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Mayor Eric Adams' comments at interfaith breakfast on separation of church and state rankle many

Mayor Adams gives rousing speech on mixing religion and politics
Mayor Adams gives rousing speech on mixing religion and politics 02:02

NEW YORK -- Mayor Eric Adams gave a rousing speech Tuesday on mixing religion and politics.

While some people agreed, hizzoner touched a nerve with others.

"When we took prayers out of school, guns came into schools," Adams said.

And he was off and running. The mayor sermonized at an interfaith breakfast about the importance of beliefs -- all beliefs -- in dealing with the ills facing the city.

"We've become so hip, so cool, so Instagram-ish, so Facebook-ish, so Twitter-ish, that we have TikTok-ed our way out of the humanity that we've always known," Adams said.

But when he spoke about his own strong beliefs, the mayor ran into the buzz saw of political correctness.

"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 said.

That prompted an immediate response from Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, who took him to task.

"It is odd that Mayor Adams would need a refresher on the First Amendment," Lieberman 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."

Fabien Levy, the mayor's press secretary, defended his boss.

"The policies we make as an administration are rooted in the mayor's belief in the creator. The mayor personally believes all of our faiths would ensure we are humane to one another," Levy said. "While everyone in the room immediately understood what the mayor meant, it's unfortunate that some have attempted to hijack the narrative in an effort to misrepresent the mayor's comments."

The mayor also received incoming from some of his left wing critics who accused him of advancing right wing Christian talking points.

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