Dean of Blackburn hits out at 'farce' of lack of religious Christmas stamps

The panto stamps

The panto stamps

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

Blackburn Cathedral has slammed the lack of religious-themed stamps from Royal Mail this Christmas.

The Dean of Blackburn, the Very Rev Christopher Armstrong, backed Christian and Muslim colleagues, urging dissatisfied customers to take their protests to Parliament.

The Royal Mail has produced six non-religious stamps showing pantomime figures.

But the firm has only made two religious Christmas stamps, which are re-issues of last year’s products. And these were only issued after complaints.

The Dean was supporting a Christian-Muslim protest against ‘secular’ Christmas stamps made jointly by Canon Chris Chivers, Blackburn Cathedral’s Canon Chancellor and Anjum Anwar, dialogue development officer. Ms Anwar is the only Muslim in the world to be on a Cathedral staff.

They had condemned as “utterly demeaning” the “free market choice” of being offered Christian or secular stamps by the Royal Mail for Christmas.

In a letter they said: “If we are to have Christmas stamps at all, let them be Christian.

“But if for some mindlessly secularist reason we must have a choice, then let there be stamps of both sorts, in equal number.”

The Cathedral colleagues claimed the Royal Mail only intended to issue secular ‘pantomime dame’ sets of stamps before protests were made.

The Very Rev Armstrong said: “Please write to your local MP and ask them to establish who made the set of decisions that led to this year’s secular-religious issue of Christmas stamps.”

Royal Mail said the Madonna and child stamps had been available since November 4 along with a ‘Pantomime’ series and millions of both sets had been printed.

Comments (13)

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11:45pm Tue 2 Dec 08

Scooby says...

Well, I have to say, I'm glad that everything is so good in the world at the moment. Surely there can't be anything going wrong if this is all there is to protest about?
Well, I have to say, I'm glad that everything is so good in the world at the moment. Surely there can't be anything going wrong if this is all there is to protest about? Scooby
  • Score: 0

7:09am Wed 3 Dec 08

MJA says...

Another apalling piece of journalism. There's no evidence of these Christians hitting out or slamming anyone or anything.

And as for "The Dean claimed Royal Mail staff would only sell religious stamps if something specifically asked for them."

And don't get me started on "BOSSES at Blackburn Cathedral...".



Another apalling piece of journalism. There's no evidence of these Christians hitting out or slamming anyone or anything. And as for "The Dean claimed Royal Mail staff would only sell religious stamps if something specifically asked for them." And don't get me started on "BOSSES at Blackburn Cathedral...". MJA
  • Score: 0

8:45am Wed 3 Dec 08

jcb says...

Can we not just enjoy Christmas without having to have religion bought into it?
Can we not just enjoy Christmas without having to have religion bought into it? jcb
  • Score: 0

9:05am Wed 3 Dec 08

norvic says...

"The Cathedral colleagues claimed the Royal Mail only intended to issue secular ‘pantomime dame’ sets of stamps before protests were made."

If true, then the Dean and friends should check their facts - they can remember what happened 2000 years ago but not last year. In 2007 Royal Mail specifically said that the two (1st & 2nd class) Madonna stamps would be on sale every year as a religious alternative to any secular stamps.
"The Cathedral colleagues claimed the Royal Mail only intended to issue secular ‘pantomime dame’ sets of stamps before protests were made." If true, then the Dean and friends should check their facts - they can remember what happened 2000 years ago but not last year. In 2007 Royal Mail specifically said that the two (1st & 2nd class) Madonna stamps would be on sale every year as a religious alternative to any secular stamps. norvic
  • Score: 0

9:08am Wed 3 Dec 08

norvic says...

PS: 3 x 2nd class stamps = 81p the cost of Worldwide airmail postage of 20 grammes; so it is quite easy to use religious stamps to send cards to New Zealand!
PS: 3 x 2nd class stamps = 81p the cost of Worldwide airmail postage of 20 grammes; so it is quite easy to use religious stamps to send cards to New Zealand! norvic
  • Score: 0

10:08am Wed 3 Dec 08

Ian the Beancounter says...

