New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) has officially settled the debate over whether he’s been trying to reverse course or backtrack on comments he made last week about prayer and the separation of church and state.
Rather than retracting his comments as some have speculated, it seems the elected official is doubling down, issuing new statements Monday in an interview with NY1.
Listen to the latest episode of CBN’s Quick Start podcast 👇
“It’s unimaginable that we keep pretending that this is not a country of faith,” the mayor said after being asked about the controversy that followed his comments at an interfaith prayer breakfast last week.
Adams said U.S. presidents take the oath on the Bible and that he, too, ended his own swearing-in by referencing God. And he wasn’t done there.
“Every citizen that came to this country when they took their oath they said, ‘So help me God,'” he said.
But it was Adams’ passionate take on prayer and children that will perhaps turn the most heads. Last week, during his initial address that sparked debate and atheist furor, the mayor said, “When we took prayers out of schools, guns came into schools.”
When asked by NY1 to clarify what he meant, Adams said his comments were a “symbolism of what we’re doing to our children,” citing a litany of issues facing young people and the lack of hope plaguing many members of the next generation.
“I don’t know why we don’t want to face what’s happening to our children,” Adams said. “Our children are leaving home, stopping at the local cannabis store, taking gummy bears that are laced with drugs, and sitting in classrooms.”
He said young teen girls are also looking at getting liposuction, among other social ills.
“We have everything in schools that we’re talking about, but we don’t want to talk about the faith of our children, that wholistic approach,” Adams said.
The mayor also further explained his take on how church and state should intersect, explaining the confines of the relationship and noting his own personal conviction to integrate his faith into policy-making. For example, Adams cited his homelessness guidelines as rooted in his spiritual beliefs.
“We can’t have government go into churches and dictate in churches,” he said. “And we can’t have churches, mosques or synagogues go into government and dictate. But we should use our faith when we make policies.”
In the end, he said he’s motivated to help “children who are hurting” from drugs, suicidal inclinations, and other issues, and faith seems to be part of that equation.
“I’m not trying to be popular. I’m trying to do what’s right,” Adams said. “Our children are in pain, and, as adults, we have a responsibility, and, as a mayor, I have an obligation to make sure I address it.”
These comments were more pointed and robust than Adams’ Sunday appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, when he told anchor Dana Bash his faith prompts him to action and pointedly responded 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.
“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
“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.”
Atheists initially demanded a retraction, a request it seems Adams has no plans to honor.
***As the number of voices facing big-tech censorship continues to grow, please sign up for Faithwire’s daily newsletter and download the CBN News app, developed by our parent company, to stay up-to-date with the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***