Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser issued the following statement in response to the remarks made today by New York City Mayor Eric Adams that dismiss church-state separation, suggest prayer is the cure for gun violence, and proclaim that he enacts policies “with a God-like approach” and that the Mayor of New York City is “a servant of God”:
“Mayor Adams’ comments dismissing our country’s foundational principle of separation of church and state are shocking and dangerous. Our democracy, equality and rights all rely on America’s commitment to separate church and state. That separation is not anti-religion, as Mayor Adams seems to imply. Rather, it is what protects religious freedom for everyone.
“It’s especially disheartening to hear the mayor of New York City promoting right-wing, Christian Nationalist talking points about prayer solving gun violence. Not only is it simply untrue that prayer alone will end school shootings, but his words ignore the fact that students are free to voluntarily pray in public schools because of the separation of church and state.
“The separation of church and state guarantees Mayor Adams the right to have his personal religious beliefs. But as an elected official, when acting in his official capacity as mayor, he must be a mayor to all New Yorkers. In New York City – the largest and most religiously diverse city in the United States, where a quarter of the population identifies as nonreligious – the separation of church and state is a necessary shield to protect everyone’s right to live as themselves and believe as they choose.
“We as a country must recommit immediately to separate church and state, before America is no longer America. Americans United is reaching out to the mayor’s office to offer our expertise and advice on how Mayor Adams as an elected official can be true to his personal faith while respecting the religious freedom of New Yorkers and his oath of office to uphold the Constitution – including the separation of church and state.”
Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.
Associate Vice President of Communications