Federal judge rules in favor of Metro refusing Catholic Church ad

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge ruled Saturday in support of WMATA’s refusal to run ads from the Catholic Church on their buses, based on their advertising guidelines against promoting or opposing any religion.

The Archdiocese of Washington took to D.C.’s District Court in an attempt to force Metro to use their ads for their “Find the Perfect Gift” Christmas campaign. The advertisements depict a scene from the biblical telling of Christmas.

The advertisement in question

The Archdiocese argued to the court that that their ads “invite the public to consider the spiritual meaning of Christmas” and “consider celebrating … by going to Mass at one of our parishes and/or joining in one of our many outreach programs that care for the most vulnerable and poor”.

The court, however, upheld WMATA’s decision based on their established advertising guidelines, and said that the precedent and “applicable constitutional principles” were clear in this case.

Their ruling also stated that “it is settled as a matter of law that the exterior of a bus is not a public forum open to anyone”.