The National Archives has issued an apology to the pro-life people who went there after the March for Life and were told to remove their pro-life shirts and had or leave.
Three separate and unrelated groups of pro-life individuals were stopped by security at the National Archives, including a pro-life grandmother and her granddaughter as well as multiple parents and students. They were unceremoniously booted from the federal museum for having “Pro-Life” on their hats – a clear violation of the First Amendment.
According to Jordan Sekulow with the ACLJ, “They were told to either take off or cover up pro-life attire, or they would be removed from the building. These individuals simply had shirts, buttons, sweatshirts, and hats expressing their support for the unborn or being part of the pro-life generation.”
Now officials with the federal agency have apologied:
The National Archives and Records Administration apologized Friday for ordering visitors in the District of Columbia for the March for Life to take off or cover up their pro-life apparel after being accused in a federal lawsuit of violating their First Amendment rights.
Despite the apology the National Archives still faces a lawsuit.
“Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) stating that on the morning of January 20, 2023, the day of the March for Life, several visitors to our museum in Washington, D.C., were told by NARA security officers ‘to remove or cover their attire because of their pro-life messages,’” said the National Archives in an email to The Washington Times.
“As the home to the original Constitution and Bill of Rights, which enshrine the rights of free speech and religion, we sincerely apologize for this occurrence,” said the statement.
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The National Archives acknowledged that its policy “expressly allows all visitors to wear T-shirts, hats, buttons, etc. that display protest language, including religious and political speech.”
The statement added, “We are actively investigating to determine what happened. Early indications are that our security officers quickly corrected their actions and, from that point forward, all visitors were permitted to enter our facility without needing to remove or cover their attire. We have reminded all of our security officers at our facilities across the country of the rights of visitors in this regard.”
The statement concluded: “Because a lawsuit has been filed, we cannot comment further.”
Sekulow said multiple people who faced discrimination are filing lawsuits and that discrimination also happened at the Smithsonian.
“We’ve been contacted by and represent 4 other individuals who experienced the exact same type of anti-Christian, anti-life targeting – this time at the National Archives Museum,” he said.
“Just like the pro-life kids at the Smithsonian, three separate and unrelated groups of individuals were stopped by security at the National Archives, including a pro-life grandmother and her granddaughter. They were told to either take off or cover up pro-life attire, or they would be removed from the building. These individuals simply had shirts, buttons, sweatshirts, and hats expressing their support for the unborn or being part of the pro-life generation,” he explained. “The federal institution that houses the sacrosanct pages of the Constitution was violating the Constitution, unlawfully targeting Christian and pro-life messages to be covered up and silenced.”
It’s absolutely outrageous, and we just sent a legal demand to the National Archive Museum, putting them on notice of their constitutional violations and that a lawsuit will be headed their way shortly.
But this goes far beyond two museums. The targeted focus on excluding pro-life attire, the use of phrases like “neutral zone” by security officials, and the occurrence of these infractions at multiple federal buildings on the same day, the March for Life – there is something more at play here. In both of our lawsuits (against the Smithsonian and the impending one against the National Archives), we will find out if there was, in fact, any kind of memo, Be-on-the-Lookout (BOLO) list, training, or other directives that could have led to this unconstitutional targeting behavior.
We’ve seen how President Biden has weaponized the FBI and DOJ to target pro-lifers, how HHS is bearing down on pro-life Pregnancy Resource Centers, and now this. We expect there may be more.
If you have been targeted or harassed in a federal building for your pro-life attire or expressing your pro-life views, we’re here to help, just like we’re helping these individuals who were targeted at the Smithsonian and the National Archives. Contact us at ACLJ.org/HELP.