New York City’s interfaith breakfast, an annual gathering of religious leaders hosted by the city’s mayor, is a typically staid event. But this is Eric Adams’ town now—and anything goes, including overt dismissals of fundamental, overwhelmingly supported U.S. Constitution doctrines and one deeply absurd sponge metaphor.
“Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state,” Adams said in a speech at the Tuesday breakfast. “State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies.”
He continued, sounding increasingly confident: “I can’t separate my belief because I’m an elected official…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.”
Then, in the midst of claiming that houses of worship are the “gyms” in which New Yorkers train to “bring our best fight in the ring,” Adams seemed to express disappointment over the 1962 Supreme Court ruling that banned prayer in schools. He even appeared to accuse the landmark decision of laying the groundwork for the country’s school shooting epidemic.
“When we took prayers out of schools, guns came into schools,” Adams said.
That’s some pretty stunning material, particularly for a supposedly Democratic mayor. But for me, it was the appearance of a yellow sponge that alarmed the most. In fact, I gasped:
NYC Mayor Eric Adams (D) just pulled out a sponge as a prop at the New York Public Library interfaith breakfast:
"You're not going to be able to receive the purifications of God's blessing if you keep your sponge saturated … Ring it out." pic.twitter.com/uHJXeinRWM
— The Recount (@therecount) February 28, 2023
By now, New Yorkers are likely worn down by Adams’ penchant for bombastic statements. I’ll admit to even shrugging at his unconstitutional support for bringing prayer back into the classroom. But watching Adams speak with such passion, while clutching a sponge supposedly saturated with my despair, is not something I expected to see today.
Let it be the call to worship you didn’t know you needed.