- NASA Watch
- June 4, 2023
NASA Statement on Allegations of Religious Censorship at JSC
NASA PAO has provided this statement: “NASA’s Johnson Space Center does not prohibit the use of any specific religious terms or names in employee newsletters, or other internal communications. The ‘JSC Today’ daily electronic newsletter has cited numerous religious themes and holiday events throughout its history. A May 28, 2015, ‘JSC Today’ posting for the Praise and Worship Club was cited by some employees as proselytizing and an inappropriate use of federal resources. However, the newsletter has continued to make postings that have been religious in nature for both the Praise and Worship Club and other organizations, and on multiple occasions have cited specific references to the name ‘Jesus.’ There is an exceptionally strong sense of community at Johnson and across the agency, which is why NASA is consistently rated among the very best places to work in the federal government. Johnson’s leadership has fostered that spirit of community and mutual respect over the years, and believes it is a crucial contributor in achieving mission success.”
– Excerpts from JSC newsletter (PDF) (Compiled by NASA PAO)
– Complaint About NASA Banning Someone’s First Name, earlier post
NASA PAO provided the newsletter compilation.
Caveat: I do not know the precise content of the presentation you describe.
While the multiple showings across multiple days seems a bit much, it might be argued that the talk was about historical astronomy. A documentary on one of the science or history channels explored the same question (the winningest possibility seems to be a planetary conjunction) and it was hardly religious beyond citing the descriptions of the ‘star’ in the Bible and the calendar constraints imposed by certain historical figures mentioned in the texts. I wouldn’t think that having a religious group offer/sponsor it necessarily crosses ‘the line’.
But again, I do not know the actual content of the presentation, so I do not know how ‘preachy’ it may have been.
It is impossible for me to understand why anyone would be offended by the content of the excerpts provided by NASA PAO. Anyone who is offended needs to recognize that the problem lies with their own hyper-sensitivity not with the group’s postings.