Republican Congressmen and women are demanding answers after the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum kicked out 12 Catholic high school students for wearing pro-life attire while on a field trip in January.
Fox News reports that Representatives Chip Roy and Josh Brecheen wrote a letter, along with nearly 30 Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Dan Crenshaw, that asks the Smithsonian to explain itself.
The letter asked, “Does the Smithsonian have any policy prohibiting pro-life sentiments from being expressed in its buildings or any policy deeming it a ‘neutral zone.’ What efforts have you taken to ensure that the First Amendment rights of all Americans are respected at the Air and Space Museum and an incident like this never occurs again under your leadership?”
“On January 20, 2023, thousands of Americans from across the country traveled to Washington, DC to participate in the March for Life. For many participants the occasion was inviting, warm, and educational,” the letter continued.
“Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for a group of pro-life Americans from South Carolina. Following the march, students were allegedly harassed by Smithsonian Institute employees at the Air and Space Museum for their pro-life and human rights-affirming apparel and were expelled from the building.”
Fox News reports that one of the employees who told the students to remove the attire said that the hats did not “promot[e] equality.”
ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow told the Christian Post that the students from Our Lady of the Rosary School in Greeneville, South Carolina, were mocked by the museum.
“The museum staff mocked the students, called them expletives, and made comments that the museum was a ‘neutral zone’ where they could not express such statements,” Sekulow wrote in a statement posted to the ACLJ’s website. “The employee who ultimately forced the students to leave the museum was rubbing his hands together in glee as they exited the building. We here at the ACLJ are absolutely appalled at this blatant discrimination and won’t let this behavior stand.”
The Christian Post reports: “In a statement to The Christian Post, a spokesperson for the museum apologized on behalf of the institution.”
“A security officer mistakenly told young visitors that their pro-life hats were not permitted in the museum,” the spokesperson stated. “Asking visitors to remove hats and clothing is not in keeping with our policy or protocols. We provided immediate retraining to prevent a re-occurrence of this kind of error.”