Catholic Church sues Washington Metro for blocking Christmas-season ad

The Archdiocese of Washington filed a lawsuit against the city's Metro on Nov. 28 that claimed the latter had violated its free speech by blocking a Christmas-season ad which encouraged spirituality during the holiday season.

(REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst)People ride the Metro subway system during the evening rush hour in Washington. March 15, 2016.

The lawsuit was filed after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority rejected a holiday season ad because it allegedly promoted religion. While the bus ad did not include any religious phrases, it contained a silhouette which brought to mind the story of the birth of Jesus Christ as it showed several shepherds and urged people to "Find the Perfect Gift" through religion, Newsweek detailed.

In a statement, the Catholic Church said the ad simply communicated a message of hope and encouraged people to be part of the Christmas season. The archdiocese also accused WMATA's guidelines of violating the First Amendment.

Other ads that have been rejected by WMATA include those from anti-wildlife trafficking groups, Birthright Israel, anti-prostitution groups, abortion pills, and PETA's pro-veganism messages.

Meanwhile, First Lady Melania Trump proudly displayed the Christmas spirit at the White House on Nov. 27. Children from Joint Base Andrews were invited to see this year's new winter wonderland in Washington, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported.

In 2015, then-candidate Donald Trump vowed to bring Christmas back into the public square if he was elected president. That promise apparently was fulfilled this year.

The First Lady highlighted the importance of holiday traditions to their family, saying the Christmas decorations aimed to honor past traditions. She also conveyed hope that visitors to "the People's House" would feel at home when they see the setup.

A nativity display was also seen at the White House. This décor, however, has been present every year since 1967.

The First Family's official Christmas cards were signed by President Trump, the First Lady, and their son Barron. Unlike former president Barack Obama's cards which contained the generic "Season's Greetings," this year's card greeted readers a "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."