The Judge in the Botham Jean Case Was Wrong to Give a Bible to Amber Guyger


You may have heard about
the trial of Botham Jean. He’s a black man
who lived in Dallas. One night, about a year ago,
a police officer named Amber Guyger, who lived directly underneath Botham
in their apartment complex, accidentally walked
into his place after work. She saw him. She thought
he was an intruder. She pulled out her gun.
She shot him. He died. A white cop killed a black man
in his own home. He literally did nothing
wrong that night. The big question during the trial was
whether she would even be convicted given our broken criminal justice system
and the way it treats those situations. Now, she was
found guilty. And this week, she got a
10-year prison sentence. She might
get out in 5. There’s a debate to be had about whether
she deserved a much longer sentence — which I personally
agree with — or whether it should
have been even lighter. But after that sentencing
was announced, two things happened
relating to religion that I want to discuss. The first involved Botham’s
brother, Brandt Jean. He was allowed to speak and deliver
a statement after the sentencing. What he did
was truly remarkable. He said
he forgave her. He said he personally didn’t
want her to go to prison. He also said this. I want the
best for you, because I know that’s what–
That’s exactly what Botham would want you to do. And the best would be
give your life to Christ. It’s strange for an atheist
like me to hear that, as if accepting Christ would make
anything better for anyone, as if accepting this fiction of eternal
life would make up for the one she took. But if he hopes she finds
the Christian God in jail, then so be it. He can grieve however
he wants to grieve. I don’t think it makes sense for anyone
to criticize someone else for handling death in a way that allows
them to move on. So– So, that didn’t bother me. In fact, Brandt Jean asked if he could
hug the woman who killed his brother. The judge allowed it. That scene was replayed everywhere
because of how powerful it was. Please. Yes. Again, that sort
of forgiveness and grace is
in short supply. I don’t want to take anything
away from him for that, but here’s what I really
did have a problem with. After all of that, Judge Tammy Kemp also
went to console Guyger. And what she did
was absolutely inappropriate. She gave her
a Bible. She mentioned John 3:16 suggesting
that accepting the divinity of Jesus would strengthen her. The judge said Guyger needed
a “tiny mustard seed of faith” if she wanted
personal forgiveness. The judge said God
“has a purpose for you.” Now, the charitable
interpretation of that is that the judge was also
overcome with emotion and just wanted
to be a human and console a
convicted murderer who also appeared
to feel remorse. Had it just been a hug, maybe it’s okay.
I mean, it’s hard to remove your
personal feelings from a case even when your job
is to remain objective. But what the judge did
wasn’t compassionate. It was religious proselytizing under
the guise of being compassionate — as if the murderer’s acceptance of
the judge’s preferred brand of mythology
would somehow be a redeeming factor. The Bible doesn’t make you
a better person. Accepting Jesus doesn’t
make you wiser or more decent. Why was a judge telling a convicted
murderer that her task in jail would be to accept Christ? Why was she treating
faith as a virtue? Why was she giving Guyger a sermon?
Why was she giving away a Bible? Let’s go beyond that: Assuming Guyger’s not one already,
what happens if she does become a Christian? Does that make it more likely
she’ll get out of prison earlier? I mean, if she becomes
an atheist, will the judge treat that as a personal
insult and use it against Guyger? What if Guyger were Muslim
or non-religious? Or if the judge was
anything but Christian. I mean, can you imagine a Muslim judge
going to a convicted murderer and saying, “if you just read the Qur’an,
everything will be okay,” and the nation embracing
that as a wonderful thing? Of course not. That conversation would never be seen
as a sign of generosity and love, but as a completely
illegal request. If nothing else,
the message to Guyger is clear. Whatever you’re thinking over
the next 5 to 10 years, it is to your advantage to
at least pretend to be a Christian. That is a horrible message
to send anyone. Incidentally, the Freedom From
Religion Foundation has already asked the Texas State Commission
on Judicial Conduct to investigate what they’re
calling an ethics violation. And they’re right.
It is an abuse of power. That was not a beautiful
moment with the judge. That was disturbing. And it’s appalling that news outlets and
various websites are describing their interaction as anything
but that.

57 comments

  1. How can you mistake someone else's home for your own?
    .
    People find comfort in their own way.
    However the judge needs to resign.

