Arizona senator says suggestion to make church attendance mandatory was not meant to be taken seriously
Arizona Senator Sylvia Allen recently proposed that church services be made mandatory in order to launch a "moral rebirth" in the country.
Although she suggested mandatory church attendance in jest, Allen conceded that there is a spiritual crisis that needs attention.
"I believe what's happening to our country is that there's a moral erosion of the soul of America," she said, according to local news station KPHO. "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."
Sen. Allen received a strong backlash over social media for her remark, and reiterated that the suggestion was not to be taken seriously. She did, however, express a longing for the 1950s - when church attendance, prayer in schools, and other religious expressions were more commonplace.
"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."
Days after Sen. Allen's controversial remark, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul declared that America is in the midst of a "moral crisis."
The presidential hopeful criticised the nation's response to the LGBT rights movement at a prayer breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club on Thursday.
"In fact, the moral crisis we have in our country, there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage, there's also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage," he explained.
Paul has insisted that same-sex marriage be decided at the state level, and urged conservatives to be tolerant while still upholding biblical marriage as morally correct.