News outlets are reporting that senator Sylvia Allen, a Republican from Arizona is trying to pass legislation making it mandatory for citizens to attend church services. She claims that “corrupt souls” are the root of the problems in America, particular, gun violence. Allen told the state’s appropriations committee, “It is the soul that is corrupt and how we get back to a moral rebirth in this country, I don’t know. We are slowly eroding religion at every opportunity that we have. We should probably 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.”
I am not sure what to think of this proposal. First, it would violate the Constitution as the government is not supposed to endorse any religion. Second, what of those people who do not go to church or may be atheists? Should they be forced to attend church services as well? Lastly, people must be open to going to church and cannot be force. God gives us free will. We can accept or reject Him. It seems Sylvia Allen is proposing this idea out of nostalgia. She described missing how religion played a big role in society, “People prayed, people went to church, I remember on Sundays the stores were closed.” I do not see this bill or anything similar even making it to a discussion. Instead of forcing people to attend church, churches need to go out to them and present their message in a way that is faithful to God and speaks to the people of today. This is what Pope Francis is doing and calling all Catholics to do.