They told the kids to take off their hats and their shirts.
And they didn’t care that they were female.
Now the National Archives announces stunning news about a security staffer who demanded Pro-Life students disrobe.
It was the day of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. and some students in town for the march decided to visit some museums.
Clear violation of free speech
Little did these students know the uproar that would be caused by their visit.
No sooner had they entered the National Archives than they were confronted by security officers.
These security officers ordered multiple visitors to “remove their hats and cover their attire displaying Pro-Life messages,” according to a letter from acting Archivist Debra Steidel Wall.
“This action was contrary to NARA policy,” the letter went on. “The irony that this happened just steps away from the permanent display of the original Bill of Rights is not lost on me or any of the employees who proudly welcome more than one million annual visitors to the Museum.”
While the letter was welcome, the fact the events occurred in the first place was disgusting and a clear violation of not just policies, but the law.
And it was what Wall reported next that drew the biggest applause.
No longer working with us
Wall was responding to a letter led by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)and Congressman Chip Roy demanding answers about the situation.
Wall informed the lawmakers the security officers involved in the incident were all private contractors on a contract with the National Archives.
Her letter went on to explain, “Our vendor conducted its own investigation of the incident and determined a supervisor that it employed, who was working that day, provided instructions to other security officers who work for the same vendor that were contrary to our policy,” she explained.
“The vendor has removed this supervisor from NARA’s contract, and that individual is no longer working in any NARA facility.”
Cruz told The Daily Signal that he’s glad “the National Archives acknowledged the seriousness of their mistake and took the necessary steps to prevent this kind of incident from happening again.”
But, he said, “The First Amendment rights of Pro-Life visitors should never have been infringed to begin with. These rights, like the documents housed at the National Archives, are foundational, and must be protected for everyone.”
Wall seemingly agreed, emphasizing there is no policy at the National Archives that prohibits wearing Pro-Life garments.
She also said that no such policy was put in place on the day of the March for Life, and that the contract security officers who asked the Pro-Life visitors to cover up their clothing “did so in violation of explicit and long-standing NARA policy that allows museum visitors to wear clothing that expresses their political and religious viewpoints.”
The National Archives publicly apologized for the incident on February 10, but only after the American Center for Law and Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of four individuals who visited the museum wearing Pro-Life clothing.
Not the only incident
The American Center for Law and Justice also filed a lawsuit over a separate incident that took place at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
“All of our clients were told by National Archives employees that they had to take off their religious, Pro-Life apparel or leave the museum,” Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice, wrote at the time his organization sued the National Archives.
Sekulow continued, “When one of our clients questioned the order, a National Archives security officer said that the apparel would ‘incite others’ and that she was ‘disturbing peace.’ Yet another one of our clients was told that her T-shirt was ‘offensive’ and had to be covered up or removed. Her shirt read simply, ‘MARCH 4 LIFE 2014: Saint Cecilia’s Youth Group, Glen Carbon, IL.’”
“Perhaps most disturbing of all were the National Archives security officers who instructed a whole group of Catholic students and chaperones to remove or cover up ALL their religious and Pro-Life clothing while standing in the same room as the Constitution of the United States,” Sekulow concluded.
While the news of the firings and apologies is a step in the right direction, the fact remains that this never should have happened in the first place.
It is proof of the overwhelming bias against Pro-Life Americans by government officials.
Pro-Life Press will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.