Mayor Eric Adams Interfaith Breakfast 2023

NYC Mayor Eric Adams Is Really Not Into the Whole Separation of Church & State Idea

The first amendment of the U.S. Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This roughly translates to no religious favoritism in this country, so laws can be made in favor of or blockading religion. To be fair, constitutional law can be confusing, especially with the ongoing debate over whether it’s a “living document” or not. However, this particular line of the constitution is pretty straightforward and does not need any temporal interpretation. 

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So it was a red flag when New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently said he can’t separate his religious beliefs from his public duties. 

“I can’t separate my belief because I’m an elected official.”

Interfaith Breakfast LiveStream

On Tuesday, February 28, Mayor Adams spoke at the Interfaith Breakfast hosted at the main branch of the New York Public Library. 

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. 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 God-like approach to them. That’s who I am. And I was that when I was that third-grader, and I’m going to be that when I leave government. I am still a child of God and will always be a child of God and I won’t apologize about being a child of God. It is not going to happen.

Mayor Eric Adams

At another point in the same speech, Adams claimed that “when we took prayers out of schools, guns came into schools.” It is times like this when religious freedom sounds like a stepping stone for religious extremism. 

Eric Adams’ history of problematic statements

The current mayor of New York City has made some unseemly comments against women and the unhoused, and has made disparaging comments about “low-skill workers.” That doesn’t sound like a very “God-like approach” to politics, does it?

So far, Adam’s legacy as the mayor of New York City has been controversial, from his questionable policies, his odd take on veganism, and allegations of nepotism

According to the Guardian, Rachel Laser, president and chief executive of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said: “It’s especially disheartening to hear the mayor of New York City promoting rightwing, Christian Nationalist talking points about prayer solving gun violence.”

(featured image: NYC Mayor’s Office)

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A. Mana Nava
Nava was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently, they edit economic textbooks by day and write geeky articles for the internet in the evenings. They currently exist on unceded Lenape land aka Brooklyn. (Filipine/a Mexican American)