Commissioner Reynolds,Thank you for your response. I will admit that I was not present, nor have I ever been present when an official is sworn in. All I can do is provide you a link to a source document I found on the New Mexico Government website. I believe that there should be a certain amount of trust that a NM government website source would be considered reliable.https://www.sos.nm.gov/candidate-and-campaigns/search-public-information/oath-of-office/
Again I recognize Dona Ana county could be different.
As to your point regarding the first amendment; my interpretation is that congress cannot pass a law that establishes a national religion nor can it prevent the free exercise of religion. I do not see any proclamation the county passes for a national day of prayer established by the President as declaring a national religion. No one is forced to attend. No one is forced to only pray to the God recognized by the christian faith.
In closing I do have a couple of questions for the sake of clarity. 1) Based on comments made by you and Commissioner Hernanndez, is it your stance that God has no place in our government? 2) Are you stating as Christians there can be no peaceful assembly on the lawn of the Dona Ana County building for the NDOP?
From: Shannon Reynolds <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, May 1, 2023, 2:50 PM
Subject: RE: National Day of Prayer
To: Randy Pickering <[email protected]>
Cc: Christopher Schaljo-Hernandez <[email protected]>
I believe you need to do a little more research on our swearing of our Oath. It does not require that we swear an oath to God. Article XX-Miscellaneous , Sec. 1. [Oath of officer] reads like this:
Notice two things: 1) There is no mention of God. And 2) Swearing an oath is not required. An “affirmation” will suffice.
Abiding by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. “… make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibit its free exercise.”
Given these two laws, we are neither obliged nor obligated to recognize any “Religious Doctrine” in our meetings or ceremonies. The fact that we do allow religious comments at the beginning can also be an afront to several religious organizations who do not follow the teachings of most of the people who open our meetings.
To: Christopher Schaljo-Hernandez <[email protected]>
Cc: Diana Murillo <[email protected]>; Shannon Reynolds <[email protected]>; Susana Chaparro <[email protected]>; Manuel Sanchez <[email protected]>
Subject: National Day of Prayer
My name is Randy Pickering. I live in Dona Ana County District 1 which means you are my representative on the county commission. I was in attendance yesterday (4/25/23) and noted that you voted No on the proclamation for the National Day of Prayer. After the proclamation was passed by the remainder of the board you moved to have the proclamation amended by striking the portion for the event to be held at the county building. I was disappointed that there was no public comment on the amended version of the proclamation as it was my understanding there should be. I was also disappointed that all but one of the other commissioners agreed with your request. Our leaders are in our prayers so it only seems reasonable to me to say these prayers at the location our representatives do their work.
I want to remind you that you represent your constituents in District 1 and I am letting you know that in this case you failed to represent me. This country was founded on the principle that we have a power much greater than ourselves. It is “one nation under God”. When you are sworn in to a court of law to testify you “swear to tell the truth, the whole truth so help me God”.
I do not know what you believe as an individual. The constitution allows you to believe or disbelieve in whatever you want. However, you do take an oath when you are sworn into office. Based on the information found in the December 2022 edition of the New Mexico county commissioner handbook a commissioner states the following when being sworn in;
I do solemnly swear to support the constitution of the United States and to faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of said office to the best of his/her ability so help me God.
In this case it is my perception that you failed to address this issue impartially; rather choosing to act on your personal preference.
I do not like politics and I have never wanted to be involved in them. But it is events like this that have “awakened” me to the fact that I am part of our country’s deterioration because I have chosen to do nothing, especially as our morals and God are under unrelenting assault.
I thank you for your time.