WASHINGTON

Archdiocese Files Appeal After Court Denies Metro Christmas Ad

The Archdiocese of Washington has filed an appeal after a federal court denied its request to put Christmas ads on Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority buses.

The archdiocese filed a federal lawsuit against WMATA last month after the transit agency refused to sell space on buses for Christmas fundraising ads, citing its ban on "issue-oriented advertising." 

A federal court sided with Metro Sunday. In response, the archdiocese filed an appeal, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn the lower court's decision. 

The ad design showed shepherds and sheep, as in a classic Nativity scene, with the words "Find the Perfect Gift."

"In a society concerned more with what’s under the tree, and where the birth of Jesus is treated as an intrusive element to the season, we simply want to share the real Christmas story, the full joy of Christmas, with our neighbors and share the Christmas spirit with those in need," said Ed McFadden, secretary of communications for the Archdiocese of Washington. 

Metro spokeswoman Sherri Ly said rejecting the ad was in line with the agency's policies.

"In 2015, WMATA changed its advertising policy to prohibit issue-oriented advertising, including political, religious and advocacy advertising," she said in a statement. "The ad in question was declined, because it is prohibited by WMATA's current advertising guidelines."

Metro decided to bar all 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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