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Arizona state senator wants mandatory church attendance

By Amy R. Connolly

PHOENIX, March 28 (UPI) -- Arizona state Sen. Sylvia Allen said she is unapologetic after suggesting the state require Sunday church attendance to precipitate a "moral rebirth."

During a committee debate on allowing concealed guns in public buildings, the Republican senator said mandatory church attendance would stem a moral crisis she says is eroding the "soul of America."

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"I believe what's happening to our country is that there's a moral erosion of the soul of America," she said. "It's the soul that is corrupt. How we get back to a moral rebirth I don't know. Since we are slowly eroding religion at every opportunity that we have. 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."

Democratic Sen. Steve Farley, who was at the meeting, posted her comments on Twitter. He said the comments go against the United States Constitution.

"Even if you believe that would stem the moral decay, I think the Constitution makes it very clear that our country is founded on the pillar of separation of church and state," he said.

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Allen later called her comments "flippant," but would not apologize. She said the 1950s were a more peaceful time for the country.

"People prayed, people went to church," she told the Arizona Capitol Times. "I remember on Sundays the stores were closed. The biggest thing is religion was kicked out of our public places, out of our schools."

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