‘Egregious’: Smithsonian ejects pro-life kids, now conservatives ‘fight back’
Bob Unruh(WND) c
The American Center for Law and Justice has announced it is “fighting back” on behalf of a group of pro-life students who were ejected from the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum because they were wearing pro-life beanies.
“This is a clear and egregious abuse of the First Amendment, which protects their right to free speech without government interference, and we are ready to take action,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, in Fox News report.
“A government institution cannot censor an individual’s speech, much less speech from the inherently Christian pro-life position.”
He noted the Smithsonian Institution is a federal entity that receives about a billion dollars from the federal government annually.
An official for the museum said the incident was in violation of its policies and protocols.
“Asking visitors to remove hats and clothing is not in keeping with our policy or protocols. We provided immediate training to prevent a re-occurrence of this kind of incident, and have determined steps to ensure this does not happen again,” said Alison Wood, the museum’s deputy director of communications.
The students and their chaperones were from Our Lady of the Rosary School in Greenville, South Carolina. They were in Washington for the annual March for Life.
They were wearing matching beanies with the words “Rosary PRO-LIFE.”
The ACLJ already represents the parents of some of the students involved, and the group alleged museum staff “mocked the students, hurled expletives and claimed the museum was a ‘neutral zone’ where political or religious messages were not allowed.”
On social media, a student reported telling a guard they were wearing the hats to identify and find one another in crowds.
But they were escorted out of the federal facility.
Sekulow said others in the museum were wearing other hats, with a variety of messages, without issue.
The ACLJ called the museum’s actions “unconstitutional discrimination.”
The ACLJ reported, “The employee who ultimately forced the students to leave the museum was rubbing his hands together in glee as they exited the building. We here at the ACLJ are absolutely appalled at this blatant discrimination and won’t let this behavior stand.”
The organization’s report continued, “Imagine this is your child being accosted, berated, and kicked out of a museum – that other children are allowed to attend – just because of their beliefs. This is a clear and egregious abuse of the First Amendment, which protects their right to free speech without government interference, and we are ready to take action.
“The law is clear: ‘The government may not suppress or exclude the speech of private parties for the sole reason that the speech is religious.’”
When the incident developed, Live Action News documented that several adults verified the claims made by the students.
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