Why should we have religion brought into it? The mid winter festival of "Winterval" was a pagan festival celebrated at this time of year to give the people something to brighten up a long winter. The festival was hi-jacked by Christianity and adopted as their own, but has absolutely no bearing or proven historical accuracy with the birth of Jesus.
Why should we have religion brought into it? The mid winter festival of "Winterval" was a pagan festival celebrated at this time of year to give the people something to brighten up a long winter. The festival was hi-jacked by Christianity and adopted as their own, but has absolutely no bearing or proven historical accuracy with the birth of Jesus. Ian the Beancounter
  • Score: 0

10:12am Wed 3 Dec 08

akon says...

Ref the dean of blackburn,why dont you speak out about the islamification of britain & the comments made by the Labour traitor phil Woolas ?Lets have a big debate on Stamps ?
Ref the dean of blackburn,why dont you speak out about the islamification of britain & the comments made by the Labour traitor phil Woolas ?Lets have a big debate on Stamps ? akon
  • Score: 0

11:23am Wed 3 Dec 08

A Darener says...

Yesterday I went into my local post office and asked for the non religious second class stamps. The postmaster burst out laughing, when I asked why? he said, I was the first person to ask for them.
So I replied, well, at least you will have plenty of them.
"Merry Christmas."
Yesterday I went into my local post office and asked for the non religious second class stamps. The postmaster burst out laughing, when I asked why? he said, I was the first person to ask for them. So I replied, well, at least you will have plenty of them. "Merry Christmas." A Darener
  • Score: 0

11:23am Wed 3 Dec 08

A Darener says...

Yesterday I went into my local post office and asked for the non religious second class stamps. The postmaster burst out laughing, when I asked why? he said, I was the first person to ask for them.
So I replied, well, at least you will have plenty of them.
"Merry Christmas."
Yesterday I went into my local post office and asked for the non religious second class stamps. The postmaster burst out laughing, when I asked why? he said, I was the first person to ask for them. So I replied, well, at least you will have plenty of them. "Merry Christmas." A Darener
  • Score: 0

11:56am Wed 3 Dec 08

Stress74 says...

jcb wrote:
Can we not just enjoy Christmas without having to have religion bought into it?
Umm.. If you believe what the Christians tell you then there was this guy who is quite central to their religion who was born and what the celebration of christmas is supposed to be about? its hard to not being religion into it really...

However, if you think its a load of hogwash, and yet another festival they nicked off the pagans well... Bottoms up!
[quote][p][bold]jcb[/bold] wrote: Can we not just enjoy Christmas without having to have religion bought into it?[/p][/quote]Umm.. If you believe what the Christians tell you then there was this guy who is quite central to their religion who was born and what the celebration of christmas is supposed to be about? its hard to not being religion into it really... However, if you think its a load of hogwash, and yet another festival they nicked off the pagans well... Bottoms up! Stress74
  • Score: 0

4:31pm Wed 3 Dec 08

audleylad52 says...

Bad journalism! I agree. 'Only muslim in the WORLD....' what an unnecessary exaggeration!
Bad journalism! I agree. 'Only muslim in the WORLD....' what an unnecessary exaggeration! audleylad52
  • Score: 0

11:53pm Wed 3 Dec 08

Mephisto says...

Good - religion should never be on stamps. Maybe it's a step towards total secularisation? We could file religion away under mythology and get on with our lives.
Good - religion should never be on stamps. Maybe it's a step towards total secularisation? We could file religion away under mythology and get on with our lives. Mephisto
  • Score: 0

3:51pm Thu 4 Dec 08

andy1 says...

If religion was to be printed on stamps at Christmas should it not be the truth over what it really is? What I mean by that is Paganism I will quite gladly support the likes of the Ancient Celt Goddess Brigid or has the Catholic faith call her Saint Brigid. Im Pagan and would appreciate the truth Reverend not some fantasy that Christmas is only a Christian event has many potray.
If religion was to be printed on stamps at Christmas should it not be the truth over what it really is? What I mean by that is Paganism I will quite gladly support the likes of the Ancient Celt Goddess Brigid or has the Catholic faith call her Saint Brigid. Im Pagan and would appreciate the truth Reverend not some fantasy that Christmas is only a Christian event has many potray. andy1
  • Score: 0
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