Washington Archdiocese takes transit system to court over ad guidelines

- The Archdiocese of Washington has filed a lawsuit against Metro after it denied an advertisement because it "depicts a religious scene".

The Archdiocese of Washington sued the DC metro Tuesday for refusing to run its Christmas-themed bus ads on the grounds the ads are too religious.

Since 2015, the Archdiocese and WMATA have clashed over the advertising guidelines.

He said the ad was submitted in late October to the agency that manages W.M.A.T.A. advertisements, Outfront Media, which rejected it within 24 hours. "This campaign, 'The Light Is on for You, ' was remarkably successful for the archdiocese - and lucrative for WMATA - with advertisements on the backs of 85 buses throughout the metropolitan area".

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

Ed McFadden, the secretary of communications, Archdiocese of Washington, said if one goes by the rules as implied by DC metro, then only advertisements containing images of bags, boxes or packages are acceptable, as if Christmas is only about shopping.

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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".

A Catholic advertisement campaign has been rejected by the Washington Metro as it promotes "spiritual giving" and not presents. The Find The Perfect Gift website advertised on the proposed displays shows church teachings, Mass schedules, and upcoming charity events, and features the test "Jesus is the perfect gift", on its homepage. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. They were joined in the suit by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, by a provider of abortions and by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, all of whom also had ads rejected by the transit agency.

The archdiocese has scuffled with the W.M.A.T.A.in the past.

The Archdiocese calls WMATA's ad guidelines discriminatory in the lawsuit, and asks a judge to overrule them and order WMATA to cover the legal costs incurred by the Archdiocese from the lawsuit. The Archdiocese did not propose an ad to be featured by WMATA again until the 2017 Christmas ad. According to the Post, Metro officials later said the condom ads provoked the "single largest negative response" in the transit system's history.

The message of the ads, the archdiocese contends, is not all that controversial.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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