Attack on First Amendment in DC That Should Alarm Everyone


Federal judges have ruled against the Catholics who wanted to put up an ad in the D.C. transit system. It’s a ruling that should alarm every American. This is a direct hit on the First Amendment and freedom of religion.

The ad read, “Find the Perfect Gift” and encourages observance of Catholic practices. It features photos of stars and the three wise men.

The three-member panel of judges said the church failed to show the transit authority favors secular practice or harms Catholic practice.

There’s a little something they left out – the First Amendment and free speech.

The ad would have been accepted before 2015, when the transit system changed its policy to prohibit “issue-oriented advertising, including political, religious and advocacy advertising,” WMATA spokesperson Sherri Ly told Newsweek.

Metro’s guidelines also prohibit “advertisements intended to influence members of the public regarding an issue on which there are varying opinions.”

They ban issues they don’t like.

The archdiocese argues WMATA’s policy is unreasonable, arbitrary, and discriminatory under the First Amendment. They claim, for example, that a commercial ad promoting Christmas shopping would satisfy agency advertising guidelines, but a religious ad would not.

“To borrow from a favorite Christmas story, under WMATA’s guidelines, if the ads are about packages, boxes or bags — if Christmas comes from a store — then it seems WMATA approves,” said Ed McFadden, the archdiocese secretary for communications. “But if Christmas means a little bit more, WMATA plays Grinch.”

They’re literally controlling speech in a public entity.

While the panel didn’t rule on the merits of the lawsuit and just left a prior court’s ruling in place, there will be briefs and the merits are coming.

Forgetting the religious issue, the entire policy is against the First Amendment. Ads for Milo Yiannopoulos’ book Dangerous have been banned under the same ruling and the ACLU is suing.

“It’s an indefensible policy to say that as soon as someone complains about an advertisement, we’re going to take it down,” the ACLU’s D.C. legal director, Arthur Spitzer, told WTOP in August. “Almost everybody rides the bus or the subway or sees the bus go by. And it’s a way to get your message to people who might not otherwise see it, and that’s a very valuable thing to our society.”

Censorship of speech is hate speech.

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