September 20, 1993
Hon. David N. Dinkins
Mayor, City of New York
New York, New York 10007
Dear Mayor Dinkins:
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is disturbed that the Metropolitan Transit Authority has permitted VH1, the MTV outlet, the right to conduct an ad campaign that is highly offensive to Roman Catholics and to other Christians as well. Throughout the city, there appears on the sides of buses and on the back of public phone booths a picture of the pop star, Madonna, and a picture of Our Blessed Mother with baby Jesus. In between the two photos is the VHI inscription “The Difference Between You and Your Parents.”
We have no doubt that if the picture consisted only of Our Blessed Mother and Jesus that it would not have been approved by the MTA. That, we are convinced, would have offended too many people and thus not have been sanctioned. Why, then, has the MTA allowed the posting of an ad that Catholics find offensive? Have we come to the point that the only Catholic symbol allowed on public property is one that has been blasphemed?
The Catholic League does not hold you, Mayor Dinkins, directly responsible for sanctioning this ad. But this issue did occur on your watch and that is why we hope you will authorize the removal of this ad and attend to disciplining those responsible for it.
William A. Donohue, Ph.D.