US megachurches fined mega-fees for Christmas Eve services

US megachurches fined mega-fees for Christmas Eve services

megachurchesDemocratic-leaning New Mexico are facing $ 10,000 in fines over claims they violated state COVID-19 restrictions 의 위에 Christmas Eve.

Videos and photos taken at Albuquerque’s Legacy Church and Calvary Church went 바이러스 의 위에 소셜 미디어 shortly after the holiday, showing hundreds of parishioners in close proximity, with many not wearing 마스크.


State regulations require that religious services held in red-zone countiesthose with the highest percentage of COVID-19 infectionsbe limited to 25% capacity, and Gov. 미셸 루잔 그리샴 issued a statewide mask mandate in May.

The state’s designation system also includes green and yellow tiers to note lower infection rates.

현재, all of New Mexico is designated a red zone, as cases spike nationwide. Data from the New Mexico Department of Health shows more than 141,186 confirmed cases in the state, 이상 2,436 deaths. 수요일에, the state 발표 1,316 additional cases 과 33 deaths.

In addition to fines against the two churches, “other remedies against the same conductwill be used, a health official 성명에서 말했다 that didn’t specify what they might be. The houses of worship may request a hearing to contest the penalties.

Legacy Church previously pushed back against the state’s government and then-Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel 4 월, arguing that public health orders trampled religious freedoms. The argument proved unsuccessful in court.

우리. District Judge James O. Browning found in July that the state’s orders wereunrelated to the suppression of speech or religion, serve a compelling state interest, and significantly less restrictive alternatives are not available.

A statement on Legacy Church’s website says that its offices are now closed to public entry due topersecutionby Grisham.

The church told NBC News that it had taken the pandemic seriously, 그러나 “when governments exceed their constitutional authority and contradict what we are called on by God to do, we answer first to His authority.

It’s tragic that what we do for thousands of shut-ins, those in despair, and kids who go without meals gets no state notice, but fixation on one service can net us large fines,” Legacy said.

Calvary Church, 그 동안에, is attempting to confirm that it maintained compliance with capacity restrictions, Chief Pastoral Officer Neil Ortiz told Fox News. The institution labored dutifully and went togreat expenseto implement proper safety measures and precautions, 그는 덧붙였다.

To that end, the majority of people attending Christmas Eve services wore a mask as they entered the facility, 그는 말했다. The church also passed out masks, assuming that people who refused them had apreexisting health condition or other restriction that prohibited themfrom wearing one.

Nevertheless, Ortiz explained that Calvarychose not to break fellowship with any worshiper by requiring them to leave the gathering of their church familyon one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar.

We do care about people’s physical health, and we take great precautions such as those mentioned above. 동시에, we believe that people can be responsible adults and make their own choices about their life and health and that of their families,” 그는 말했다.

The strong showing in attendance at Christmas Eve services indicates the deep conviction many people have that corporate worship is essential and that as long as health considerations are maintained, it is safe and necessary to worship their God,” Ortiz concluded.

KOB-TV, an NBC affiliate in Albuquerque, reported that two former members of the congregation alleged church leaders had been guilting members into attending in-person services.

The governor, 그 동안에, told NBC News that the churches and their leaders endangered the lives of their entire communities.

FOX 뉴스 앱을 보려면 여기를 클릭하십시오.

We all wish this pandemic were over, but it’s not, and no pro-virus pastor may deem it so. So many New Mexicans have sacrificedand lostso much in this pandemic,” Grisham said. “이들 불법 and selfish gatherings will directly contribute to more suffering and illness in our state. These church leaders should reflect on the danger they’ve unleashed in their communities.

Neither Legacy Church nor the governor’s office immediately responded to messages from Fox News seeking comment.

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