New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) isn’t backing down from recent comments expressing his inability to separate his faith from public service. However, at least one outlet said he appeared to reverse himself on related statements about the separation of church and state.
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Adams appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, telling anchor Dana Bash his faith prompts him to action and pointedly responding to concerns over his views on the separation of church and state.
He responded, “No,” when asked, “Do you fundamentally believe in the separation of church and state from a governing standpoint?” But he added some caveats.
“What I believe is that you cannot separate your faith,” he said, seemingly speaking of elected officials’ personal beliefs about the Lord. “Government should not interfere with religion, and religion should not interfere with government.”
Adams continued, “But I believe my faith pushes me forward on how I govern and the things that I do.”
Watch Adams’ comments:
“Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state.”— CNN (@CNN) March 5, 2023
New York City Mayor Eric Adams explains a controversial remark he made at an interfaith breakfast. @CNNSotu #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/KtMCSb6Dm4
At the start of the segment, when Bash noted some people were “alarmed” by the comments Adams made last week at an interfaith prayer breakfast, the mayor broke down historical ties between politicians and faith.
“Let’s be clear on something: the last words I said after I was sworn in was, ‘So help me God.’ On our dollar bill we have, ‘In God we trust,'” Adams said. “Every president touched a religious book when they were sworn in, except for three. Faith is who I am.”
Adams said, though, that anyone taking his words to mean he will “compel people” to follow his faith is not correctly understanding what he was saying.
“I’m not going to compel people,” he said, later adding, “My faith is how I carry out the practices that I do and the policies such as helping people who are homeless.”
When further pressed on his true views, Adams again said, “government should never be in religion” and “religion should never be in government,” though he didn’t necessarily expand on what that means.
It seems he was discussing two different dynamics: politicians’ beliefs impacting their policy-making decisions and theocracies and religious governments. The two related yet divergent topics are complex, and his interview Sunday didn’t fully delve into the confines of his beliefs on the latter matter.
As CBN’s Faithwire previously reported, Adams came under fire from atheist activists and other critics in recent days after he took aim at the separation of church and state and seemingly blamed the absence of school prayer for violence.
Adams, who made his statements last Tuesday, left critics 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.”
Furthermore, Adams addressed his personal beliefs and how he cannot separate them from his job as mayor, as he said his faith is inseparable from his personal and professional life.
“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.”
Read more about the original comments here.
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