March 2024 Church & State Magazine - March 2024

NYC Mayor Adams warns of ‘demonic energy’ engulfing world


Adams: Demons all around the world? (Jason Mendez/Getty Images for (BAM) Brooklyn Academy of Music )

New York City Mayor Eric Adams implied that people can be successful in life only if they have faith while warning about “demonic energy” engulfing the world during a Jan. 31 interfaith prayer breakfast.

During his remarks, Adams suggested that government has some role to play in people’s spiritual lives, and that the problems communities face can be solved by more religion.

Referring to things that give him strength, Adams asked, “What is your source? What are you plugged into? Are you plugged into a foundation of faith, or are you looking over and realize that you’re not plugged into anything? Because it doesn’t matter the language, it doesn’t matter your origin, it doesn’t matter where you are from. If you are plugged into a source of faith, you will be able to accomplish the task.”

Adams tossed a few bones to Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist leaders in the city during his comments, but he didn’t bother to acknowledge that some of his constituents may be nonreligious. Yet New York City, with a population of 8.5 million people, is surely home to many people who have no religious faith.

Adams went on to assert, “There is a demonic energy that has engulfed our globe. And we are so ashamed to talk about it. We’re seeing it in front of us, and we say if we mention it, people are going to say, well, why are you talking about these spiritual things? It is the spiritual things that got us here. It’s going to be the spiritual things. Things that’s going to sustain us while we’re here.”

Americans United responded to Adams’ comments on its “Wall of Separation” blog.

“Let’s begin by pointing out that many people, even plenty of believers, would dispute the fact that demonic energy is running amok,” AU observed. “But, assuming Adams really does believe that, we are forced to confront a troubling question: What, exactly, does that mean for him as mayor of our nation’s largest city? What does he believe he is charged to do about it?

“Perhaps the reason people get nervous when elected officials start spouting off about ‘demonic energy’ and such is that they know what’s likely to come next: some type of crusade to fight the demons,” AU continued. “Exactly how is the government, which, in New York City and elsewhere, is legally required to be secular, going to battle these ‘demons’? Any history of the Middle Ages will provide an answer to that. (Spoiler: It doesn’t work out well.)”

Adams also announced “a $1.5-million initiative with our faith-based community” to prevent gun violence citywide. He did not provide any details, but given Adams’ track record and proven inability to separate his religious life from his political office, Americans United will be watching.

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