NASA has been accused of ‘blatant discrimination’ after it allegedly banned a group of Christian employees from mentioning Jesus in internal communications.
According to reports, NASA told the Johnson Space Center Praise and Worship Club that the name Jesus could not appear in an announcement for the daily newsletter – which is sent to all employees.
Management claimed that the announcement was inappropriate because it could be construed that NASA was endorsing a religious belief.
In May last year the group sought to advertise a praise and worship event with the theme “Jesus is our life” but were prevented from doing so.
They turned to Liberty Institute, an organisation which seeks to defend religious freedom, for legal representation.
Senior Counsel for Liberty Institute, Jeremy Dys, stressed that it is illegal for the US Government to censor the name of Jesus from communications written by employees.
“Preventing a religious club’s announcement just because it contains the name of Jesus is blatant religious discrimination. We call on NASA to end their censorship and apologize”, he said.
NASA – the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – has in the past respected the religious speech of its employees.
In 1969 it defended astronauts who read Genesis 1 while in orbit, after court action was taken by an atheist activist.
Spokesman for NASA Karen Northon claimed that the organisation “does not prohibit the use of any specific religious names” in internal communications.