EJ Montini, The Republic | azcentral.com 11 a.m. MST March 26, 2015
EJ Montini: Our Father who art in heaven ... could you please take a moment and come down here?
Our Father who art in heaven ... could you take a moment out of your busy schedule and come down here, please?
We need You to explain a few things to Arizona state State Sen. Sylvia Allen.
(I know. You're shaking your head, aren't you? This might be too daunting a task even for YOU.)
Allen, as You know, is a Republican from Snowflake, a Tea Party favorite who wants to pretend Arizona is an independent country rather than a state, and who believes government should stay completely out of people lives -- unless she can use her position to help out a son-in-law who got into some hot water over behavior with some of the inmates he was guarding at a women's prison.
But that's another story.
Anyway, Big Guy, they were debating a gun bill at a legislative committee meeting at the State Capitol this week so, naturally, Allen brought up religion.
(In Arizona, complete lack of logic is natural. But, you know that, too)
This was one of those crazy bills in which lawmakers want people to be able to bring concealed weapons into public buildings. Allen got upset because a few people expressed common sense opposition to the idea. Lawmakers here cannot abide common sense.
Allen said, "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."
She hinted that guns in public buildings might be necessary until there is a moral rebirth.
(I couldn't find anything about that in the New Testament, but I'm no biblical scholar.)
"I believe what's happening to our country is that there's a moral erosion of the soul of America," she said.
Allen later told the Arizona Capitol Times that she wished things were more like they were in the 1950s.
(Again, I know what you're thinking: Civil rights problems. Women's rights problems. Voting rights problems. Segregated schools.)
Allen told the Times, "People prayed, people went to church. I remember on Sundays the stores were closed. The biggest thing is religion was kicked out of our public places, out of our schools."
I'm not sure that even a Supreme Being such as yourself could get through to the lesser beings in the Arizona Legislature, but perhaps You could take a moment and explain to them the Constitutional reason for a separation between church and state. And perhaps explain as well that religion and morality are not something that comes from public schools, but from our faiths, our families and, ultimately, ourselves.
I'm not one for mixing religious faith with newspaper work, but I say this with both exasperation and solicitation:
God help us.