  2. Well to me looked like they were religious people & bible teaches forgiveness so that’s the gift he wanted give her & so did the judge …. so there’s nothing wrong with that to me …

  3. This is how Christian like to get involved when someone has very low moment their life. Because, this is the moment Christian like to get comfort from and helping for victim i know that.

    But, they never though that when real depression suffering or nightmare hitting on you that god always never been there for you, no matter how hard you pray. There the sadness thing I'm ever felt and realistic that god unable to help you even in critical situations.

    About the forgiving, you didn't want take away from him? For me, i can easily forgiveness a person who really did nothing wrong and sent that person to jail for being unlucky. Everyone can do that for unfortunate event and feel sad.

  4. This is the problem with christians. They think they answer to a "higher" authority and think they are above the law when it suits them.

  5. She didn't "accidentally" walk into his apartment. It probably behooves prisoners to find Jesus before seeing a parole board. You can assume most members are Christian.

  6. Off course I subscribbed to this new channel of you. I'm from Norway but live in The Netherlands for quite long. My point of view as an atheist is pretty normal here. Not only bothers me to see the court system there is in the US of A … the constant references to god are truly extremely disturbing. Use of power displayed in this example is not helping my way of thinking about a majority of what is in fact a abuse towards the guilty woman. Truly terrible to see. Great example. Keep on doing the great work with your channel and constant respectful explanations with context and humanity. You rock. Love out.

  7. The moment that judge gave her a bible is the moment that separation of church and state got tossed out of the window

  8. She was able to refuse the bible and the advise. Amber is the only one who should care about what happened there. Or, if the judge does it with someone else and THEY have a grievance , then fine, but for you and others to care about it is petty. It was advice from compassionate people , regardless their religion. I know you would not know but many people convert to Islam in prison. To take away anything other than what this was on the surface, is just being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative.

  9. America sure is utterly alien to Europeans.
    It’s astonishing that so many still believe in the supernatural there. Absolutely incredible.

    That judge should be removed from the bench.

  10. The judge needs to be disbarred for her religious crap. Amber shot an unarmed man in his own apartment and only got ten years. All of this is complete bullshit.

  11. i respect your intelligence and integrity hemant, but why do you have to bring up the WHITE cop and the BLACK man at 0:24? why this have to be a race issue??? can't we assume other reason such as "love affair gone wrong" or "the killer was under the influence of illegal substance"? there are many possible reasons why she committed the crime

    you are right on the other aspect of this issue such as the religious bs being smeared upon. but i just dont get it as to why you have to bring up the "skin colors" on this issue. if the situation was reversed, you won't care about bringing up "the BLACK cop and the WHITE man/woman" on this matter

  12. I had jury duty last week. The judge came into the jurors assembly room and at the end of her talk she said, "I'm not supposed to say this because of the separation between church and state, but I'm going to say this anyway…God bless you all."

    So it's apparent that our legal superiors don't even follow the law.

  13. I like the distinction you make between the actions of the brother and the judge. This country really needs to understand why there's a difference there.

  14. someone needed to say all this regarding these events in the courtroom, and I doubt anyone could have made a more eloquent effort. Jean's brother can't be criticized for his statement. He had the right to say whatever he wanted to say to her, but the judge was wrong. Very, alarmingly wrong.

  15. To me it felt like the judge wanted to top the beautiful moment between Brant and Amber. I think she got caught up in it And should have left it with them hugging. But then she wanted that photo op too.

  16. That in a nutshell is Texas for ya. I really doubt that the state will do anything more than just warn the judge to be more careful in the future (don't do it when national news outlets are in the courtroom) that's generally what they do around here when attention gets called to church/state violations. Any non-bible belt state and she would be in trouble. I don't think the judge had malicious intent, people here in Texas truly think that doing stuff like that is the right thing. Doesn't make it any less wrong or illegal.

  17. Amber GuyGer asked if the jury can pick her sentence & not the judge. Mostly all the jury were black & they gave her ten yrs, she'll do probably half. She's already done 1 year.

  18. 👏 Welcome back, Hemant. It has been such a long time since we heard from you. Meanwhile, ‘Athiest News’ has done excellent service in revealing example after example of religious misbehaviour. Kind regards from your correspondent in 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England.

  19. I understand how a brainwashed 18 year old might spew out religious nonsense like "give your life to Christ", but I don't understand how a judge has not yet figured out that religion is bullshit.

