New York City’s Mayor Takes a Washingtonian View of Religion and Politics

March 6 2023

At an interfaith breakfast last week, the New York City mayor Eric Adams courted controversy when he not only endorsed school prayer, but dismissed concerns about the separation of church and state, declaring, “State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies.” The editors of the New York Sun praise his remarks:

Neither the word “wall” nor “separation” appears anywhere in the Constitution. Yet this confounded wall was used by the state of Maine to exclude students in a voucher program from attending their choice of a school if their choice was a religious school. It was used by Montana to do the same, as well as the state of Missouri to deny funds for playground safety at a religious school.

Yet we have been unable to find in any of those [or similar] cases a major Democratic politician siding with the religious party. We might have missed someone. The silence, though, is deafening. It strikes at the heart of New York, where beleaguered ḥasidic Jews face attacks from the state itself, demanding they educate their children in profane subjects and prohibiting the most Orthodox of Jews the right of free exercise.

So congratulations to Mr. Adams for his remarks. He expresses a modern Washingtonian view of religion and citizenship—a positive vision of the role of faith in American life. “When we took prayers out of schools, guns came into schools,” Mr. Adams said. He reminds us of George Washington’s farewell address, in which he urged the American people to ensure the flourishing of religious life to guarantee the wellbeing of the nation.

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports,” the first president told the nation. “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” Washington sought no persecution of secularists. Neither would he brook religious exclusion, and it’s nice to hear the Mayor of New York echo his sentiments.

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Eric Adams, George Washington, New York City, Religion and politics


Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria