When you screw up, often the best thing to do is own it, apologize and ask for forgiveness. If you’re sincere, it will probably be granted. New York City Mayor Eric Adams made a mistake Feb. 28 when he criticized the separation of church and state and pined for the days when public schools had school-sponsored prayer.
Mayor Adams’ Remarks Garner Christian Nationalist Fans
Adams’ comments shocked many who were attending the interfaith prayer breakfast where he made them. And although he has new fans among the Christian Nationalist crowd, one has to wonder if Adams really wants to pal around with a band of budding theocrats who oppose LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, modern science and the right to learn.
Efforts to spin Adams’ comments began shortly after he uttered them. Adams spokesperson Fabien Levy attempted to blame the messenger, remaking, “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.”
Yes, everyone in the room did understand what he meant – he attacked the separation of church and state, a foundational principle of American life. There was no misrepresentation.
Mayor Adams Backtracks On School Prayer
The day after the event, Adams himself tried to rewrite the script. During a press conference, he denied having endorsed prayer in schools and said, “I didn’t talk about prayers in school. There are clear rules about prayers in school.”
Please. Hundreds of people were in the room and heard Adams’ remarks. Plus, they’re on tape! (For the record, here is what he said: “When we took prayers out of schools, guns came into schools.”)
Later, appearing on CNN, Adams said, “Government should never be in religion, religion should never be in government. And I hope I’m very clear on that.”
The problem is, Mr. Mayor, you are not very clear on that. You said the exact opposite last week.
Americans United Offers To Advise On Church-State Separation
It’s time to stop the spin. If Adams truly wants to get out from under this thing, he should learn the true story behind prayer in schools and get a handle on what separation of church and state really means. (Hint: It doesn’t mean you can’t be a person of faith and a public official at the same time.) Then, if we’re lucky, the mayor will have a new appreciation for a key constitutional principle pioneered by and for Americans.
Americans United is ready to help!