Washington transit rejects religious ad depicting 3 Magi, North Star

Washington transit rejects religious ad depicting 3 Magi, North Star

Washington transit rejects religious ad depicting 3 Magi, North Star

The simple issue at hand is that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington wants to run an ad on city transport encouraging folks to consider the spiritual side of Christmas, and the Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has rejected it because "it depicts a religious scene and thus seeks to promote religion", and so violates agency policy. The design says "Find the ideal gift" and shows shepherds and sheep, as in a classic Nativity scene.

The website also includes a section about Catholic Advent and Christmas traditions and includes tips for how families can start their own traditions.

"Our ad was created to be placed on metro bus exteriors to reach the broadest audience and to invite everyone to experience the well-accepted joyful spirit of the season, or to share their many blessings with others less fortunate through service opportunities", Susan Timoney, secretary for pastoral ministry and social concerns for the archdiocese, said.

"We're entering into a season where people open their hearts", Chieko Noguchi, an Archdiocese spokesman, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The church planned to roll out a series of ads on the sides of buses and on bus kiosks promoting Christmas mass schedules and ways to help the needy during the holiday season.

The ad would have been accepted before 2015, when the transit system changed its policy to prohibit "issue-oriented advertising, including political, religious and advocacy advertising", Metro spokeswoman Sherri Ly told Newsweek.

The ads were rejected by Metro for being religious in nature.

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.

"But if Christmas means a little bit more", McFadden continued, "WMATA plays Grinch".

"The ad in question was declined because it is prohibited by WMATA's current advertising guidelines", the agency said in a statement.

"Jesus is the ideal gift", the website says.

In the summer of 2015, WMATA let Carafem, an abortion facility that styles itself as a "spa", advertise its lethal services. Launched to commemorate World AIDS Day, the ads read, "Because the bishops ban condoms, innocent people die", and they urged readers to "Join the Global Campaign to End the Bishops' Ban on Condoms".

"We believe rejection of this ad to be a clear violation of fundamental free speech and a limitation on the exercise of our faith", said Kim Fiorentino, archdiocesan chancellor and general counsel.

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