(LifeSiteNews) — Catholic students were expelled from one of America’s most important museums for refusing to remove hats which expressed their pro-life beliefs.
On Friday, January 20, following the 50th Annual March for Life in Washington DC, a group from Our Lady of the Rosary School in Greenville, South Carolina was kicked out of the federally-funded Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum for wearing hats emblazoned with the words “Rosary PRO-LIFE.”
“My daughter just called from DC [:] a dozen kids from Greenville just got kicked out of the Air & Space Museum for wearing Pro Life hats,” tweeted the mother of one of the students later that evening. “They were told to remove their hats or leave. Daughter told man they had to wear [them] to find each other in crowd. KICKED OUT for refusing to remove!”
My daughter just called from DC a dozen kids from Greenville just got kicked out of the Air & Space Museum for wearing Pro Life hats.They were told to remove their hats or leave. Daughter told man they had to wear to find each other in crowd. KICKED OUT for refusing to remove! pic.twitter.com/5RSJp2ccGi
— Move to South Carolina (@KihneSheila) January 20, 2023
“They didn’t get the phone out soon enough [to record] – said the entire thing happened in under a minute,” the mother continued in response to queries. “But a lot of students witnessed the intimidation.”
They didn’t get the phone out soon enough – said the entire thing happened in under a minute. But a lot of students witnessed the intimidation.
— Move to South Carolina (@KihneSheila) January 21, 2023
READ: Time-lapse videos show huge turnout for 2023 March for Life: ‘The grassroots has not moved on’
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CVS & Walgreens announce plans to dispense abortion pills after Biden FDA loosens restrictions
The mother also mentioned on Twitter that another individual was allowed to express her ideological beliefs, a woman in a LGBT “Pride” mask, without being driven from the museum.
Correct. A woman had a pride mask on and was not asked to leave.
— Move to South Carolina (@KihneSheila) January 20, 2023
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a pro-life legal organization specializing in “constitutional law with an emphasis on First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly, and exercise of religion,” responded to the story on Twitter, offering legal assistance
“As a non-profit law firm specializing in 1st Amendment pro-life free speech law, we saw your tweet and are astounded!” they wrote. “We’d like to talk with you and see if any action can be taken. Services are pro bono. Please DM us, and we’ll connect.”
As a non-profit law firm specializing in 1st Amendment pro-life free speech law, we saw your tweet and are astounded! We’d like to talk with you and see if any action can be taken. Services are pro bono. Please DM us, and we’ll connect.
— ACLJ (@ACLJ) January 23, 2023
According to an article by the ACLJ, the federally-employed Smithsonian staff told the students that the museum was a “neutral zone,” and that they would have to remove their hats if they wanted to stay. ACLJ also stated that the staff called the students by “expletives” and were mocking them before kicking them out.
“This was a clear-cut First Amendment violation, not only of their freedom of speech but of religion as well,” they said. “The federal government simply cannot ban speech with which it or its employees disagree.”
In their article, where ACLJ mentions that the mother has since become their client, they stated that they are “absolutely appalled” at the Smithsonian’s actions and won’t let this behavior stand.”
“We are preparing to bring legal action to defend the constitutional rights of these children,” they said. “No one, especially kids, should have to fear being kicked out of a national museum by government officials simply for wearing a Christian pro-life hat. We will keep you updated as this situation progresses.”
READ: Lawyers say court errors in Planned Parenthood organ harvesting case warrant new trial
Although the museum has since responded on Twitter to the complaint, they have not yet apologized.
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” they tweeted. “The Museum takes complaints like this seriously. What you have described is not in keeping with our policy and we are following up with our security on this situation.”
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The Museum takes complaints like this seriously. What you have described is not in keeping with our policy and we are following up with our security on this situation. (1/2)
— National Air and Space Museum (@airandspace) January 21, 2023
“There’s going to be litigation in this one,” ACLJ said in a broadcast on their station. “We’re preparing that and we are proud to be doing it. We are standing up for life whether it is at the Supreme Court of the United States or now, at a district court in Washinton DC.”
This is not the first time that Catholic pro-life youngsters have experienced discrimination during a National March for Life. The most celebrated case of recent years concerned students from Covington Catholic High School, most notably the then-16-year-old Nick Sandmann, in 2019. Sandmann was libelled and vilified by mainstream media. The teenager sued, and such press giants as the Washington Post and CNN settled with him out of court.
Readers may voice their concerns to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum by contacting them here.