In a sharp reversal of his predecessor's crackdown on places of worship during the pandemic, New York City Mayor Eric Adams is calling on his fellow New Yorkers to make New York City "a place of God," citing lack of faith as the largest challenge facing the city.
"How do we take a city that is the center of power in America and turn it into a city, when you enter it, everyone sees faith and sees God?" Adams asked during a faith-based summit held at Columbia University's Teachers College. "Our challenge is not economics. Our challenge is not finance. Our challenge is faith. People have lost their faith."
Just two weeks prior to his most recent comments, Adams lamented the damage caused by the separation of church and state at an interfaith breakfast.
"Don't tell me about no separation of church and state. State is the body, church is the heart," said Adams. "You take the heart out of the body, the body dies. I can't separate my belief because I'm an elected official."
Clarifying his statements, Adams also said, "Government should not interfere with religion, and religion should not interfere with government."
These statements have caused many within Adams' own party to question exactly what his goals and plans are moving forward regarding religion and government in New York City.
Rabbi Abby Stein, who attended the breakfast, was quite alarmed by the mayor's statements.
"There was a lot of people who were like, 'No, no, no, no, what is happening? What is he talking about?'" Stein said. "At least half of the room was not with him when he talked about separation of church and state."
Stein also called the mayor's speech "Unhinged and also very dangerous.
"When elected leaders start calling their beliefs more important than serving the people, that's very dangerous," she said. "I've personally seen what happens when people use God, or their conception of God, to control people."
Yet the criticism is not slowing Adams down in the slightest. He is currently pushing to enlist more young people in New York City to apply to become police officers and bring back a semblance of law and order in the crime-plagued city.
"We should be part of the rallying call of having good, God-fearing young men and women play this awesome role of public safety in our city," Adams said at a gun violence summit.
This stance is in sharp contrast to NYC's previous mayor who appeared to intentionally target houses of worship during the pandemic for gathering publicly and even went so far as threatening them on social media and welding shut the gates to a playground in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood.
"My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed," tweeted de Blasio. "I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period."
De Blasio's aggressive and anti-religious actions eventually found their way to the Supreme Court, which then blocked the out-of-control mayor from enforcing the lockdowns.
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in his opinion:
"It is time—past time—to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues and mosques."
To many Christians, the mayor of New York City has rarely been a position that championed the cause of faith among its citizens, especially recently. But God is the God of the impossible, and He uses those who will listen and have a heart for Him.
The political leanings of an individual do not matter for God to use them. Was Saul of Tarsus not a legalistic persecutor of Christians? Did Donald Trump not live a life of carnality in pursuit of the flesh?
The Lord can use whomever He desires to accomplish His goals, which are much greater than ours. It is in the pursuit of obedience to His calling that many Christians endure a refining process through His holy fire that results in a change of heart proven through different behavior and attitude.
As it says in 1 Samuel 16:7: "...For the Lord sees not as man sees. For man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." Beseech the Lord that this is the case for Mayor Adams, and that the people of New York have a leader who praises and honors the Lord God in heaven. Then, their city would truly become a place ripe for a harvesting of souls.
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James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media.
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