This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
Another federal institution has been sued for its decision to discriminate against speech, specifically pro-life speech.
The American Center for Law and Justice, which earlier sued the Smithsonian for its decision to ban a class of students who were in town for the annual March for Life, and wore pro-life stocking caps to be able to identify each other in a crowd, now is suing the National Archives.
According to the ACLJ, "Yes, the same National Archives that can't keep classified records straight – doesn't know where the classified documents are or who has them – is still somehow able to target, harass, and threaten to kick out Christians for their pro-life views."
The ACLJ report on its legal action continued, "It's outrageous, but sadly, it's not shocking. The National Archives Museum – another federally funded national museum in Washington, D.C. – targeted and censored its religious, pro-life visitors on January 20, 2023, – the day of the 50th annual National March for Life."
It continued, "What is so egregious about this particular targeting is 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."
The legal team explained it is representing four clients who are part of three different groups – all "told by National Archives employees that they had to take off their religious, pro-life apparel or leave the museum."
"When one of our clients questioned the order, a National Archives security officer said that the apparel would 'incite others' and that she was 'disturbing peace.' Yet another one of our clients was told that her T-shirt was 'offensive” and had to be covered up or removed. Her shirt read simply, 'MARCH 4 LIFE 2014: Saint Cecilia’s Youth Group, Glen Carbon, IL.' Perhaps most disturbing of all were the National Archives security officers who instructed a whole group of Catholic students and chaperones to remove or cover up ALL their religious and pro-life clothing while standing in the same room as the Constitution of the United States."
The complaint by the ACLJ itself says: "[The security officer] made other classmates standing near Plaintiff remove their pro-life hats. One such hat contained the inscription, 'LIFE always WINS.' Another hat contained the inscription, 'ProLife.' Plaintiff witnessed another guard participate in these instructions to her classmates and at no time did any of the other guards in the Rotunda intercede and provide contrary instruction."
The ACLJ reported that at the same time, "at least two other National Archives visitors, a man and a woman, freely walking around while wearing what appeared to be 'pro-choice' apparel, with statements to the effect of 'My Body, My Choice,' and 'Pro-Choice.'"
That's evidence, the report said of "blatantly unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination."
The complaint was filed in federal court in Washington and alleges free speech violations of the First Amendment, equal protection violations of the Fifth Amendment, and more.
The legal team said, "What occurred is not only an injustice, it is intolerable, and we aren’t going to let them get away with it. We intend to find out what’s behind this targeted discrimination."
As reported, the ACLJ earlier sued the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum for similar offenses.
There, officials demanded students wearing pro-life stocking caps be removed.
The students were in Washington D.C. on Jan 20. March for Life and visited the museum after the march, where they were reportedly berated by employees and told they must remove their hats with the words “Rosary Pro-Life” or leave.
One staff member told the students their hats were “political statements” that did not promote equality, claiming the museum is “a neutral zone” where the First Amendment “does not apply”— despite other visitors similarly wearing expressive statements on their attire, such as pride masks, according to the case filing.