War On Christmas: Washington D.C. Metro Bans Christmas Ads, Causes Uproar

by Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE on December 1, 2017

in News


Sputniknews – 1/12/17

The Catholic Church is suing the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which regulates the advertisement on DC’s transportation network, for banning one of its Christmas season ads in the US capital, where less than 50 percent of the population expressly identifies as Christian.

The Archdiocese of Washington, the Catholic Church’s branch in Washington DC, has filed a lawsuit against the regulatory authority, alleging that the ban violated its right to free speech.

WMATA rejected the Catholic request to display one of its ads that was supposed to invite people to participate in the Christmas season and encourage spirituality due to the fact that it supposedly promoted religion, breaching the authority’s guidelines.

The Church, however, contests this finding, pointing to the absence of any religious wording in the ad, which merely included the silhouettes of shepherds placed against the background of a starry night, in homage to Jesus’s birth.

According to official State data, only 13% of the DC’s population is Catholic, though the Church’s data pins the number of worshipers closer to 22%.

The words on the advertisement invited readers to “Find the Perfect Gift” and providing a link to their website for those who are interested in Catholic traditions.

“Jesus is the perfect gift,” the information on the website says.

“Find the perfect gift of God’s love this Christmas.”

READ MORE: DC Transit Halts ‘Issue-Related’ Ads After Muhammad Cartoon Submission

Speaking to Newsweek, WMATA spokeswoman Sherri Ly said that the ad might have been accepted before 2015, when the transport authority chose to prohibit all “issue-orientated advertising, including political, religious and advocacy advertising.”

In its public statement, however, the Catholic Church argued that the ad did not breach the WMATA rules, as it simply “conveys a simple message of hope, and an invitation to participate in the Christmas season.”

The Archdiocese’s Director of Media Relations Chieko Noguchi also told Newsweek that after carefully studying the Metro’s guidelines and specifically, the Church opted to use the ad in question to fit the specific rules.

“Our other ads have a very similar image but contain a quotation from the Book of Luke. This is the simple one, just for Metro,” the spokesperson said.

However, the ad might have been caught by another WMATA rule that broadly proscribes “advertisements intended to influence members of the public regarding an issue on which there are varying opinions.”

Several other supposedly controversial ads were previously banned by the transport system for violating the rule.

These included ads from anti-wildlife trafficking organizations, abortion pill companies, PETA promoting veganism, Birthright Israel, anti-prostitution groups, and Milo Yinnopolous.

It is also not the first time the has found itself in a legal debacle.

Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the Metro, seeking to abolish the existing guidelines for being “misguided and impossible to administer fairly.”

The ACLU filed the lawsuit against the transport system for forbidding ads, while promoting Yinnopolous’s book Dangerous due to the writer’s controversial image, sparking an outcry from many of its followers.

The WMATA’s latest clash with the Catholic Church also provoked an intense Twitter reaction.



{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

  • Buy the new book from the house of OCP:

    The Orthodox Dilemma

    Paperback – April 16, 2016
    by George Alexander

    The Orthodox Dilemma consists of personal reflections on global Pan-Orthodox Christian Unity. The work focuses on the need for establishing sacramental communion between the Eastern, Oriental and other families of Orthodox Churches. The author calls to create a common conciliar platform for Orthodox Churches and to establish dialogues between Eastern, Oriental, Old Believes, Old Calendar, Non-canonical, Unrecognized and New Generation Orthodox Churches.The major aim of the work is to provide different and unique aspects of Pan-Orthodox Christian Unity.The book also sheds light on problems, challenges and scope of inter-orthodox dialogue. This may be the first book of its kind to call for the creation of a global platform for all Orthodox Christians.The book tries to provide unique aspects of Orthodox Christianity.The work is a combination of personal thoughts of the author, history, contemporary Orthodoxy, dialogue and Pan-Orthodox Christian approach.

    Buy now: