Mayor Adams: You’re the servant of the people, not ‘God’

Take back your unconstitutional God-obeisant statements, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking the New York City mayor.

During a New York Library interfaith prayer breakfast yesterday, Mayor Eric Adams denigrated the separation between state and church and even announced that New York City “is a place where the mayor of New York is a servant of God.” Adams suggested that prayer in school can solve gun violence and otherwise affiliated his office with God and Christianity, saying:

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 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. … Cause if we are bringing our best fight in the ring, we would not have homeless in this city. We would not have a crisis of domestic violence. We would not have children because when we took prayers out of schools, guns came into schools.… 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. Thank you. Continue to pray for us. [Bold emphasis added.]

“Mayor Adams, your remarks are disgraceful,” FFRF writes in a letter to him. The mayor of New York City is not a “servant of God,” FFRF asserts, but is, in fact, a servant of the people. Adams took an oath of office “to support and defend” the U.S. Constitution, which is an entirely godless, secular document.

“While as a private individual you are free to worship as you like, you are not free to use your secular office or its podium to promote those beliefs, while deriding your constitutional duties to keep religion out of government,” FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor write to the mayor. “Your duty as an elected official is not to be ‘a servant of God’ but to the Constitution and the people who it represents.”

Adams’ attempts to impose his religious beliefs through his elected position is an insult to all New Yorkers, as well as to the core American value of separation of state and church, FFRF stresses.

Adams claimed in his remarks that many social problems are due to a lack of faith. His implied “solution” to the rampant epidemic of gun violence in our country, particularly in our schools, is that the government must “instill faith and belief” in a captive audience of children, i.e., indoctrinate them. However, more than 70 years of compelling Supreme Court precedent exists to protect the rights and freedom of conscience of children from school-sponsored and imposed prayers or indoctrination. Besides, the evidence does not bear out Adams’ claim, FFRF documents. Of the top 50 safest cities in the world, nearly all are in relatively nonreligious countries, and of the eight cities within the United States that make the safest-city list, nearly all are located in the least religious regions of the country.

School shootings are a real-world problem that requires a real-world solution, not a plea for nonexistent supernatural intervention, FFRF emphasizes. Atheists and agnostics and others unaffiliated with religion — who now comprise three-in-ten adult Americans, including 34 percent of New York County residents — are some of the most avid supporters of gun safety reform, while evangelical Christians are among the least.

“As mayor, your duty is to support the U.S. Constitution, which is godless and entirely secular, and to protect the rights of all New Yorkers regardless of their religious or nonreligious beliefs,” FFRF’s letter concludes. “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.”

You can read the full FFRF letter here.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 40,000 largely nonreligious members across the country, including more than 2,000 members in the state of New York. FFRF works to defend the constitutional separation between state and church and to educate about nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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