This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
The American Center for Law and Justice is declaring victory in its fight against the Smithsonian over its anti-Christian practice – in which guards banned students wearing pro-life hats.
The organization is reporting a consent decree has been approved by a federal court.
In it, the federal institute promises, “Smithsonian 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 ACLJ has been representing students kicked out of the National Air and Space Museum.
“This victory follows on the heels of the victory we achieved for our other clients in the case against the National Archives. Just as in the National Archives case, the Smithsonian has agreed to enter into a consent order and preliminary injunction, which is a court order prohibiting the Smithsonian from targeting pro-lifers again,” the ACLJ reported.
“As you’ll recall, on January 20, 2023, following the 50th Annual National March for Life in Washington, D.C., a group of young pro-life students, along with parents and chaperones, visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. While in the museum, the students were targeted and harassed and eventually kicked out by employees simply because the students were wearing blue beanie hats that had ‘Rosary PRO-LIFE’ written on them.”
A lawsuit followed, in which the ACLJ noted, “When our clients initially entered the museum, they were told by at least two security officers to remove their hats as they were going through security. They complied, believing this to be a simple security protocol for screening. After passing through security and seeing other individuals wearing expressive attire, the students put their hats back on and viewed the museum exhibits. Thereafter, multiple museum personnel told the students they must remove their hats. Staff could be heard using expletives about the students, many of whom were minors …”
The ACLJ warned, however, that the case “is far from over.”
“As with our lawsuit against the National Archives, we will enter a period of mediation with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to see if we can get to the bottom of why our clients were targeted. This is just one of many coordinated efforts to harass and abuse pro-lifers in federally funded institutions. That directive came from someone, and whoever it was must be held accountable, and we’re going to do the work necessary to hold them accountable.”
When the dispute developed WND reported that the ACLJ described the harassment as “a clear and egregious abuse of the First Amendment, which protects their right to free speech without government interference.”
“A government institution cannot censor an individual’s speech, much less speech from the inherently Christian pro-life position,” the organization said.
Museum officials initially responded that the actions by the security officers were in violation of their own instructions.
When the incident developed, Live Action News documented that several adults verified the claims made by the students.