Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams stood firm in his faith Tuesday, with a top adviser saying the mayor does not believe in separation of church and state, a statement Adams himself later echoed.
Adams’ chief adviser, Ingrid Lewis-Martin, introduced the mayor during an interfaith breakfast at the New York Public Library, saying that Adams’ administratoin “does not believe” it must “separate church from state.”
Adams then doubled down on the idea.
“Ingrid was so right,” the mayor said. “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 beliefs because I’m an elected official.”
Adams says Lewis-Martin is “so right” about the fact that church should not be separated from state.
“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,” he says.
— Chris Sommerfeldt (@C_Sommerfeldt) February 28, 2023
“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,” he added. (RELATED: NYC Mayor Eric Adams Ends Vaccine Mandate For City Workers)
Adams also attributed a spike in crime to a lack of faith, saying the next generation is being destroyed because they have not been instilled with “some level of faith and belief.”
Adams comments were met with criticism, with Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, calling his statement “odd,” according to New York Daily News.
“It is odd that Mayor Adams would need a refresher on the First Amendment,” Lieberman reportedly said. “After all, he has sworn to uphold the Constitution more than once, first as a police officer, later as a state representative, and then last year upon becoming mayor. The very opening passage of the Bill of Rights makes clear that church and state must be separate.”
The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
The phrase “separation of church and state” is derived from the 1802 Danbury Baptist letter, in which Thomas Jefferson “the whole American people” had, by way of the First Amendment, built “a wall of separation between Church and State.”
The letter was written to assure religious leaders that the government would not encroach upon their religious liberties.
The concept of “separation of church and state” has been the center of several Supreme Court cases, notably Engel v. Vitale and Everson v. Board of Education.