The War on Drugs.
The War on Women.
The War on the Poor.
The growing police state.
The War on the Homeless.
Skyrocketing student debt.
Rampant institutional racism.
A broken two-party system.
Staggering amounts of gun violence.
The erosion of the wall between church and state.
The ongoing denial of the civil and human rights of LGBT citizens.
These are just some of social, political, and economic issues facing the United States. These problems negatively affect the lives of millions of USAmericans on a daily basis (and they reverberate around the world). Put aside those issues for now, as the country faces a far more dire threat than childhood obesity, unemployment, transphobia, or a racially biased criminal justice system. Arizona state Senator Sylvia Allen (R) has identified this problem and offers a solution:
Each year a few bills get proposed at the state Capitol that have people shaking their heads.
This year: Mandatory church attendance.
An Arizona state senator thinks it is a good idea for the American people.
State Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, brought it up during a committee meeting Tuesday while lawmakers were debating a gun bill, not religion.
Allen explained that without a “moral rebirth” in the country, more people may feel the need to carry a weapon.
“I believe what’s happening to our country is that there’s a moral erosion of the soul of America,” she said.
Mandatory church attendance.
Such a simple, elegant fix for the moral erosion of the country’s soul. While Sen. Allen’s solution is blatantly unconstitutional and would be all but impossible to enforce even if it became law, let’s not focus on that. Let’s also not focus on the question of whether or not souls exist and if they do, how a country can have one. Let’s not even worry about identifying the specific problems caused by the moral erosion of the country. What’s important is that her solution would set things right in this country and reverse the moral breakdown afflicting the nation. The United States would experience a moral rebirth and everything will be wonderful and glorious and super and awesome again. Just like it was in the glory days of the 1950s:
The original comment occurred during a vote on legislation to allow individuals who have permits to carry concealed weapons to bring them into public buildings. Allen said she did not understand the opposition and talked about moral breakdown.
“Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth,” adding “that would never be allowed.”
On Wednesday, Allen said that was a “flippant comment” but decried the changes since she was a child in the 1950s.
“People prayed, people went to church,” she said in explaining her views.
“I remember on Sundays the stores were closed,” Allen said. “The biggest thing is religion was kicked out of our public places, out of our schools.”
Ah yes, the wonderful 50s. When people prayed and went to church. When the KKK still roamed the country lynching African-Americans. When LGBT people dared not leave the closet. When women were denied their reproductive rights. When fearmongering McCarthyism gripped the country. Yeah, that was a real swell time-for cisgender, heterosexual, christian, white men.
The irony of a woman longing for the US to be more like it was in the 1950s is not lost on me.