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. It promotes no religion, merely spirituality - as does yoga, ads for which the Transit Authority does gladly accept.
With Christmas less than a month away, the Archdiocese of Washington is encouraging consumers to "find the ideal gift" by attending church, seeking spiritual gifts and serving the poor. Yet citing its guidelines, WMATA's legal counsel said the ad "depicts a religious scene and thus seeks to promote religion,"' said Ed McFadden, secretary for communications for the Archdiocese of Washington, said in a statement.
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He said that WMATA put out a statement saying that the ad is "prohibited. under current advertising guidelines", adding that the possibility of "differing opinions" added to the decision.
Noguchi told TheDCNF other advertisers have deemed WMATA's new advertising guidelines sufficiently vague that even the ACLU filed a lawsuit against WMATA for rejecting ads for PETA, Milo Yiannopoulous' book "Dangerous", and the "10-Week-After" abortion pill.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit against the transport system for forbidding ads, while promoting Yinnopolous's book unsafe due to the writer's controversial image, sparking an outcry from many of its followers.
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Kim Fiorentino, the Archdiocese of Washington's Chancellor and General Counsel, said: "We believe rejection of this ad to be a clear violation of fundamental free speech and a limitation on the exercise of our faith". "We look forward to presenting our case to affirm the right of all to express such viewpoints in the public square".
McFadden said the archdiocese has been using bus ads for major campaigns for close to ten years. Despite the proposed ad's lack of scripture, Outfront Media, Inc., the company that contracts with WMATA to market advertising space, rejected the ad. "It's a giving season, both spiritually and materially".
Metro barred political and religious advertising after an activist group submitted a cartoon depiction of the Prophet Muhammad to run as an ad at Metrorail stations and on buses.
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Timoney said the archdiocese wanted to encourage society to help care for "our most vulnerable neighbors", to "share our blessings", and to "welcome all who wish to hear the Good News".