Sylvia Allen and the Mandatory Church Firestorm

IMG_7187I want to hate the statement. I want to sit here and rip state Sen. Sylvia Allen to shreds for saying that a law should be passed that would make church attendance on Sunday mandatory. In fact, that’s what I was all set to do … until I watched the video and heard the actual quote.

It’s the soul that is corrupt. How we get back to a moral rebirth in this country 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.

Yes, a committee hearing for a bill discussing concealed weapons was an odd place to bring this up. And yes, I do think she honestly believes that America would return to whatever values she believes it needs to return to if everyone were a touch more God-fearing and attended church on a regular, if not compulsory, basis.

And yet …

She didn’t introduce such a bill (which says much, if you happen to keep track of the wide array of lunatic bills that are introduced each session.)  She did throw in church of their choice (though I don’t really think she was considering those of us whose religions don’t involve churches and don’t meet on Sundays) so she wasn’t demanding everyone follow a certain religious credo.

What caused the change of heart? In truth, it was the media coverage surrounding the whole thing.

From the Christian Science Monitor:

However, Michael J. Gerhardt, Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law and the director of the Center for Law and Government at the University of North Carolina  says in an interview “It’s not a question that such a law would be immediately struck down by any court as absolutely unconstitutional, but a question of how this kind of proposal is even taking up legislative time. They [legislators] might try and get around it by saying that you could choose the mosque, synagogue, or church to attend. Still, when [legislators] attempt to connect compulsion to religion there’s no question such a law would be struck down.”

I wasn’t timing it closely, but this debate took up about 30 or so seconds of legislative time.

And even Sen. Allen recognizes such a bill, if every introduced and passed, stands no chance constitutionally. Though, again, she seems less than thrilled by that notion when she says “we all know that would never be allowed,” an odd statement for a strict Constitutionalist.

She also went on to say she wished things were more like the 1950s, conveniently forgetting things like separate water fountains and fire houses and Jim Crow laws and the like … but that’s another story for another time.

All in all, I’m not here to condone Sen. Allen and her assorted fiascoes to date. Even if I were in her district, the odds of me voting for her would be somewhere between slim and none. Well, probably not even that good.

But in this case? Call it 24-hour-news-cycle fatigue, but what she said about having everyone return to church wasn’t worth more than about 30 seconds of thought. And it certainly wasn’t nearly as scary as the bill that actually was being debated.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at