On Saturday evening, the eve of the Easter holiday, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced she is banning all religious gatherings of five people or more.
Despite many church services already canceling their Easter gatherings, Lujan Grisham rescinded her previous exception for religious services, writing, “absolutely clear that mass gatherings of any type are not permitted in houses of worship.”
“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,” she continued.
But many New Mexico leaders did not take kindly to the Governor’s unilateral decision to ban people from practicing their faith on Easter, citing that her limit of only five people gathering would cripple churches planning on streaming live online services which would require more than five people to put together.
House Republican Whip Rep. Rod Montoya wrote in a statement, “Governor, despite what you think, these services are essential! To make this decision the day before Easter is egregious. I am advising churches across our state to continue to produce and offer online services going forward; this order today cannot and will not stand.”
Rep. David Gallegos wrote on Facebook on Saturday, “With just a few hours to go before Easter Sunday, the Governor’s office sent out an emergency executive order adding churches and places of worship to her list of banned mass gatherings. It’s impossible for churches to produce services they can film or livestream with 5 people or less in a room. Doing this the day before Easter is just the wrong thing to do. We need to stand up to the Governor. She has gone too far.”
Although church services are now banned on a state level by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, abortion clinics are allowed to stay open, despite health concerns.