'A constitutional abomination': Conservative scorches Eric Adams for opposing separation of church and state
Earlier this week, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, stated that homelessness in the Big Apple is because "we took prayer out of schools." Adams also revealed that he disagrees with the fundamental American principle of separation of church and state.
"Don't tell me about no separation of church and state. State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies. I can't separate my belief because I'm an elected official," Adams proclaimed at an interfaith breakfast on Tuesday. "When I walk, I walk with God. When I talk, I talk with God. When I put policies in place, I put them in with a God-like approach to them. That's who I am. And I was that when I was that third-grader, and I'm going to be that when I leave government. I am still a child of God and will always be a child of God and I won't apologize about being a child of God. It is not going to happen."
His remarks received considerable backlash from progressives and libertarians, who chastised him for endorsing the mixing of religion and politics.
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On Thursday, conservative opinion columnist Jennifer Rubin featured those criticisms and further excoriated Adams in a blistering Washington Post editorial.
"Mind you, this was not a Republican presidential candidate straining to win the approval of evangelical Christians," Rubin said of Adams. "This was the mayor of New York, one of the most religiously diverse and secular spots on the planet, echoing a viewpoint held by Christian nationalists who seek to make politics the agent of Christianity and Christianity the handmaiden of politics."
Rubin's most glaring rebuke of Adams was that his rhetoric nearly mirrors that of right-wing evangelical extremists, whose influence has grown exponentially within the modern GOP.
"Adams’s remarks came at a time when a large segment of one of our major national political parties (and many of its most prominent elected leaders) has adopted the ethos of Christian nationalism, espousing the notion that America is not only a Christian country but one in which the state should enforce Christian values," Rubin noted. "This movement refuses to accept that America is a pluralistic state in which religion, race and ethnic origin do not determine who is a 'real American.'"
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Such a philosophy, Rubin continued, "is a constitutional abomination. In protecting both religious liberty and prohibiting religious establishment, the Founders sought to avoid the sectarian strife that had engulfed Europe for centuries. They knew all too well that when political leaders co-opt religion, the results are alarming."
Rubin stressed that the injection of fringe beliefs into policymaking has had significant consequences in the United States, especially for women, whose reproductive sovereignty was shattered when the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade last year.
Rubin also alluded to the legislative assaults on LGBTQ+ rights by Republicans in statehouses across the country, such as proposals to outlaw gender-affirming care and ban drag shows. And she spared no alarm about the dangers that Hizzoner's unsettling comments can foment.
"Given these attacks on the American creed, New Yorkers have to be flabbergasted to hear their mayor proclaim: 'Don't tell me about no separation of church and state,'" Rubin concluded. "Adams's alarming remarks can only give aid and comfort to right-wing Christian nationalists on the march, helping their odious effort to redefine America. New Yorkers certainly didn't sign up for a mayor like this."
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Rubin's full column is available here (subscription required).
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