Radio reported that the Archdiocese of Washington filed the lawsuit Tuesday after Metro rejected an advertisement promoting the website FindthePerfectGift.org. "Find the ideal gift", reads the ad's tag line, set against a backdrop depicting shepherds with their flock of sheep looking up into a starry sky. Our Find The Perfect Gift initiative seeks to remind people of the well accepted, joyful spirit of the season.
In his statement, the archdiocese said the advertisement simply conveys a message of hope.
"We're entering into a season where people open their hearts", Chieko Noguchi, an Archdiocese spokesman, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
"In 2015, WMATA changed its advertising policy to prohibit issue-oriented advertising, including political, religious and advocacy advertising", Sherri Ly, manager of media relations, told the paper.
Ed McFadden, Secretary for Communications for the Archdiocese of Washington, explained the case in these terms, making reference to the beloved holiday classic "How the Grinch Stole Christmas": "To borrow from a favorite Christmas story, under WMATA's guidelines, if the ads are about packages, boxes or bags ... if Christmas comes from a store ... then it seems WMATA approves".
Metro adopted the policy in 2015 after anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller attempted to buy ad space on the subway.
The Archdiocese is now suing Metro over the banning. They planned to plaster buses and bus kiosks with the ad campaign
Metro has rejected ads before, and, as the "Unsuck DC Metro" account pointed out, ends up racking up legal fees defending their censorship.
They also say that the imagery on their ad isn't even very religious - since it doesn't show Jesus, the manger or a cross. The Archdiocese did not propose an ad to be featured by WMATA again until the 2017 Christmas ad.
According to a press release from the A.C.L.U., "parts of the agency's ad policies violate the First Amendment by discriminating against particular ads and advertisers deemed controversial by WMATA officials".
'WMATA's rejection of the Archdiocese's speech amounts to a violation of the First Amendment, plain and simple.
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.
"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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