Pastor takes legal action after county commission blocks Nat’l Day of Prayer

Last Tuesday, the Doña Ana County Commission voted 4-1 to ban the National Day of Prayer from being held at the County Government Building. Commissioner Christopher Schaljo-Hernandez brought the motion forward.

After the move by the Commission, Pastor Gene Pettit filed a request for an injunction in the U.S. District Court for the District of Las Cruces against asserting that the Doña Ana County Commission had violated the Constitution of the United States by denying “the right of the people to peaceably assemble” and by restricting the free exercise of religion on public property.

It also claims the Doña Ana County Commission has violated the 11th Amendment by infringing on the people’s “sovereign immunity.”

According to the group, “The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance designated by the United States Congress. Since 1952, the President of the United States has been required by law to sign a yearly proclamation encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. The National Day of Prayer has been held at the Doña Ana County Government Building every year since 2015 (with the exception of 2 years during COVID).”

Pettit wrote regarding the injunction, “The County Commission is infringing on the rights of the people of Doña Ana County to peaceably assemble and to practice their religion. We have a right to assemble on taxpayer-funded County property for this observance. I filed this Injunction to assert the rights of the people of Doña Ana County. Our National Day of Prayer event will still happen just as it has for many years prior. As written in Hosea 4:6 – ‘My people perish for lack of knowledge.’”

The National Day of Prayer event is scheduled to proceed on May 4, 2023, from 10:00 am to noon at the Doña Ana County Government Building located at 845 N. Motel Blvd., Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Contact information for the commissioners who voted to disallow the event is as follows:

Christopher Schaljo-Hernandez – – (575) 525-5808  (This is the Commissioner who made the motion to amend the Proclamation to disallow this event on County property. He also is the ONLY one who voted against the National Day of Prayer Proclamation even once it was amended.)

Diana Murillo – – (575) 525-5804
Shannon Reynolds – – (575) 525-5807
Manuel Sanchez – – (575) 525-5809

Chair Susana Chaparro was the one commissioner to oppose Schaljo-Hernandez’s motion.


24 thoughts on “Pastor takes legal action after county commission blocks Nat’l Day of Prayer”

  1. They legalize and taxpayer-fund human sacrifice to Molech, and push anti-Christian views in schools against traditional family, and ban prayer.. then act like they are just being neutral. Being anti-Christian isn’t a neutral stance. Don’t be fooled, these are all attacks on religious beliefs of Christians.

  2. I want to know who were the four government officials who votes the ban the prayer on Nation Prayer Day and also what party these government officials belong to. It’s a shame that anyone would ban this annual prayer that was signed years ago to support all religious groups

    1. I believe that all of the County Commissioners presently serving are of the Democrat persuasion.

  3. Makes you wonder what they are afraid of – the power of prayer?
    I personally believe that there are people in public places and offices who have to be dramatic and create chaos simply to further their own agenda and fuel their ego

  4. Prayer is banned in the building, but is still going to be held outside, we should gather outside and pray anyway. If they want to quiet the people of faith, they cannot. See you on Thursday.

  5. Can’t help but wonder if the commissioners are afraid Satanic groups will demand the right to hold prayer in the county building.
    I will be there, on the sidewalk, praying for our nation.

  6. Francesca Silva

    I will be there! They have drag shows in schools and Fiestas everywhere, but a couple of hours of prayer for our nation outside the building is a no no?! I’m sure if it was a satanic worship they will allow it. Shame on the county commission!!!

    1. They voted to ban the National Day of Prayer from being held at the County Government Building –
      In a city named Las Cruces (the Crosses)…

      oh the irony.

    2. I completely agree! I’ve only observed the Day of Prayer in my own home. Because of this ruling, I will be on that sidewalk, especially praying for the ones who voted to cancel the event. And, I feel you are correct about the satanic gathering theoretically being allowed while the rest of us are voted away from the property that my taxes helped to pay for! I will pray wherever I choose.

    3. You’re all idiots. Just because you can’t pray in a specific building you’re all upset? It doesn’t specify what religion? If it was allowed and I was Jewish and wanted to pray, or Muslim, would you be fine with that? I doubt it.

  7. These people either want 5 min of Fame for the woke agenda going on in our Country, 2.they want to push a little to see how much christians will tolerate, just like when churches were locked down but Walmart wasn’t neither were liquor stores and many people bowed to the fear and Pastors didn’t push back so that next year if no one fights this they can try and take something else away. Like the frog in the pot concept, or they are truly afraid of prayer, the power of unity under Father GOD makes satan and hell tremble, there is power in the name of Jesus things change, shift, move out the way , and he knows that, so he’ll use anyone that allows them to be used. But friends remember Ephesians 6:10-18. I work that day but I’ll be joining y’all in Spirit.

    1. This is the most sensible opinion! All these angry so called Christians who gamble,cheat,steal,lie,commit adultery,all of a sudden are blowing their horns. If they need prayers,they should fill up the churches on Sundays!

  8. The 1st Amendment is clear. Churches are totally free to worship in churches, not public property. Otherwise, Satanists, Moonies, Mansons, Scientologists, snake handling pentecostals, Hindus, Muslims and all of the others will clog up public spaces. Keep thy religion to thyself. God doesn’t need any more salesmen bilking old ladies of the Social Security checks.

    1. The separation of Church and State can become ambiguous in a country that has “In God We Trust” on its money…

  9. The most powerful way to change things is through your vote. Make sure you, your family and friends all go to the polls and vote these people out of office.

  10. I feel that anyone with a higher power needs to be allowed to peacefully assemble. May we all worship Who, What, How we may.

  11. Ronnie Sisneros

    There are people making comments about separation of Church and State, but that will never happen because this country was founded upon biblical principles. Whether the religion was Catholic, or Protestant from many different Countries. The commissioners only reveal what they are truly about which is nothing, no strength of character to take a stand but they rather like to skate in and out, never committing to anything unless it’s in opposition to any form of Christian observance or principle, Law of the United States Congress be dammed.

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