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NYC Mayor Eric Adams prays in his office. Photo: NYC Mayor's office

Atheists criticize NYC mayor for linking violence to removal of prayer from schools

Democratic New York Mayor Eric Adams received support from Christians who said he was stating the obvious about prayer and crime. Now, he’s under attack by atheist groups for saying banning prayer in schools has contributed to violence in the city.

“Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state,” he said at an interfaith prayer breakfast recently. “State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies.”

Adams also addressed his personal beliefs and how he cannot separate them from his job as mayor, as he said his faith is who he is.

“I can’t separate my belief because I’m an elected official,” he said. “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 Godlike approach to them.”

At another point in the speech, the mayor criticized the Supreme Court’s 1962 Engel v. Vitale ruling, which led to the removal of prayer in schools. “When we took prayers out of schools, guns came into schools,” he said.

His comments are backed up by data (below) showing a spike in crime after the ruling.

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Crime rates followed the average growth rate of the population until prayer was removed from school. Then it increased dramatically.

He went on to describe the impact of faith on society to the New York Post.  “I would not be the mayor of the City of New York if it wasn’t that God saw something in me. I am the most imperfect, most perfectly imperfect, human being.

This 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 the mayor, I said, ‘ So help me God! The last thing I said when I was sworn in as the mayor, I stated, “So help me God.” Every event that I start, I start with prayer,” Adams was reported stating at a press conference.

These comments about faith and violence immediately ignited atheists, with the Freedom From Religion Foundation releasing a statement lambasting Adams and his remarks.

“Mayor Adams, your remarks are disgraceful,” the statement said, calling the U.S. Constitution, to which Adams is responsible, “an entirely godless, secular document.” The activist group said Adams is not permitted to use his public platform as mayor to push his religious views and is demanding a public retraction of these statements.

“We are asking you to publicly rescind your ill-advised remarks that the mayor of New York is officially a ‘servant of God,’ which seemingly suggests a belief that you are anointed by God,” it said.

Adams, a former police officer, responded, “I won’t apologize about being a child of God. It is not going to happen.”

The Big Apple mayor is not shy about speaking his mind, recently upsetting Kansans by saying the state doesn’t have “a brand” like New York City.

Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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