WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Archdiocese of Washington says they are appealing the decision of a federal judge not to force Metro to use their Christmas-themed ad.
On Friday, A federal judge ruled that Metro can choose not to run the ad because of its religious nature.
The Archdiocese said they appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Sunday to have the decision overturned.
Secretary for Communications, Archdiocese of Washington Ed McFadden released the following statement:
“In ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ he asks, ‘Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?’ Linus responds, ‘Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.’ That is what the archdiocese wants to do with the www.FindthePerfectGift.org ad campaign. 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.”
The Archdiocese of Washington announced Nov. 28 that it was suing Metro after its Christmas-themed ad was rejected by the transit agency, citing that it was a violation of the church’s First Amendment rights. Metro is operated by the government.
The banner ad was created to be posted on the back of Metrobuses. The ad doesn’t mention Christianity or the Catholic Church by name, though three shepherds and two sheep are depicted – an apparent reference to a story of Christmas from the Bible.
“When WMATA allows advertisements addressing commercial aspects of the holidays, and suggests it would permit the Archdiocese’s advertisement if it were more commercially-oriented, its prohibition of an advertisement emphasizing the 'religious half' of the season is impermissible viewpoint discrimination," the Archdiocese said in its appeal filing.
Metro said the ad "depicts a religious scene and thus seeks to promote religion,” which violates their own guidelines to promote any religion in any way.
At the Find The Perfect Gift website, visitors will find a video greeting from a priest, a parish locator and an invitation to attend church this Christmas.
Archdiocese secretary for pastoral ministry Susan Timoney said, “It's an invitation for people to join us.”