A New Mexico Judge has ruled against Legacy Church in Albequerque stating that the state has the right to ban large gatherings during worship services during a public health crisis despite the fact that mass demonstrations against the police by George Floyd rioters continue to take place unfettered in the city.
U.S. District Judge James O. Browning handed down the ruling in an April 2020 lawsuit after the state told Legacy Church and others they couldn’t freely practice their religion as they see fit. The judge claimed that banning worship didn’t actually violate their religious freedom “because the public health orders are neutral with respect to religion and generally applicable” and cited an amicus brief from Americans United for Separation of Church and State that argued it would be “unconstitutional” to exempt religious services from the mass gathering ban.
However, mass protests in New Mexico streets appear to be exempt as rioters continue to gather regularly.
During the coronavirus pandemic, churches have been unfairly targeted across the nation. In North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper blamed the pandemic on Christians as he marched with George Floyd protestors himself without a mask violating his own executive order. A North Carolina court ruled in favor of religious freedoms allowing churches to worship. However, Cooper was dissatisfied with the ruling.
Other states have had similar attacks on religious freedoms including threats to bulldoze down church buildings by deeming them public nuisances and New York City Mayor DeBlasio threatening to permanently shut down churches. DeBlasio also threatened to round up Jews and arrest them en masse for gathering.