Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s office removed a Bible verse tweeted Sunday morning that said “man reaps what he sows” after it drew heavy criticism in the wake of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
Many of Patrick’s critics perceived it as a response to the shooting and an affront to the victims. Fifty people were killed early Sunday, making it the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Another 53 people were injured in the attack by 29-year-old Omar Mateen of Fort Pierce.
Patrick’s adviser Allen Blakemore issued a statement saying “the post was designed and scheduled last Thursday,” and was not a response to the events in Orlando.
“Lt. Governor Patrick and every Texan is stunned and saddened by the outrageous act of domestic terrorism that has occurred in Orlando,” Blakemore said. “… Regarding this morning’s scripture posting on social media, be assured that the post was not done in response to last night’s tragedy.”
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The verse, posted around 7 a.m., was from Galatians and read: “Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” It was taken down at around 11 a.m., but by that time critics had already delivered withering responses to Patrick, a former conservative radio talk show host and frequent lightning rod throughout his political career.
He recently made headlines in North Texas when he called for Fort Worth school Superintendent Kent Scribner to resign over the approval of transgender bathroom guidelines.
“Hate and violence have no place in America,” said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa. “Unfortunately, Texans in mourning for our families in Florida woke up to an embarrassment from their lieutenant governor. Lt.Gov Dan Patrick, please apologize immediately. Make this right. We are better than this.”
Former Fort Worth City Council member Joel Burns expressed disgust on his Twitter feed and called for Patrick to resign.
Patrick, who was out of the country Sunday but aware of the controversy, regularly shares Bible verses on social media on Sunday mornings. Another, from Psalm 37:39, took the place of Patrick’s initial tweet: “The Salvation of the righteous come from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble.”
“We regret the unfortunate timing of these posts,” Blakemore said in his statement. “And ask everyone to join us in praying for the people of Orlando in this awful time.”