Pro-Life Students Ejected From “Neutral” Smithsonian
A group of students and faculty from a Catholic high school in South Carolina were allegedly kicked out Washington, DC’s National Air and Space Museum because they were wearing beanies inscribed with pro-life messages.
As is common with school field trips, all students and staff wore matching hats to prevent individuals from getting lost. The blue beanies were stitched with the words “Rosary PRO-LIFE,” a reference to both the school and its religious views.
According to parents now involved in a lawsuit against the Smithsonian, members of the museum staff taunted the group, yelled expletives at them, and claimed the site was a “neutral zone” where religious and/or political messages were not welcome. One security guard actually told the group they must either remove their hats or leave the premises.
“They should be allowed to wear the hats that they were wearing and to be able to express themselves,” argues Nora Luz Kriegel, a parent with two children attending the school. “I just don’t understand at all in my being how anybody could look at something that says ‘pro life’ and say that this is something that is offensive to them in any way, shape, or form.”
Kriegel wrote a letter to the museum and is leading a petition to change the institution’s culture of neutrality.
Parents involved in the suit are backed by the American Center for Law and Justice, whose Executive Director Jordan Sekulow described the museum’s behavior as “a clear and egregious abuse of the First Amendment.”
The museum’s treatment of these students is an example of “outrageous” and “abhorrent” discrimination, he added, that could jeopardize the $1 billion in federal funding it receives each year.
A Smithsonian spokesman told Fox News that the staff’s behavior was ‘not consistent with protocol’ and that immediate sensitivity training had been provided to prevent a repeat incident.
The students had also attended the anti-abortion March for Life rally as part of the field trip.
Though not as severe, this incident brings to mind the 2019 Lincoln Memorial confrontation in which Kentucky teen Nick Sandmann was vilified by the liberal media after he was caught on film in a tense situation with a Native American elder Nathan. Sandmann was in DC with a group of students from Covington Catholic High School who had also attended the March for Life Rally.
Author’s Note: A government institution such as the Smithsonian cannot and should not be censoring the speech of visitors – much less those coming from the inherently Christian pro-life position. As noted in a letter the school received from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, thousands of Catholic students attend the March for Life every year and are entitled to express their views.