Atheist activists are blasting New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) after the Democrat took aim at the separation of church and state and seemingly blamed the absence of school prayer for violence.
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Adams, who made his statements during an address before an interfaith prayer breakfast Tuesday, left atheists aghast when he also said the “mayor of New York is a servant of God.”
“Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state,” he said during the New York Public Library event. “State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies.”
Adams also addressed his personal beliefs and how he cannot separate them from his job as mayor, as he said his faith is who he is.
“I can’t separate my belief because I’m an elected official,” he added. “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.”
Adams continued, “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.”
Watch the mayor’s remarks:
At another point in the speech, Adams seemingly aimed at the Supreme Court’s infamous 1962 Engel v. Vitale ruling, which led to the removal of prayer in schools.
“When we took prayers out of schools, guns came into schools,” he said.
These comments about faith and violence immediately ignited atheists, with the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist activist organization based in Madison, Wisconsin, releasing a statement lambasting Adams and his remarks.
“Mayor Adams, your remarks are disgraceful,” FFRF wrote in a statement, calling the U.S. Constitution, to which Adams is responsible, “an entirely godless, secular document.” “The mayor of New York City is not a ‘servant of God,’ FFRF asserts, but is, in fact, a servant of the people.”
The activist group said Adams is not permitted to use his public platform as mayor to push his religious views. The FFRF is now demanding a public retraction of these statements.
“We are asking you to publicly rescind your ill-advised remarks that the mayor of New York is officially a ‘servant of God,’ which seemingly suggests a belief that you are anointed by God,” the group wrote to Adams.
It’s unclear whether Adams will respond to these calls to reject his comments, though his initial message seemed clear when he proclaimed, “I won’t apologize about being a child of God. It is not going to happen.”
We’ll continue to monitor the story as it develops.
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