On Friday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was forced to rescind her previous orders setting capacity limits on church gatherings after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that capacity limits on places of worship cannot be more restrictive than other places, such as schools.
In a seemingly strategic move to not want to cause any more controversy in her embattled administration, where she was accused and settled $62,500 over sexual assault, she begrudgingly lifted the order, according to Nora Sackett, the governor’s mouthpiece.
“The state, of course, is always concerned about the risk of viral spread anywhere people are gathered,” Nora Meyers Sackett wrote. “Nonetheless, the case law from the Supreme Court is clear.”
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Sackett “denied political pressure to fully open churches” was a factor leading to the decision, although many have doubted the validity of that argument.
Despite the health order allowing 100% capacity, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is directing its parishes to “limit capacity according to the color-coding for indoor services — and to not allow 100 percent attendance,” the New Mexican writes.
The move by Archbishop John C. Wester is typical, as he previously championed the closure of Santuario de Chimayó sacred site for two consecutive years, citing COVID-19 as the reason for the closure. Wester also made a public service announcement for Gov, Lujan Grisham pushing masks.
The news comes after a long list of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s hostility toward the faithful, despite claiming to belong to the Roman Catholic faith.
Here’s an overview:
- On Holy Saturday 2020, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham made a proclamation that all in-person Easter church services of five or greater were banned, effectively stopping New Mexicans from attending church on Easter Sunday. She said she wanted to make “absolutely clear that mass gatherings of any type are not permitted in houses of worship.”
- Abortion facilities were allowed to stay wide open while churches were shuttered.
- On Easter 2020, the Governor made a “proclamation” from the Governor’s mansion, writing on Twitter, “This Easter, home is the holy place. I expect all New Mexicans to stay safe by staying home to celebrate, not gathering with friends and family.”
- On Mother’s Day 2020, Gov. Lujan Grisham sent out her State Police to serve a cease and desist order to Truth or Consequences pastor, Dr. Caleb Cooper.
- Pastor Jeff Carr of Mesa Baptist Church in Rio Rancho was told by the Governor’s Office that while in-person services were prohibited, he could still hold “online services, drive-in services where people remain in the car with their windows rolled up… or listen to a radio service, honk their horns for ‘Amen!’ and so on.”
- Legacy Church in Albuquerque fought back against the Governor and sued the state and remained under scrutiny by the Governor and the liberal media for living out their faith through fellowship in their church. The Governor’s Democrat-controlled NM Supreme Court struck down the church’s lawsuit. After a Christmas Eve service, Lujan Grisham issued a $10,000 fine to the church.
- Other churches caved to Grisham’s edicts:
- Las Cruces Bishop Peter Baldacchin instructed his diocese that “While it is true that we need to take every reasonable precaution to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, it is equally true that we offer the greatest ‘essential service’ to our people. The past few weeks have brought to light many unintended consequences of the ‘stay-at-home’ order.”
- On Easter 2020, Gov. Lujan Grisham instructed New Mexicans to “celebrate safely” while important traditions such as the pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayó were prohibited.
Now, with the small olive branch the Governor has conceded, this should be no means an occasion to celebrate. For over a year, New Mexicans’ rights have been infringed by Gov. Lujan Grisham, especially the ever-important right to worship at church. No person of faith should be celebrating an oppressive governess ripping away their rights and then giving them back to us months later, making it sound like a favor.