Christian employees say that NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston will not allow them to use the word "Jesus" in the JSC newsletter to promote their religious club that meets at work.
“It was shocking to all of us and very frustrating,” NASA engineer Sophia Smith told FoxNews.com. “NASA has a long history of respecting religious speech. Why wouldn’t they allow us to put the name Jesus in the announcement about our club?”
The JSC Praise and Worship Club posting in the newsletter on May 28, 2015, said: "Join with the praise and worship band 'Allied with the Lord' for a refreshing set of spring praise and worship songs on Thursday, June 4, from 11:15 a.m. to noon in Building 57, Room 106. (The theme for this session will be 'Jesus is our life!') Prayer partners will be available for anyone who has need. All JSC civil servants and contractors are welcome."
However, that's when the NASA lawyers allegedly told the employees not to mention "Jesus" anymore in the newsletter.
The Liberty Institute, a Christian law firm, and another law firm, Fish & Richardson, sent a letter to JSC on Feb. 8 that said: "NASA JSC's censoring of the club's religious viewpoint is a violation of federal law and the First Amendment," notes The Christian Post.
"Any assertions by NASA JSC that allowing the JSC Praise and Worship Club to use the name 'Jesus' in the club's advertisements violates the Establishment Clause have been repeatedly rejected by the Supreme Court," the letter added.
"We fail to see how such a mention in an advertisement that is tied specifically to the JSC Praise and Worship Club connotes state sponsorship, endorsement, or establishment of religion."
NASA said in a statement on Feb. 8: "NASA does not prohibit the use of any specific religious names in employee newsletters or other internal communications. The agency allows a host of employee-led civic, professional, religious and other organizations to meet on NASA property on employee’s own time."
"Consistent with federal law, NASA attempts to balance employee’s rights to freely exercise religious beliefs with its obligation to ensure there is no government endorsement of religion. We believe in and encourage open and diverse dialogue among our employees and across the agency.”