DC Transit Rejects Ad Banners Featuring George Washington Kneeling in Prayer

It’s not every day that the American Civil Liberties Union and First Liberty Institute are on the same side of the courtroom — but hey — there’s always room for a Christmas miracle.

The ACLU and First Liberty Institute have filed a federal lawsuit against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority on behalf of Wallbuilders, a well respected Christian organization that promotes the importance of religion in the founding of our nation.

They allege the DC Transity Authority violated the First Amendment rights of Wallbuilders by rejecting an advertising campaign that featured George Washington kneeling in prayer.

Wallbuilders president Tim Barton said on my Newsmax television program that the campaign was meant to promote their new website.

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“We took a pretty iconic image of George Washington kneeling in prayer from the story at Valley Forge,” Barton said. “And there was a QR code with a link to the website where we go on our website to an article that has firsthand sources from the founders own writings about their belief in God, Jesus, the Bible.”

The transit authority rejected the ad and said it was unacceptable.

First Liberty’s Jeremy Dys told Newsmax it’s not the first time the city has rejected religious-themed advertising.

“This happened a couple of years ago with the Archdiocese of Northern Virginia trying to advertise for their Christmas programs, and they said they couldn’t do it,” he said.

“The irony here is that we’ve got all kinds of pictures about the ads that they do run on their busses that we included in our complaint, and that includes things like online gambling, includes things like liquor and alcohol sales,” Dys pointed out. “It includes advertisements for things like The Book of Mormon, a very satirical, sometimes insulting look at religion based upon the Mormon religion.”

The transit authority also has advertisements for Plan B, the contraceptive, as well as advertising for term limitations, Dys said.

“And all this after they told WallBuilders that they couldn’t advertise on their bus because George Washington was apparently an issue ad on which there are varying public opinions,” he said. “That’s awful strange. And it leads one to wonder is the Washington area a metropolitan area transit authority, going to change their name to disassociate with the Founding Father himself?”

Dys says the transit authority violated the First Amendment.

“The First Amendment grants all Americans the right to express their point of view, religious or secular,” he said. “Rejecting a faith-based advertising banner by labeling it an ‘issue ad,’ while accepting other ads such as those promoting a ‘Social Justice School,’ ‘Earth Day,’ and the highly controversial idea of terms limits for Supreme Court Justices, is clearly hypocritical, discriminatory, and illegal. WMATA must support the freedoms provided in the First Amendment rather than silence Americans through censorship.”

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