Skip to comments.National Gallery of Art Under Fire for Blocking Woman With Pro-Life Lapel Pin
Posted on 01/27/2010 3:52:53 PM PST by wagglebee
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The National Gallery of Art is coming under fire from a pro-life advocate who says officials there prevented her from entering the facility because she had a pro-life lapel pin. Meghan Duke writes about her experience in a blog post at the First Things web site.
"While visiting the National Gallery of Art this past Saturday, I ran into a pair of errant security guards who have taken to interpreting the Constitution in their spare time," she writes.
Duke planned to stop in to see some of the famous works of art after spending time at the March for Life.
Searching for inspiration for her interest in photography and anticipating a visit to an exhibit on processes of photography before the digital age, Duke entered the facility excited about her time there.
But, after searching her bag, two guards at the Gallery told her, "You're good to go in, but first you need to remove that pro-life pin.
"He was indicating the small lime green pin with the message 'impact73.org' and the silhouette of a small hand inside that of a larger hand that I had attached to the lapel of my coat," Duke writes today.
"The pin, they informed me, was a 'religious symbol' and a symbol of a particular political cause and it could not be worn inside a federal building," Duke continues.
"Why, I asked, can I not wear a religious or political symbol inside a federal building? Bringing to bear the full weight of the supreme law of the land, the guards informed that it was a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution: The combination of me, wearing a pro-life pin, in a federal building was a violation of the separation of church and state," she explained.
Asked for a written copy of the rules preventing her form wearing a pro-life pin as a visitor to the gallery, they informed her the rules were not allowed for public viewing.
Neither Duke nor LifeNews.com could find a copy of the rules on the NGA web site and NGA routed a call for comment for this article to a staff member whose voice mail kicked in but who has not responded to a message left.
Duke also says there is no mention of the prohibition of the expression of free speech by wearing religious or political symbols in title 40 section 6303 of the U.S. code which gives a list of illegal activities at the National Gallery of Art as well as the Smithsonian Institution and the J.F.K. Center for the Performing Arts.
Duke has since learned the guars were apparently acting out of order.
"I followed up on my experience with a spokesperson for the Gallery this morning and was told that the guards acted entirely on their own initiative and would be censured," she said in the First Things post. "The spokesperson explained that the museum has a policy against carrying posters and signs into the museum, no matter the message, to prevent damage to the artbut none against lapel pins."
"It is good to know that the Gallery does not have a policy of censoring free speech, but the actions and arguments of the guards illustratebesides complete confusion as to the purpose of the First Amendmentan all too common misconception of the role of religion in public life," she concluded.
Duke says she thinks the guards were looking for pro-life pins in the wake of the March for Life.
ACTION: Contact the National Gallery of Art at 401 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004, (202) 842-6466 or at http://www.nga.gov/xio/phone.shtm
There is no doubt in my mind that this is what they were doing.
In any case they should be disciplined or fired.
Her name is Meghan not SUE. ;)
This is so unfortunate. The couple of instances I saw security guards the day of the March, they were completely professional. They did ask for the signs to be left outside but never said a word about the 4 pro-life buttons I had pinned to my coat.
This canNOT be the whole story. If it is, we're already over the falls.
I'm starting to wear my little feet pin everywhere these days.
But just for admission of wrongdoing, and the guards losing their jobs. If you go for money, we will all pay for it.
No, it is the guards who have been traumatized. There they were, good union men, napping away at their posts, when suddenly they were confronted by a pro-lifer, probably a Christian, likely a conservative, and maybe even a Republican. Imagine the horror.
SHE NEEDS TO SUE!! Money is the only thing these morons understand. If people start routinely suing for these types of things - only then will they get the message. SUE!!
Hm, I think I may have to pay a little visit to the National Gallery this weekend. Fully decked in pro-life pins and my own crosses and religious medals. Let’s see what happens.
I think I'll pull mine out and start wearing it. Because I will be only too happy to sue anyone who interferes with my right to wear a pro-life pin!
What, the 300,000 they saw last week wasn't enough?
Investigate where these bright lights got their inspiration to do this. I'll bet it goes up towards Rahm or one of his boot-licking sycophants. 'Cause pro-lifers are proving to be the Kryptonite to his daddy's magical healthcare trip.
Major 1st Amendment lawsuit here.
They should be smacked on the back of their numb skulls. I work in a Federal building and I have Ephesians 6:10-18 on a shield on my office wall. There is no Federal rule against this stuff being present. The guards should be fired, for being idiots, if for no other reason because they are going to shoot some kid with a cap gun.
Fired???!!! A federal employee???!!!
There is no way on earth to fire a federal employee. Unless he's a Republican...
Let's get ourselves over the outmoded idea that federal employees work for us -- the citizens. They, in fact, work for the Democrat party.
They do not allow ANY Political Signs of any kind in the Museums,when we attempted to go into Air and Space Museum after the 9-12 March they would not allow any signs in either
The Precious Feet pin, one could argue, is not a political or religious statement of any kind, but rather a work of art unto itself. It’s an accurate reproduction of a pre-born baby’s feet at 10 weeks of age. When a person looks at those feet, it’s up to them how they interpret it and what it gets them thinking about. You are not making any statement other than to visually present a reality.