Washington archdiocese sues metro

A lawsuit against Washington city’s metro (WMATA) system was filed on Tuesday by the Washington archdiocese.

The lawsuit was filed after the metro system banned the archdiocese’s Christmas ads.

A series of ads promoting Christmas Mass schedules and ways to help the needy during the holiday season had been prepared.

They were to be shown on the sides of buses and on bus kiosks.

The graphics for the ads show the Three Wise Men and a couple of sheep looking at the star pointing to the place of Christ’s birth.

The metro rejected the ads because they were religious.

“The rejected ad conveys a simple message of hope, and an invitation to participate in the Christmas season.

“Yet citing its guidelines, WMATA’s legal counsel said the ad “depicts a religious scene and thus seeks to promote religion,” a statement from an archdiocesan spokesperson says.

“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. But if Christmas means a little bit more, WMATA plays Grinch,” the spokesperson added.

A metro spokesperson says religious advertisements have been banned since 2015.

“In 2015, WMATA changed its advertising policy to prohibit issue-oriented advertising, including political, religious and advocacy advertising.

“The ad in question was declined because it is prohibited by WMATA’s current advertising guidelines,’ the manager of WMATA’s media relations says.

But the archdiocese says the metro has been inconsistent in the way it enforces the rule.

It claims the metro allows the Salvation Army, a Christian group, to advertise and allows Christmas advertisements that play into the commercial side of the season.


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