New York Daily News headline blaring 'God Isn't Fixing This' generates controversy, local reaction
Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Louisville-based Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, sounded off on the story Thursday morning.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A story on the cover of the New York Daily News is generating controversy for criticizing certain usages of the phrase "thoughts and prayers."
The cover story criticizes four Republican Presidential candidates -- specifically Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Dr. Rand Paul and Paul Ryan -- of posting tweets offering their thoughts and prayers to the victims of Wednesday's mass shooting in San Bernardino, but refusing to support stricter gun control laws proposed by President Obama.
With a centerpiece featuring the words, "God Isn't Fixing This," the New York Daily News showcased the various tweets.
"As latest batch of innocent Americans are left dying in pools of blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes," the cover states.
"Prayers aren't working," wrote Rich Schapiro, the author of the article. "White House hopefuls on the Democratic side of the aisle called 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."
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat representing Connecticut, also sounded off on Twitter.
"Your 'thoughts' should be about steps to take to stop this carnage," he tweeted. "Your 'prayers' should be for forgiveness if you do nothing - again."
The practice of criticizing those offering "thoughts and prayers" on social media (while at the same time assuming that those same people are not doing anything to help the victims' tangible needs) has been identified as "prayer shaming" by writer Emma Green of "The Atlantic."
"There’s a clear claim being made here, and one with an edge: Democrats care about doing something and taking action while Republicans waste time offering meaningless prayers," Green wrote. "These two reactions, policy-making and praying, are portrayed as mutually exclusive, coming from totally contrasting worldviews. Elsewhere on Twitter, full-on prayer shaming set in: Anger about the shooting was turned not toward the perpetrator or perpetrators, whose identities are still unknown, but at those who offered their prayers."
The story generated controversy, with some agreeing with Schapiro's sentiment, while others, such as Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, offering a different response.
"From a Christian worldview perspective, we understand it is almost a reflex for anyone -- an elected official or otherwise -- to say that 'our thoughts and prayers' are with those who are either in danger, or are grieving in the wake of this kind of massacre," Mohler said in today's edition of his daily podcast, "The Briefing."
"But it tells us something about our contemporary political scene, and about the continued secularization of America, that the words 'thoughts and prayers' have become a matter of political debate."
"Christians looking at this have to understand that nothing -- no law, no political action -- can actually solve the problem, can 'fix it,' as the New York Daily News demands, because the problem is in the human heart, not just in the events that come with horrifying headlines," Mohler said.
"And yet we also pray understanding that there is a basic problem with this headline that is far beyond anything political. And that is this: the assumption is that God isn't fixing this," Mohler said. "And yet the Scripture tells us that God will, one day, fix it. As a matter of fact, the Scripture tells us, as the Apostle Paul says in Acts 17, God has fixed a day when judgment will take place. And His judgment will be perfect, even as the rule of Christ will be perfect."
"The Biblical worldview doesn't affirm quietism -- the belief that there is nothing we can do in a world of horrifying headlines -- but the Biblical worldview also reminds us that the problem is so fundamental that it is beyond our grasp, individually, politically, economically, educationally, governmentally, militarily," he said. "The problem is far beyond anything that is within human power."
Copyright 2015 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.