Separation of Church and Mail


One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

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26 Responses

  1. Burt Likko says:

    “Separation of Church and State,” or more formally the Establishment Clause and the conceptual limitation of governmental power which that clause communicates, does not require that the government feign ignorance of the existence of religion or religious institutions, nor does it compel the government to prohibit its employees from engaging in religious expression or activities because those employees retain their rights of free speech and free exercise notwithstanding Federal employment.

    In my opinion, the Establishment Clause requires that the Federal government not endorse one religious view over others. A postal employee dressed in religious garb on a day when the dress code is relaxed to allow Halloween costumes would not be interpreted by a reasonable non-Catholic person interacting with that governmental employee as an endorsement of Catholicism by the government.

    TL/DR: Come on. It’s Halloween.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I’m going to issue a concurrence

      Now if they were using Halloween as a pre-text to evangelize that might be a different story.Report

    • Vikram Bath in reply to Burt Likko says:

      those employees retain their rights of free speech

      Do they retain that right *while* they are working though? A school principal can’t read a sermon to the school merely claiming that he is expressing his personal religious beliefs as a private citizen. There are limits on his behavior in the course of performing his job.

      That said, I also concur with your ruling. A costume worn in jest is certainly not endorsement of a religion. If anything, I think Catholics have more of a right to object.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Burt Likko says:

      In case it wasn’t clear, I’m 99% of the mindset that this is totally fine. It was just curious to me (which was the initial title of this post… but I wanted to go with something slightly more specific to the subject). It being the day before Halloween also stood out.Report

  2. Cascadian says:

    I suppose someone could argue that dressing as a nun for Halloween, not just a sister of perpetual indulgence, as a government worker would be similar to dressing in black face. I’m not going to make that argument but I could see how someone could get their panties twisted.Report

  3. j r says:

    My guess is that anyone dressed as a priest or a nun is not engaged in anything close to an act of prosetylization. If anything, it leans to sacrilege.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    Is Halloween like Christmas and Cinco de Mayo now in that it lasts for a danged week?Report

  5. Tod Kelly says:

    I think you can probably argue that choosing such unoriginal costumes is unconstitutional.

    And even if it’s not technically against the framework document, I think you can make a case that the Founding Fathers would have surely come up with something more clever and topical.Report