pattern in the choice of religious or secular themes and choice of subject matter."

Asked whether the Royal Mail might consider issuing Diwali stamps to commemorate the Hindu festival or Eid stamps to mark the end of Ramadan for Muslims, the spokesman said: "We receive thousands of requests every year for a special stamp. There are a limited amount of issues we can produce. We will listen to as many people as possible and will try to act on what a majority of them want us to do."

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.