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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Madison tiff: Mass-transit Mother Teresa

If the road to sainthood ran through Madison, Wis., Mother Teresa would have trouble getting a bus. An atheist and agnostic group based there protested the use of the nun's image on the city's April bus passes.

"Religious figures don't belong on monthly passes of publicly owned transportation facilities," said Anna Nicol Gaylor, president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Gaylor said Mother Teresa saw the poverty caused by overpopulation yet "campaigned throughout her life against contraception, sterilization and abortion for anyone, promoting Roman Catholic dogma."

In a letter to patrons who contacted the system, Madison Metro Transit said the choice had "nothing to do with religion" and said figures were chosen as part of a theme using Time magazine's list of 100 most important people of the 20th century.

Its May pass featured Martin Luther King Jr., and October will feature Mohandas Gandhi. Although some consider these men religious figures, "it is not Metro's intent to promote religion with the passes," the letter said.

Others in the yearlong series include Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt.


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