A number of religious and political leaders are hitting back at the New York Daily News after the magazine mocked those who reacted to the San Bernardino shooting with calls for prayer instead of tighter gun control laws.
The Thursday edition of the New York Daily News bore the headline, "God Isn't Fixing This."
"As latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes," the cover screams.
The article goes on to claim that "prayers aren't working" and praises Democratic presidential hopefuls for calling for stricter gun laws in the wake of the shooting in San Bernardino that left at least 14 dead.
"But after yet another mass shooting in America, GOP presidential contenders were conspicuously silent on the issue of gun control. Instead, the Republicans were preaching about prayer," the article continues, mocking House Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP presidential hopefuls Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham in particular for responding with prayers for the victims.
The article hasn't sat well with many religious and political leaders, who have argued that calling for prayer should not be mocked -- especially during such a devastating time.
"I was so disturbed by that cover," said "Fox and Friends" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Thursday afternoon. "I say this - if you want to line up with terrorists and try to take God away, you're not on the right side. That's all I'd have to say to those politicians who want to tell you to stop praying."
Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina also weighed in on the cover, charging that the whole thing is an example of how the "left wing is afraid of our values."
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani expressed incredulity over the response: "How you can possibly criticize people who are talking about praying to God for help in a situation like this?" he asked. "I found after September 11th...one of the few things people had to cling to was their religion."
Robert Jeffress, host of Pathway to Victory, a national radio and television ministry, opined, "Look, prayer's not some meaningless activity we engage in to make ourselves feel better. When we pray, we're talking to somebody greater than ourselves and asking him to do some specific things - to heal those who are wounded, to give grace to those who've lost loved ones, to protect our law enforcement personnel. Prayer's always the right thing we should do, it's the first thing we should do, but it's not the only thing we should do."
Katrina Trinko, managing editor of The Daily Signal and a member of USA Today's Board of Contributors, also shared her thoughts on the issue: "Yes, there might be initiatives that could help curb, perhaps significantly, these mass shootings," she writes. "Gun control is obviously the idea bandied about the most, in no small part because of President Barack Obama's emphasis on it. But there's also room for discussion about mental health treatment, police and security, and even perhaps whether making gun access less restrictive could allow a faster response to such horrific attacks."
However, there is also room for prayer, she contends. "No, God isn't Santa Claus, delivering requests on demand. (Although that does happen sometimes.) And the New York Daily News' childish assumption that that is how religion works only proves the Daily News' total lack of knowledge and familiarity with religion, not that the religious response to San Bernardino is problematic."