Point and Counterpoint on Mayor’s Recent Rollout of Religion in Politics

Ken Frydman bills himself as a moderate Republican. The onetime press secretary for Rudy Giuliani in his first successful run for mayor, more recently turned critic and was a consulting producer on the CNN special, “What Happened to America’s Mayor?” He does not like Mayor Eric Adams’ recent injection of religion into political discourse.

| 17 Apr 2023 | 06:07

Eric Adams is mayor, not the city’s pastor-in-chief. That’s the job of Adams‘ buddy, Bishop Lamor Whitehead, the sketchy Brooklyn church leader. Adams’ job is to keep us safe and rat-free.

An ordained priest shouldn’t preach about politics from the pulpit. A lay mayor shouldn’t preach about religion from the podium. Spirituality is a private matter.

Government is not in the business of endorsing a higher power. What about atheists and agnostics? What are they supposed to do while the rest of us pray to the God of our choice?

Thomas Jefferson believed that the new nation required complete religious freedom and separation of church and state. The broad diversity of ethnicities and religions in the 13 colonies meant that religious freedom was necessary for the union to be successful.

Nearly 250 years later, the separation of church and state remains a slippery slope. “In God We Trust” is engraved in big, block letters behind every judge in every courtroom. Our legal tender also bears those words.

And then there’s that pesky pledge of allegiance. In 2005, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that reference to one nation “under God” in the pledge of allegiance violated school children’s right to be “free from a coercive requirement to affirm God.” The case was brought by Sacramento resident Michael Newdow, the same atheist whose previous battle in 2002 against the words “under God” was rejected by the Supreme Court on procedural grounds.

Mayor Adams should make it easy on himself: Stick to governing, not proselytizing.

Ken Frydman is CEO of Source Communications, a strategic and tactical communications firm in Manhattan.