Washington pastor to launch 'Christmas Spirit Rides' after metro rejects Christmas ad

An evangelical pastor in Washington, D.C. said he and his followers will be launching a campaign called "Christmas Spirit Rides" after the state's metro system rejected a Christmas ad submitted by the Catholic Church.

(REUTERS / Joshua Roberts / File Photo)Metro trains arrive in the Gallery Place-Chinatown station ahead of a 29-hour shutdown for an emergency safety investigation of power cabling of the entire Washington Metro system in Washington March 15, 2016.

In an interview with Life Site News, Church on the Hill D.C. lead pastor Rev. Patrick Mahoney praised the Catholic Church for its "Find the Perfect Gift" campaign which he said reminds people in Washington about the real meaning of Christmas. He also expressed his support for the D.C. Archdiocese's lawsuit against the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) over the alleged violation of the First Amendment after the latter rejected the ad.

The ad in question, which was supposed to be placed on the sides of buses, held a message that invited people to visit a website that said "Jesus is the perfect gift." It also contained the silhouettes of some sheep, shepherds, and a star, and a list of church service schedules.

WMATA told Newsweek that the Archdiocese's ad would have been approved before 2015. However, the transit system's policy has since been altered and now bans advertisements bearing advocacies as well as political and religious messages.

Should the WMATA fail to reverse its decision on the ad, the next few weeks will be seeing Mahoney and several others distributing copies of the rejected ad to metro passengers. Their "Christmas Spirit Rides" campaign is their way of voicing out their opinion on the matter and sharing the message behind the holiday season.

"We are also embracing the opportunity to share the beautiful ... timeless message of Our Lord's birth at Christmas," Rev. Mahoney told Life Site. "In an odd way, it's kind of fascinating how God works. This 'Perfect Gift' campaign has gotten hundreds of thousands of dollars in free advertising already."

In addition, Mahoney said he has seen how God has worked amidst the situation. He said the controversy has sparked conversations about the Christmas campaign and has brought together Christians from various denominations who are speaking out on the issue.