Texas state lawmaker defends his response to Stephen Hawking’s death: ‘God exists’
A conservative Christian lawmaker in Texas had to defend his response to Stephen Hawking’s death after initially taking a jab at the world-famous physicist’s stance on religion.
Republican state Rep. Briscoe Cain tweeted early Wednesday, shortly after news broke of Hawking’s death, that the scientist “now knows the truth about how the universe was actually made,” while offering his sympathies to Hawking’s family.
Stephen Hawking now knows the truth about how the universe was actually made.
My condolences to his family.
— Briscoe Cain (@BriscoeCain) March 14, 2018
After internet backlash to that comment, Cain later issued a comment to The Houston Chronicle to clarify his tweet.
“Losing a loved one is never easy and I am sympathetic for his family’s loss. My prayers are with them. Stephen Hawking was brilliant, many even called him one of the greatest public intellectuals of the last century, but the fact remains that God exists,” Cain said.
“My tweet was to show the gravity of the Gospel and what happens when we pass, namely, that we all will one day meet our Creator face to face. Though Hawking has long been a vocal atheist who advocated against and openly mocked God, I hope nothing but the best for his family and pray that he came to know faith before he passed.”
Social media users took that as an insult to the award-winning scientist who famously stated, “There is no god. No one created our universe, and no one directs our fate.”
Without mentioning Cain, Republican Texas state Rep. Jeff Leach took to Twitter to call out fellow Christians making “hateful and snarky” comments about Hawking’s death.
Hey fellow Christians – cool it with the hateful & snarky Stephen Hawking condemnations. We should mourn when someone passes without knowing Jesus and celebrate with the angels when any man comes to faith. I pray that, at some point before his final breath, he did the latter.
— Jeff Leach (@leachfortexas) March 14, 2018
Democratic state Rep. Poncho Nevárez told Cain on Twitter to “be better” than mocking a deceased person and his family.
At a time like this, and I don’t care who it is, and I am sure they care less who you are, but mocking the deceased and his family reveals the smallness of your character. Be better than that. https://t.co/s1UXwTgQoU
— Rep. Poncho Nevárez (@poncho_nevarez) March 14, 2018
The Austin American-Statesman wrote that Cain is an outspoken member of the Texas Freedom Cause who had the most conservative voting record for the 2017 Texas House session.
Hawkings died early Wednesday at the age of 76, having spent decades living with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. His seminal work “A Brief History of Time” has sold more than 10 million copies.
The New York Times obituary for Hawking read: “Stephen W. Hawking, the Cambridge University physicist and best-selling author who roamed the cosmos from a wheelchair, pondering the nature of gravity and the origin of the universe and becoming an emblem of human determination and curiosity, died early Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, England.”
Communicating through a computer after having lost muscle function from the disease, Hawkings became an outspoken critic of President Trump, calling him a “demagogue.”
On Wednesday, former President Obama shared a photo of him with Hawking and told him to “have fun out there among the stars.”