Archdiocese of Washington Sues Transit Authority After Rejection of Christmas Ad

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) rejected a Christmas advertisement from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese on the grounds that it ran afoul of guidelines for religious advertising.

From The Washington Examiner:

The WMATA policy states, “Advertisements that promote or oppose any religion, religious practice, or belief are prohibited.” But the Archdiocese is contesting the rejection, saying the ad “conveys a simple message of hope, and an invitation to participate in the Christmas season.”

“As the papers filed in Court today make clear, WMATA’s rejection of the Archdiocese’s speech amounts to a violation of the First Amendment, plain and simple,” Paul Clement, counsel to the Archdiocese said in a press release.

The ad depicts shepherds walking up a mountain and prompts Metro and bus riders to visit, an annual initiative that directs locals to visit the church during the Christmas season.

Here is a screenshot of the ad:

(Washington Examiner Screen Shot)







Seems rather benign. The odds that someone will be mesmerized into converting to Christianity from it are probably slim.

This is the kind of thing that those of us who complain about a “war on Christmas” are talking about. There is no mention of Jesus, or even a specific Christian denomination, but it is somehow promoting religion. Were that same scene on an ad that was promoting a retail “gift” there would be no problem at all. People love to rake in the Christmas advertising money as long as no one actually talks about, you know, Christmas.

What’s more galling is that the “holidays” advertising starts earlier and earlier every year. So we now have to endure a longer period of businesses “celebrating” Christmas, all the while working overtime to pretend that there is no religious significance to it. It’s exhausting. Almost like swimming in the middle of the ocean and trying to not get wet.