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Outrageous: In Profanity-Laced Tirade, Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum Berates and Kicks Out Students for Wearing Hats With Pro-Life and Christian Messages


Jordan Sekulow

January 27, 2023

4 min read

Pro Life



A federal institution, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, just kicked out an entire group of pro-life students and their chaperones simply for having a pro-life religious message on their hats. It’s absolutely outrageous, it’s unconstitutional discrimination, and the ACLJ is fighting back.

Last Friday, 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 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 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. 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.

Our client, the mother of two of the students, took to Twitter and said:

My daughter just called from DC. [A] dozen kids from Greenville just got kicked out of the Air & Space Museum for wearing Pro Life hats. They were told to remove their hats or leave. Daughter told [the] man they had to wear [the hats] to find each other in [the] crowd. KICKED OUT for refusing to remove!

The Smithsonian Institution, as a federal entity, receives upwards of $1 billion from the government every year. It states on its website that they “welcome all people to explore” its museums, apparently just not kids with pro-life views. This was a clear-cut First Amendment violation, not only of their freedom of speech but of religion as well. The federal government simply cannot ban speech with which it or its employees disagree.

Imagine this is your child being accosted, berated, and kicked out of a museum – that other children are allowed to attend – just because of their beliefs. This is a clear and egregious abuse of the First Amendment, which protects their right to free speech without government interference, and we are ready to take action.

A government institution cannot censor an individual’s speech, much less speech from the inherently Christian pro-life position. We have helped individuals with similar cases in the past. The law is clear: “The government may not suppress or exclude the speech of private parties for the sole reason that the speech is religious.” Shurtleff v. City of Boston.

The ACLJ has long fought for your constitutionally protected right under the First Amendment to freedom of speech and expression. We are working with the concerned families and are already representing at least two of the students who were involved. We are preparing to bring legal action to defend the constitutional rights of these children. No one, especially kids, should have to fear being kicked out of a national museum by government officials simply for wearing a Christian pro-life hat. We will keep you updated as this situation progresses.

UPDATE 02.02.2023: The ACLJ is now representing six Christian students and two parents (and we anticipate more) who were unceremoniously kicked out of the Smithsonian for wearing pro-life hats. We have just delivered a legal letter putting the Smithsonian on notice to prepare for litigation in this matter. The rights of these Christian students and parents to express their pro-life views must not be allow to be silenced by these unconstitutional actions. We will keep you updated is this case progresses.

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