- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Catholic church is taking Metro to court after the Washington-area transit agency rejected an ad campaign promoting a website aimed at encouraging attendance at parishes throughout the D.C. area.

WTOP Radio reported that the Archdiocese of Washington filed the lawsuit Tuesday after Metro rejected an advertisement promoting the website FindthePerfectGift.org. “Find the perfect gift,” reads the ad’s tag line, set against a backdrop depicting shepherds with their flock of sheep looking up into a starry sky.

While no overtly religious message is included in the text of the ad itself, the home page FindthePerfectGift explains that “Jesus is the perfect gift,” and includes links for visitors to find the nearest Catholic parish.

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

In its court filing, the Archdiocese claims Metro rejected the design, saying it “depicts a religious scene and thus seeks to promote religion,” WTOP said.

The Archdiocese is asking for the court to scrap Metro’s advertising guidelines and to compel the agency to reimburse it for court costs and attorneys fees, the radio station said.

An official for the Archdiocese also criticized Metro for being perfectly fine with commercializing Christmas while rejecting messages from religious bodies promoting the true meaning of the holiday.

“[I]f Christmas comes from a store … then it seems WMATA approves. But if Christmas means a little bit more, WMATA plays Grinch,” said Archdiocese of Washington communications secretary Ed McFadden in a statement, WTOP reported.

• Ken Shepherd can be reached at kshepherd@washingtontimes.com.

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