New York City Mayor Eric Adams is being harangued by the political left for refusing to separate his faith from his office.
At an interfaith breakfast hosted at the New York Public Library on Tuesday, Adams gave remarks that irked some of his constituents.
“Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state,” said 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 God-like approach to them. That’s who I am.”
Although the mayor was clearly speaking about his personal views, offense was still taken.
“We are a nation and a city of many faiths and no faith,” said Donna Lieberman, head of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “In order for our government to truly represent us, it must not favor any belief over another, including non-belief.”
She also claimed, “Mayor Adams would need a refresher on the First Amendment.”
The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment is popularly interpreted as creating a “separation between church and state,” although that phrase isn’t found in the Constitution.
However, the First Amendment mandates that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” and unilaterally protects the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech.
Far from being unconstitutional, Adams’ comments were an exercise of his constitutionally enshrined rights.
Nevertheless, Former New York Rep. Mondaire Jones said the speech demonstrated “craziness and tone-deafness.” Abby Stein, a rabbi who attended the interfaith breakfast, called Adams’ remarks “dangerous.”
However, Adams claimed a lack of religion does the most harm, especially among children.
“We are destroying our next generation, destroying them,” he said. “And we say over and over again, ‘We need to build a world that’s better for our children.’ No, we need to build children that’s better for our world. And it means instilling in them some level of faith and belief.”
Adams also encouraged attendees to engage in more interfaith and intercultural dialogues before concluding about God’s work in his life and his ongoing commitment to God as mayor:
“Let me be the living example that God has put in front of us to understand just because you’re dyslexic, arrested, rejected, you still could be elected and be the mayor of the City of New York. That’s only God. That’s not man. That’s only God.
“And so today we proclaim that this city, New York City, is a place where the mayor of New York is a servant of God.”