This past Sunday evening, New York City Democratic Mayor Eric Adams chose to double down when it comes to his faith and how it plays a part in his governing style.
Adams drew significant criticism from Democrats for a statement he made at an interfaith breakfast as of this past week when he outright dismissed the idea of the separation of church and state. In an interview that took place on the Sunday edition of CNN’s “State of the Union, Adams was quick to clarify that he stood in support of the idea but reaffirmed that his faith nonetheless shapes how he sets his policies as mayor.
“[L]et’s be clear on something,” stated Adams. “The last words I said after I was sworn in [were] ‘so help me God.’ On our dollar bill, we have ‘In God We Trust.’ Every president touched a religious book when they were sworn in, except for three.”
“Faith is who I am,” Adams went on. “And anyone who takes those words as stated that I’m going to try to compel people to follow my religion, no. I’m a child of God. I believe that wholly. I’m going to follow the law, I’m not going to compel people who believe in whatever faith it could be. If you’re in a synagogue, a Baptist church, a Buddhist temple, I’m in all of them. And that’s what was in my service.”
However, Adams went on to clarify that he still stood in support of church-state separation.
“I want to be very clear on this, so it won’t be distorted. Government should not interfere with religion. Religion should not interfere with government,” he claimed. “That can’t happen. And it should never happen. But my faith is how I carry out the practices that I do and the policies, such as helping people who are homeless, such as making sure that we show compassion in what we do in our city.”
"Don't tell me about no separation of church and state."
— CNN (@CNN) March 5, 2023
Adams managed to once again turn heads early last week when he expressed the importance of making sure to instill faith throughout American kids. As part of his statements, he once again echoed the words of Ingrid Lewis-Martin, his chaplain, who claimed that the mayor’s office did not believe in the separation of church and state.
“Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state,” explained Adams. “State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies. I can’t separate my belief because I’m an elected official. When I walk, I walk with God. When I talk, I talk with God. When I put policies in place, I put them in with a Godlike approach to them. That’s who I am.”
NYC Mayor Eric Adams: "Don't tell me about no separation of church and state. State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies" pic.twitter.com/nBx6mEFlBT
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) March 1, 2023
These statements from Adams ended up sparking extreme outrage from quite a few people, which included the New York state affiliate of the ACLU, NYCLU.
“We are a nation and a city of many faiths and no faith,” exclaimed Donna Lieberman, the Executive Director of the NYCLU. “In order for our government to truly represent us, it must not favor any belief over another, including non-belief.”
As expressed by Dana Bush From CNN, one rabbi that was present labeled the comments as “dangerous.”