Over the weekend and on Monday, liberal media outlets like the Albuquerque Journal, KRQE News 13, and KOAT 7 News all blasted Calvary and Legacy churches in Albuquerque for holding Christmas Eve services to honor the birth of Jesus Christ, allegedly in non-compliance with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s strict 25% capacity limit on churches.
Despite the large churches minding their own business in the practice of worship, that was not good enough for the liberal mainstream media and Gov. Lujan Grisham, who could not stand the thought of free Americans using their First Amendment rights to proclaim the birth of Christ. So, after the press amplified politically motivated liberal voices who claimed the churches were putting health at risk, the Governor’s Health Department slapped the churches with hefty $5,000 fines.
The Department said that in addition to the $5,000 fine, “other remedies against the same conduct” would be taken “as allowed by state statute.”
The Governor’s pompous communications director Tripp Stelicki–who condescended New Mexicans repeatedly–gave a statement to the Albuquerque Journal, mercilessly bashing Legacy and Calvary churches for their “illegal and selfish gatherings,” saying they “will directly contribute to more suffering and illness in our state.”
Here’s what the Journal reported:
Tripp Stelnicki, a spokesman for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, said the parishioners and leaders of the two churches violated both the state’s public health order “and common sense.”
“They endangered the lives livelihoods and health of not only their parishioners but their entire communities — and given how quickly this virus can spread, potentially our state as a whole.”
Stelnicki went on to say that while all New Mexicans wish that the pandemic was over, it clearly is not and no pastor “may deem it so.”
“These church leaders should reflect on the danger they’ve unleashed in their communities,” he said.
The First Amendment comes first for a reason, and the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled in favor of religious institutions and against tyrannical edicts given from on-high by power-hungry tyrants like Lujan Grisham. “Even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten,” wrote the Court’s conservative majority in one case’s opinion.
Those words must ring true to Calvary and Legacy churches’ leadership now more than ever. Standing up for what is right may not always be easy, but both churches may be surprised at how many patriots from across our great state are willing to stand with them as they go into battle for New Mexicans’ rights.
Legacy Church released a strong statement following criticism, saying, “We have taken the pandemic seriously from the start, and have prudent measures in place. But when governments exceed their constitutional authority and contradict what we are called on by God to do, we answer first to His authority.”
According to Calvary’s chief Pastoral Officer, Neil Oritz, he said that the church “experienced a significant attendance on one of the most celebrated and sacred days of our Christian faith.” In response to the large turnout, the church “chose not to break fellowship with any worshiper by requiring them to leave the gathering of their church family.”
“We do care about people’s physical health, and we take great precautions,” he said. “… At the same time, we believe that people can be responsible adults and make their own choices about their life and health and that of their families.”
If these churches choose not to buckle to Gov. Lujan Grisham’s tyranny, I and many readers of the Piñon Post would be the first people to donate to their legal funds in the fight for our Constitutional freedoms.
Take heed in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the fight ahead:
“One may well ask: ‘How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?’ The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’”
I urge as many New Mexicans as possible to email Calvary Church with words of encouragement by visiting their online form linked here. Legacy Church can be reached via email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please leave your name and phone number when contacting these churches so they may reach you better.