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No Separation: Mayor Eric Adams Calls The Church ‘The Heart of NYC’  

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By Tom Campisi

“New York City is a place where the mayor is a servant of God.”

Those bold and unapologetic words were spoken by Eric Adams at the city’s Interfaith Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 28.

In his address to the assembly of Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and other religious leaders, Adams spoke candidly about the role of faith, not only in his own life, but in the prosperity of the city.

Predictably, Adams faced criticism from the New York Civil Liberties union for his remarks, but he did not back down in the days that followed. His comments on the separation of church and state drew the most ire from critics.

Earlier this year, at the LEAD.NYC and Movement.org Pastor’s Prayer Summit, Adams declared NYC as a city of faith when he addressed 300 pastors and leaders via a recorded video; Adam Durso, president of LEAD.NYC, serves on the Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council.

“I want to thank you for all you have done for the city and for New York is especially during COVID-19 and our recovery. I feel strength and inspiration from the faith community every day,” Adams said to the pastors. “I am committed to working with you to solve the injustices around us…Gun violence, homelessness, inequalities in our schools, and healthcare. We created the office of faith based and community partnership to support you and all the good work you do. New York City is a city of faith. And together, we will build a prosperous and peaceful city for all New Yorkers.”

At the breakfast, Adams spoke about the impact social media and other vices, including the presence of cannabis shops in neighborhoods, have on “destroying the next generation” and said, “We have abandoned the role of what it is to be a parent.”

“Why can’t our children read and write? Why don’t they behave?”

The Mayor said the key to building a better world for children includes instilling in them some level of faith.

“Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state. State is the body. Church is the heart,” Adams said. “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 won’t apologize about being a child of God. It is not going to happen.”

At the breakfast, Adams, born in Brownsville and raised in South Jamaica by a single mom who cleaned houses, spoke about how his Christian faith shaped his own improbable story.

“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,” he said. “That’s only God. That’s not man. 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.”

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