WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — The National Archives has fired the security supervisor who instructed March for Life participants to cover up or remove their pro-life hats and clothing, The Daily Signal reported Thursday. The news comes after Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Chip Roy, both Texas Republicans, penned a letter last week demanding answers.
On January 20, just after the first March for Life since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a group of pro-lifers entered the National Archives museum where they were instructed by security officers to take off or conceal the pro-life messages on their apparel if they wanted to remain in the museum.
In a letter obtained by The Daily Signal, acting Archivist Debra Steidel Wall affirmed that the incident “was contrary to NARA [National Archives and Records Administration] policy” and said the primary individual involved has been fired.
The letter came in response to a letter led by Sen. Cruz and Rep. Roy and signed by 21 Republican colleagues demanding “answers about allegations that pro-life Americans were harassed and threatened with expulsion from the National Archives Museum.”
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According to Wall, the security supervisor in question was a private contractor. She said the supervisor had directed other contractors to tell the pro-lifers not to enter the museum wearing their pro-life garb.
“Our vendor conducted its own investigation of the incident and determined a supervisor that it employed, who was working that day, provided instructions to other security officers who work for the same vendor that were contrary to our policy,” she said.
“The vendor has removed this supervisor from NARA’s contract, and that individual is no longer working in any NARA facility,” she said.
“The irony that this happened just steps away from the permanent display of the original Bill of Rights is not lost on me or any of the employees who proudly welcome more than one million annual visitors to the Museum,” Wall added.
The news comes after NARA issued an apology on February 10 after being hit with a lawsuit by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).
In their lawsuit, the ACLJ argued that the security officers’ directives violated the pro-lifers’ free speech as protected under the First Amendment, Fifth Amendment, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Further, the lawsuit alleges that security guards targeting the pro-lifers while allowing other museum visitors to wear clothing with slogans such as “my body, my choice.”
ACLJ executive director Jordan Sekulow pointed out in a press release that what made the “targeting” of the pro-lifers “so egregious” was “that it was done by the very federal institution that is home to our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and the Bill of Rights — the exact documents that call on our government to protect the freedoms of speech and religion, not trample on them.”
As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, NARA responded to the legal challenge with an apology on February 10, confirming that the National Archives “expressly allows all visitors to wear t-shirts, hats, buttons, etc. that display protest language, including religious and political speech.”
NARA further stated that it “reminded all of our security officers at our facilities across the country of the rights of visitors in this regard.”
Last week, the United States National Archives and Records Administration issued an apology to pro-lifers who were told to cover up pro-life attire while visiting a Smithsonian Museum after the National March for Life.https://t.co/SBmzSFs6rz
— LifeSiteNews (@LifeSite) February 15, 2023
READ: National Archives apologizes to students asked to ‘remove or cover’ pro-life attire
Meanwhile, though the security officer involved in the incident at the National Archives has been removed from his position, it appears that the security officials involved in a similar but separate incident will be permitted to keep their jobs.
LifeSiteNews previously reported that, on the same day, another group of pro-lifers were told to remove or cover their pro-life apparel while on-site at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
Responding to requests for answers from Republican lawmakers, the Smithsonian agreed that the directives were wrong but suggested that nobody would be losing their jobs for it.
“This was an aberration and not reflective of Smithsonian values and practice of welcoming all visitors regardless of viewpoint,” Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III said, according to Fox News. “Visitors are not to be denied access based on messages on their clothing, and an error was made in this regard on January 20, 2023.”
Asked whether the Smithsonian would take disciplinary action against the security officials involved, Bunch said that “[t]he instruction to visitors to remove their pro-life hats was a mistake — a misinterpretation of what was permissible. It was not a willful violation.”