The headline is, as Minority Thought points out, 'absurd' but it is just the latest example of the word 'ban' being thrown around completely incorrectly.
It doesn't take much to work out that Royal Mail has little power to actually 'ban religion'. The story doesn't actually say this, claiming instead that religious images have been 'banned' from this year's Christmas stamps:
Church leaders are furious with Royal Mail bosses who ditched Christian images on Christmas stamps in favour of children’s favourites Wallace and Gromit.
Last night, the Archbishop of Canterbury was being asked to take action, just two days before the stamps go on sale.
But as the very next paragraph of David Paul's article makes clear:
The plasticine stars of The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit will appear on seven different stamps but those wanting a religious theme have only one choice, the image of the Madonna and Child that has been on sale for the past three years.
Ah. So religious images haven't been 'banned' or 'ditched' from this year's stamps? No:
A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: “We have distributed tens of millions of the Madonna and Child stamps to go on sale alongside the Wallace and Gromit stamps.”
How the Express turns 'distributing tens of millions' of something into a 'ban' is something the PCC may want to look at.
Even the Daily Mail, which has been angry about secular Christmas stamps in the past, weren't complaining when they reported on the Wallace and Gromit stamps in September:
The animated inventor, whose gadgets never quite work according to plan, and his long-suffering dog, will be delivering their brand of humour from the envelopes of millions of Christmas cards...
But stamps featuring the Madonna and child are also on sale.
And what of the Express' claim that 'church leaders are furious'? Well, as usual, they use the word 'fury' when the shouldn't. And the article only quotes one person who isn't happy - a 'team rector' from a small village in Wiltshire (population: 1,213). So not leaders, plural.
The Express also claims:
Critics claim the switch to Wallace and Gromit...is a cynical bid by Royal Mail bosses to boost profits and ignores the true meaning of Christmas.
It doesn't say who these 'critics' are. But the Express knows - because this fuss about stamps seems to come up every year - that the Royal Mail have alternated between themes for several years:
Royal Mail’s policy for Christmas stamps is to alternate non-secular and secular themes. The 2009 stamps showed the nativity as depicted in stained glass windows from the Pre-Raphaelite era and in 2010 a secular theme is featured.
To provide choice for customers, the popular 1st and 2nd Class Madonna and Child stamps, first issued in 2007, will also be available.
Indeed, in 2008 the main stamps carried a pantomime theme but as the Royal Mail explained at the time:
Customers will be able to purchase stamps depicting two classic, iconic paintings - the Madonna of Humility by Lippo di Dalmasio and Madonna and Child by William Dyce. The Madonna of Humility features on the 1st Class stamp and Madonna and Child on the 2nd Class.
So the Express have produced a totally misleading headline and made claims about a 'ban' which is clearly shown to be false later in the article. They also over-state the amount, and the strength, of the criticism.
But one person leaving a comment on the Express website hasn't understood any of that: