Calling himself “the perfectly imperfect child of God that shows the power of God,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a fiery Father’s Day speech on Sunday that he won’t stop talking about God and the importance of faith in society, despite attacks from the media about it, because God told him to do it.
“This is an Esther 4:14 moment. God made me for such a time like this. God took the most perfectly imperfect person and brought him to a level of being the most powerful man in the city of New York,” Adams said in a message to congregants at Lennox Road Baptist Church in Brooklyn, led by senior pastor, the Rev. Kirkpatrick Cohall.
Adams, 62, who identifies as a Christian, was raised in the Church of Christ but now attends mostly nondenominational services.
He revealed that God told him more than 30 years ago that he would become the mayor of New York City and it came to pass. So when God told him recently to start talking about his faith publicly, he is choosing to be obedient again.
“Thirty-something years ago, I woke up out of my sleep in a cold sweat. God spoke to my heart and said, ‘You are going to be the mayor January 1, 2022.’ And the message was clear. God stated, you cannot be silent, you must tell everyone you know. Because it's a Judges 7 verse 2-7 moment,” Adams said.
Judges 7:2-7 recounts the story of how Gideon wins the battle against the Midianite army that was 135,000 strong, with only 300 men, because God had him send home all the men who were scared to fight.
Adams, a former police captain, said God allowed him to become mayor despite his background being dyslexic and getting arrested as a youth because God did not want him to credit himself when he became mayor.
He said as he followed God’s vision that led him to become mayor, he would get inspiration about what needed to be fixed in the city as well as who could help him turn the city around.
“I would start seeing the people who I needed to be part of my administration. So the people you see in my administration, they're not here by accident,” Adams said. “They are non-traditional people who did not come up through … the normal way of politics.”
He said he chose to do things differently by not choosing traditional experts for his administration because despite their history of involvement working in the city, 65% of black and brown children are still not able to read in the school system, and the city was still struggling with issues such as homelessness.
At the city’s annual interfaith breakfast on Feb. 28, Adams urged faith leaders to boldly exercise their faith in the public square and said it was a mistake for the U.S. Supreme Court to ban school-sponsored prayer in public schools, triggering public criticism and national headlines.
In his message on Sunday, Adams said he was just following God again.
“The same message I got 30 years ago, a few months ago I woke up [in the] same state,” Adams said.
“God said, talk about God. And I started to say, don't tell me about such separation of church and state. Don't tell me that when you took prayer out of school guns came in. Don't tell me that I have to remove my feeling of God. And you saw what happened. You saw all the front pages and the national stories. You know, ‘How dare the most powerful mayor on the globe start talking about God,” he added. “I don't care what anyone says. It's time to pray. It's time to pray.”
Adams said he intends to keep talking about faith, suggesting that the lack of faith in the nation today was leading vulnerable children, especially to a life of despair.
“What do they think they can do to me?” he said of the press.
“You try to beat me with your news articles. I've got the scars already. You try to beat me with your commentary. I got the stars already. You can't do anything to me,” Adams said. “I know whose voice I hear. I know my role.”
Correction: This article has been corrected to make clear that Mayor Eric Adams was raised in the Church of Christ denomination, not the Church of God in Christ.