Mayor Eric Adams said Thursday he believes divine intervention played a role in his rise to mayor and defended his statement this week that children need more religion in their lives.
“I have never made a secret that my spirituality guides the humanitarian response that I do,” Adams told reporters when asked to explain why he spoke out against the separation of church and state.
Adams, at an interfaith breakfast earlier this week, said it was difficult for him to separate his religious beliefs, calling it a shame that prayer had been abolished in public schools because it made children more subject to vices such as armed violence.
“I wouldn’t be the mayor of New York City if it wasn’t for God seeing something in me. I am the most imperfect, most perfectly imperfect human being.
“It is a country where on our dollar bills we say: “In God We Trust”. The last thing I said when I was sworn in as mayor, I said, ‘So help me God! The last thing I said when I was sworn in as mayor, I said, “So help me God.” Every event that I start, I start with prayer,” Adams said at the City Hall press conference.
Hizzoner backtracked a little on this point when asked if he was prepared to overturn the landmark 1962 United States Supreme Court ruling requiring prayer in public schools, arguing that he had no authority.
“I didn’t talk about prayers at school. There are clear rules regarding prayers at school. It had nothing to do – I don’t have the power to change that. I just gave you my belief,” he said.
“I am not a closed believer in God. I am a public believer in God. I am who I am because of my belief and my faith.
Adams noted that he thinks spirituality is healthy for children, adding that they could benefit from church clubs or trips to different churches and places of worship.
“I’m not here because I’m the smartest, not because I’m the brightest. I’m here because with all my heart I believe this is an Esther 4:14 moment,” he said. he added, referring to a passage in the Bible that urges the faithful to believe that God has a plan for their lives.
“God created me for a time like this.”
Adams then hit back at critics – including groups like the New York Civil Liberties Union – who took issue with his apparent display of the rule.
“I’m so glad there’s a small number of people saying that ‘Eric’s belief in God, he shouldn’t talk about it as mayor’. No, as mayor I should talk about my belief in God.