DC Archdiocese Sues Over Rejected Transit Christmas Ad

DC Archdiocese Sues Over Rejected Transit Christmas Ad

The Archdiocese of Washington in the United States hopes a federal judge will force the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to reverse its decision to reject the commercial.

The ad is as simple as it subtle, displaying this slogan - "Find the Perfect Gift" - against a background of shepherds on a starry night.

The website also includes a section about Catholic Advent and Christmas traditions and includes tips for how families can start their own traditions.

"Yet citing its guidelines, WMATA's legal counsel said the ad 'depicts a religious scene and thus seeks to promote religion, '" said Ed McFadden, secretary for communications for the archdiocese. Chieko Noguchi, the spokesperson of the church said the metro advertisement was particularly made to avoid such a scenario.

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In addition to its Christmas campaign, the archdiocese has used Metro bus advertising in the past to promote a Lenten reconciliation campaign and for papal visits to Washington in 2008 and 2015.

However, the authority changed its advertising guidelines in 2015, prohibiting "issue-oriented advertising, including political, religious and advocacy advertising".

Jack Costello, a representative of Outfront Media, told Archdiocese spokesman Ed McFadden over the phone that if the ad "had a commercial goal, such as selling goods or services, then the advertisement would be more likely to comply with WMATA's guidelines". But if Christmas means a little bit more, WMATA plays Grinch, ' he added.

The Metro system in the nation's capital violated the free speech of the city's Catholic church by blocking a pro-religion Christmas-season ad on buses, a new lawsuit charged Tuesday.

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The ads were rejected by Metro for being religious in nature.

"Jesus is the flawless gift", the information on the website says.

A FOX News article noted that the advertisement depicted the North Star with silhouettes of three shepherds walking with staffs and sheep, accompanied by the words, "FIND THE PERFECT GIFT". WMATA responded by banning all "issue"-related ads".

Paul Clement of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, counsel to the Archdiocese, said the metro's "rejection of the Archdiocese's speech amounts to a violation of the First Amendment, plain and simple".

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"Although all of the campaign's distribution channels are helpful for spreading the Archdiocese's message, there is no medium that will reach the Archdiocese's broad audience as consistently or effectively as bus advertising", the complaint reads.

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