Last week, the day before Thanksgiving, this reporter landed at the post office in my home town to buy two stamps.
As I paid for them, the clerk at the post office put two Muslim Eid stamps on the envelopes.
Eid means festivity, or holiday, and the post office publishes an eid stamp for the two big Muslims holydays: Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. The first celebrates the end of the Ramadan fast. The second, this year on Nov. 7, commemorates Abraham's obedience to God in offering Ishmael for a sacrifice. Jews and Christians, of course, believe Abraham offered his other son, Isaac.
I asked the clerk why he was using an Islamic stamp just a few days before the Christmas season started. Nov. 27 began Advent.
His answer? We "have to use" these stamps if we are putting them singly on letters. The only way I could get a Christmas stamp, he said, was to buy a book of stamps. I asked for the book, and, hilariously enough, the clerk held out a stamp bearing an image of Christmas balls, asking if I wanted decorations or a Madonna.
To ask the question was to answer it, but in any event, more than a few Americans likely think this stamp was President Barack Hussein Obama's idea, thanks to an email that has been floating around the Internet for two years.They are wrong.
Honoring Muslims holydays is the brainstorm of George W. Bush, the man who thinks "Islam is peace."
The Postal Service created the stamp in 2001, and Bush was likely its biggest promoter, as FactCheck.Org noted in knocking down the Obama-did-it myth. It was part of the postal service's "Holiday Celebration Series."
The USPS pronounced itself proud: "This is a proud moment for the Postal Service, the Muslim community, and Americans in general as we issue a postage stamp to honor and commemorate two important Islamic celebrations," the top spokesman said.
Here is Bush's message from 2002, given at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.:
The spirit behind this holiday is a reminder that Islam brings hope and comfort to more than a billion people worldwide. Islam affirms God’s justice and insists on man’s moral responsibility. This holiday is also an occasion to remember that Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefitted mankind.
The White House also issued another message. It got progressively worse from there, in 2003 and 2005-8.
Here is the drivel from 2006:
Islam is a great faith that has transcended racial and ethnic divisions and brought hope and comfort to many people. Throughout Ramadan, Muslims have fasted to focus their minds on faith and to direct their hearts to charity. Eid al-Fitr marks the completion of this holy month with the Festival of Breaking the Fast. During this joyous celebration, Muslims thank God for his guidance and blessings by gathering with family and friends, sharing traditional foods, and showing compassion to those in need.
America is strengthened by the countless contributions of our Muslim citizens, and we value our ties with Muslim nations throughout the world. For people of all faiths, Eid al-Fitr is an opportunity to reflect on the values we share and the friendships that bind all who trace their faith back to God's call to Abraham.
Bush ended his messages with the words "Eid mubarak," meaning "blessed festival." Bush's people misspelled "mubarak" in the message for 2003.
So when the clerk at the Post Office puts an Eid stamp on your Christmas card, don't blame the half-Kenyan in the White House. Blame the phony Texan that turned it over to him.