  20. Yours is the first public comment I've seen on the judge's action. I was outraged about it. Thank you to the FFRF!!

  21. "He literally did nothing wrong that night." Interesting qualifier.
    That hug was pretty amazing though. I'm amazed at how he was able to forgive her so quickly.

  22. I just lost my parents in a wreck and, so many people assume I'm Christian- it's so insulting when they assume their beliefs

  23. Genuine forgiveness is one of the most beautiful thing, and rare. The reason why it’s rare is because the person giving it must do so out of their own volition and without influencés of 3rd parties, like religious obligations/expectations or judgments from the crowd. Christianity forces victims to forgive, which is never a good thing, and it takes away the meaning of it

  24. 18 seconds in..
    What makes you think and claim, she "accidentally walked into his home after work" ?
    Thats her claim, she also claimed she tried to help him, and that was a lie. 
    So, she is a liar, except for her claims she got lost?
    GTFOH

  25. When have you ever seen or heard about a judge talking nice nice with the convicted killer?
    Propaganda some more. 
    Hilariously frightening..

  26. Separation of Church and State fails in that moment. It is embarrassing that African Americans are still Christians.

  27. Glad you're back on YouTube even though I listen to you every week on your podcast and I listen to your podcast about the Pledge of Allegiance you are my favorite atheist I'm an atheist too you and a couple other people help me come to that decision thank you

  28. When having a Big Book of Magic Stuff shoved in her face, the murderer had every right to say 'f*** off' but probably would have been punished for it. There are very good reasons why personal beliefs should be kept away from courts and other official proceedings – maybe this judge, if not sacked, needs a refresher course on some basics.

  29. I agree the Judge was wrong in the separation of church and state sense, but I think you were wrong when you said her compassion was proselytizing "under the guise" of compassion. To many Christians proselytizing is compassion.

  30. Did you know that the very first slave ship was called the "Good Ship Jesus".
    Really,, look it up.

    "When the white man first came to this land, we had the land and they had the bible. They taught us to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them again, we had the bible and the white man had the land."
    ~unknown

  31. I fought my husband of forty one years over this one. He thought it was a gesture of humanity no. The brother of the victim was remarkable and good. The judge tried to upstage the brother. How condescending of the judge to go to her chamber's and get the bible a representation of evil personified slavery incest murder—ironic isn't it? to give to the prison with armed guards surrounding her. The prisoner is a captured audience. It was so wrong. Not appropriate. It is wrong for a judge to do this period. I am glad FFRF filed against the judge. Also I heard Andrew give his talk about the worrisome supreme court. I plan to order his book. We better start coming out of the closet as Atheists and speak our minds or we will end up in a theocracy.

  32. Oh my god this is such a joke. I don't see anybody in the atheist community bitching about the young dude on the stand mentioning his Christianity and telling her to seek God out before hugging this woman. He was sitting in a public federal facility talking about his faith but we don't have shit to say about that. And nor should we. Yet we have a problem with a judge giving a goddamn Bible to this woman in court? Somebody really needs to explain the selective fury many atheists have. A lot of us are just like feminists and SJWs…we go looking for shit to complain about.

    What is so offensive about giving a Bible to someone? Did she give it to you? You could refuse to accept it, you know that, right? This kind of shit makes atheists look bad, I'm sorry. If she told everyone in that room they needed to hear the scripture or pray with the suspect then I could see the problem. Don't gimme this Separation of Church and State shit. This is our favorite argument, and many times it's abused on our end as well. There is a radical everything, including atheism, and I can't stand this shit. Motherfuckers want to sue over the most mundane nonsense. If a judge giving a defendant a Bible — who didn't seem bothered by it — makes any of you feel "some type of way" then maybe YOU feel some type of way about God's existence. I will question if you're truly an atheist. Nothing wrong with believing; atheists change their minds. But if you're getting this worked up about somebody giving a Bible to someone else (which doesn't really concern you) who seems willing to take it, then maybe your conscience also believes in something.

  33. Didn't we separate the state and religion?  But, you made a good point, what about if the judge were a Muslim, what would happen? also, what about the killer (besides the horrible action she did) were an Athiest? I just want to add that religion played a huge role in the destruction of black communities in the US, and this judge is propagating the ugly stain Christianity has among black.

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