Mayor Adams told New Yorkers Friday to “get over this” if they are upset by his recent attempt to make religion a centerpiece of the city’s identity, doubling down on a message that has upset some local civic leaders.
The mayor, who first ruffled faith-related feathers last month by declaring he doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state, released the defiant message after attending morning Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan. .
“Some people see me go to church and they get mad because I believe in God and faith, but, you know, all I can say is, get over it,” Adams said in an interview on Q104.3 radio live from Connolly’s. Pub, which was packed to the brim before the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. “Faith is what lives us, inspires us and drives us.”
The Christian mayor acknowledged that his predecessors “didn’t really express their strong belief in the faith as much as I did.”
“But if you had seen my journey and realized how broken I was as a child, only faith can get me to where I am,” he said. “To go from that brokenness to being the mayor of the greatest city in the world, every day I wake up and thank God for that… Right now, this city needs prayer, and we need to pray together.”
Civil rights advocates, and some clergy, have said they are puzzled by Adams’ mix of politics and religion. Emphasizing that the mayor is free to let faith inspire his approach to government, New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman said earlier this month that his message suggests he “doesn’t respect the separation of church and state.”
Since the church-state controversy arose, Adams has tried to clarify his comments, even saying on March 5 that “government should not interfere with religion and religion should not interfere with government.”
But he has also continued to call for an expansion of faith in city government, proposing Wednesday that houses of worship should help recruit “God-fearing young men and women” for the NYPD. On Thursday, he said his mission is to transform the city into “a place of God.”
While taking part in the radio interview at Connolly’s, Adams was served a freshly poured pint of Guinness which he took a few sips of before reserving.
“I’m drinking this glass of water (instead),” he joked to radio host Jim Kerr.
The plant-based mayor was also asked to name his favorite Irish food.
“I don’t want to insult the Irish spirit, but I have this kind of vegan slaw mix that I make with my little burger, vegan burger, but, you know, you won’t even know it’s vegan when you eat it. trust me,” she said. “But I think nowadays people are making corned beef.”
After Connolly’s, Adams, donning a green shamrock-embroidered tie, headed to another nearby Irish restaurant, Mulligan’s Pub, where he chatted with St. Patrick’s Day revelers and took selfies with them.
Later, the mayor marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade down Fifth Avenue alongside FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh as thousands of onlookers lined the streets.
Kavanagh, the FDNY’s first female commissioner, has lately been embroiled in a feud with some veteran fire chiefs angry about her leadership style, complaints her supporters attribute to sexism in the ranks.
Adams, who has supported Kavanagh in the face of the FDNY dispute, told reporters along the parade route that he is confident in his ability to reform a department that has long been run by men.
“Everyone knows how I feel about the commissioner. She is really going to move us forward,” she said.
Also marching in the parade was Governor Hochul, who highlighted her Irish heritage.
“First Irish governor in 40 years. Really happy to be here marching in New York,” he said. “I have never seen crowds like this. He is one of the best of all.
“We are back,” he added. “That’s the message for today.”