Today is Easter Sunday, and although the strict COVID-19 restrictions from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham have been slightly amended, New Mexico remains one of the six states on “advisory” status, one of the few with mandatory mask mandates, and some businesses still shuttered.
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.” She continued, “We know that you want to practice your faith, as you should. But this year we must remember that home is holy. The best thing you can do for your community is to stay there.”
Gov. Lujan Grisham had completely shuttered church services on a state level, however, abortion clinics were allowed to stay wide open, despite health concerns.
Then, on Easter, 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. Together, we will have a safe and happy Easter – by staying apart. BUT tell the kids not to worry: the Easter Bunny is essential!”
She “expected” New Mexicans to just throw their faith out the door to comply with her mandates. Throughout the lockdowns, the Governor’s religious persecution continued.
Then in May, on Mother’s Day, Gov. Lujan Grisham sent out her State Police to serve a cease and desist order to Truth or Consequences pastor, Dr. Caleb Cooper.
“Here’s a notice that we need to get through, and it’s a cease and desist order,” said the officer serving the order. When Cooper asked why he was being served the order, the officer responded, “for violating the public health order,” citing the May 2nd church service held at the church.
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.”
But others fought back, such as Legacy Church in Albuquerque which sued the state and remained under scrutiny by the Governor and the liberal media for living out their faith through fellowship in their church.
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.”
This Easter, the struggles still remain, with the Faithful being instructed by the Governor to “celebrate safely” and important traditions such as the pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayó are being prohibited. But people of faith are not backing down, and should never forget Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s hostility toward them. New Mexico is a state founded upon faith and its people have proven they will not take kindly to persecution.