DC METRO TRANSIT CENSORS WASHINGTON ARCHDIOCESAN CHRISTMAS AD ON BUSSES

DC METRO TRANSIT CENSORS [WASHINGTON ARCHDIOCESAN] CHRISTMAS AD [ON BUSSES]

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11/28/17

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the censoring of a Christmas ad in the District of Columbia:

To celebrate Christmas without celebrating Christ makes as much sense as celebrating Veterans Day without celebrating veterans. But don’t tell that to the secular sages at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

WMATA has banned a Christmas ad sponsored by the Archdiocese of Washington because it “depicts a religious scene and thus seeks to promote religion.” The scene was mounted on a poster to be placed on the outside of metro buses. Its purpose is stated in its message: “Find the Perfect Gift.” The scene neither mentions nor depicts Christ.

The archdiocese, represented by the distinguished law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, has sued WMATA on First Amendment grounds: freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion have both been violated.

Would WMATA allow a bus ad of Rev. Martin Luther King, in clergy garb, speaking from a pulpit before a congregation? Would it reject the ad on the grounds that it is a religious scene and is thus promoting religion?

Would WMATA reject a vile anti-religious ad? Or would it conclude that such a poster is merely an expression of free speech?

Religious speech does not automatically lose its constitutional protections because it is voiced on public property. This is a clear case of viewpoint discrimination, something which the courts have repeatedly struck down as unconstitutional. It is also an example of militant secularism and anti-Christian bigotry.

To show how utterly ignorant the officials at WMATA are, consider that the City of New York recently approved the granting of a permit to the Catholic League to erect a life-size nativity scene in Central Park, on public property. If anything, our crèche is much more of a “religious scene” than the one sponsored by the Archdiocese of Washington, yet it has never been challenged as unconstitutional, not even by the ACLU.

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One comment on “DC METRO TRANSIT CENSORS WASHINGTON ARCHDIOCESAN CHRISTMAS AD ON BUSSES

  1. Any speech, image, ad, banner, or television commercial expressing that Christmas, the festival of the birth of Jesus Christ, is on December 25th and involves the exchanging of gifts, images of shepherds, first-century Israelites, and Wise Men following a Star to Bethlehem, with accompanying greetings of peace, merriment, good will, love, and joy, in no way violates the free-exercise or establishment clauses of the U.S. Constitution, nor does it take one denomination and make it a government-sponsored state religion as an official established church (such as the Anglican Church of England), which was what the establishment clause was about – competition and conflicts between different Christian denominations. Since most Americans identify with some form of Christian affiliation there is nothing controversial about speech, posters, banners, or ads acknowledging, saluting, heralding, promoting, or celebrating the arrival of Christmas. Public transportation probably enjoys an increase in business from all of the shopping, merry making, Festivus, and holiday travel. The policy of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority on Christmas speech and advertising is, therefore, howlingly absurd.

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