Mayor Adams Wants New York City to Be ‘God’s Place’ Calls on Religious Leaders and New Yorkers to Get Involved

On Thursday, Mayor Adams urged New Yorkers to turn the city into a “place of God,” the latest in a series of religious remarks that defied the conventions set by his predecessors at City Hall.

Adams, speaking at the Religious Mental Health Summit, delivered much of his speech in the form of questions that boiled down to one central question: how to change New York City into a place that radiates an aura of faith and God?

“How do we take a city that’s the center of America’s power and turn it into a city where you drive in and everyone sees faith and sees God?” the mayor said during Thursday’s talk at Columbia University’s Teachers’ College. “Our task is not in the economy. Our problem is not finances. Our challenge is faith. People have lost their faith.”

Mayor Eric Adams speaking at Greater Allen A.ME.  New York Cathedral on Sunday, January 9, 2022.

Adams’ latest comments on God and faith come two weeks after he sparked controversy by saying he did not believe in separation of church and state. religion, and religion should not get in the way of the government.”

Since making these statements, he has answered several questions from reporters on the subject, floated the idea of ​​encouraging spiritual exchanges between houses of worship, and on Wednesday, during a speech at a summit on gun violence hosted by national religious leaders , he called on clerics to participate in a “major recruiting campaign” aimed at getting young people to become police officers.

“We must be part of a rallying call for good, God-fearing young men and women to play this wonderful role in keeping our city safe,” he said at the event.

New York Daily News front page, March 1, 2023: In an address to religious leaders, Adams rejects the need to separate church and state.  Mayor Adams, speaking on Tuesday (above), made comments that may run counter to established constitutional provisions separating religion from government.

The mayor’s most recent predecessors—former mayors Bill de Blasio and Michael Bloomberg—usually were more reserved when speaking about faith and rarely spoke at length about their personal experiences with religion.

Adams, who grew up in the Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal denomination, offered a different approach and drew criticism in the process. Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said earlier this month that his remarks continue to “raise concerns that he does not respect the separation of church and state.”

Thursday’s comments about faith in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights were broad and more personal than some of his previous statements.

Adams described his childhood and how his mother, who died a few weeks before his inauguration, emphasized the importance of people feeling and seeing God when they entered their home.

“Mom told the six of us, she says: “When people enter this house, do they feel God? Do they see God? Do they feel the energy of God?” he said. “So here is my question. Our home is New York. When people enter this city, when they get off the bus, when asylum seekers come in here, when they first enter the city in JFK or Amtrak, do they feel God?

New York Mayor Eric Adams hosts the annual Interfaith Breakfast at the New York Public Library on Tuesday, February 28, 2023.

Adams then attempted to answer his question with another rhetorical sweep, pointing out the asylum crisis he had been trying to resolve since last year and the city’s ongoing homeless dilemma.

“If this were the house of God, we would not wonder what we would do with our asylum seekers,” he said. “If this were the house of God, we wouldn’t wonder what we’re doing to the young men and women who grow up in homeless shelters who haven’t even seen anyone come in and minister to them.”

Adams has repeatedly urged the federal government to allocate more money for housing and other services for the more than 40,000 migrants who have come to the city since last year seeking asylum. And earlier this week, he approved a form of service, albeit a secular one, for people living in homeless shelters through legislation that now requires the city to provide mental health services to women and children living in family homeless shelters.

But other, broader issues, he said Thursday, remain unresolved.

He said he was afraid of what was happening in the city and the country as a whole, and pointed to children’s easy access to cannabis products, cosmetic surgery and phone apps like TikTok as leaders that show the country is moving in the wrong direction. direction. direction.

Adams, who has repeatedly spoken out against social media, pointed to China’s approach to TikTok as superior to that currently used in the United States.

“They don’t allow TikTok that our kids are watching. Not allowed in China. They only have a TikTok education. Our kids wake up every day on their way to school, go to stores and wineries, buy gummy bears and cannabis skittles and sit in the classroom,” he said. “We are seeing the erosion of the foundation of our future.”

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