Govt. museum paying massive cash after banning Christian kids

 March 19, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A settlement has been reached that includes a $50,000 payment from the Smithsonian over the treatment delivered by the security team at the National Air and Space Museum to Christian students who were banned from wearing pro-life messages while visiting.

The American Center for Law and Justice has been involved for several months in the dispute involving students who were attending a pro-life rally in Washington and visited not just the Space Museum but also the National Archives, a division that reached an earlier settlement.

The settlement, besides the payment, will include a "private tour to be given by the director," personal apologies, public release of an "after action" report, and messages to all security officers at all Smithsonian museums regarding its policy regarding messages on clothing.

The ACLJ said the fight erupted when security officers kicked students out of the federal facilities because they were wearing pro-life hats.

The conflict happened last year on the 50th annual March for Life when students were targeted "because of their pro-life apparel while visiting several different government buildings."

"They were required to cover up their pro-life apparel, or leave the buildings, in violation of their free speech rights as protected by the First Amendment," the ACLJ said. "Not long ago, the ACLJ achieved its first major victory against the National Archives in one of the cases we filed in support of those pro-lifers. Now, we have achieved our second major victory, this time in the case against the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (Smithsonian)."

The ACLJ had explained earlier, "Students from a Catholic school in Greenville, South Carolina, traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the National March for Life. After the event, they went over to explore the nearby Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Once in the [federal] museum, they were accosted several times and told they would be forced to leave unless they removed their pro-life hats. The group all wore the same blue hat that simply said, 'Rosary PRO-LIFE.' Other individuals in the museum were wearing hats of all kinds without issue."

The government workers were accused of mocking the students, calling them expletives and making comments that the museum was a "neutral zone" where their beliefs were not allowed.

"The employee who ultimately forced the students to leave the museum was rubbing his hands together in glee as they exited the building," the legal team reported.

Earlier, the Smithsonian agreed to an injunction that halted future such incidents.

The ACLJ reported a federal court now has entered the consent decree in the case.

WND earlier reported when the Smithsonian said it "shall further reiterate to all security officers stationed at all Smithsonian museums open to the public and the National Zoological Park, that Smithsonian policy does not prohibit visitors from wearing hats or other types of clothing with messages, including religious and political speech."

The National Archives incident earlier resulted in a consent order and injunction.

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