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Atheist Group Files Complaint About Texas Judge's Bible Gift, Hug to Convicted Murderer

10-03-2019
State District Judge Tammy Kemp opens a Bible to John 3:16 before giving it to former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, left, before Guyger left for jail, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in Dallas. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)
State District Judge Tammy Kemp opens a Bible to John 3:16 before giving it to former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, left, before Guyger left for jail, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in Dallas. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)

A brother's forgiveness to his brother's killer was in the spotlight Wednesday as the pair embraced in front of a Dallas, Texas courtroom. 

Brandt Jean, the brother of Botham Jean, asked during his witness impact statement if he could hug former Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger. The judge granted his request and the pair hugged each other in a moment of forgiveness that was seen around the world.  

State District Judge Tammy Kemp also gave Guyger a Bible. She read the New Testament's John 3:16 to her: 

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." 

The judge also also hugged her before Guyger was led out of the courtroom.

On Thursday, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed a complaint against Kemp with the Lone Star State government agency who looks into allegations of judicial misconduct, according to the New York Times

The atheist organization headquartered in Madison, Wisc., believes the judge crossed an ethical line after she sentenced Guyger to 10 years in prison. 

Guyger, who is white, was sentenced for shooting and killing Jean, a black man, in his apartment, which she claimed she mistook for her apartment. 

Some activists have also criticized Kemp, who is black, saying they wondered if a black defendant would have received the same treatment from the judge. 

Kemp did not respond to any requests for comment. However, her former boss, ex-Dallas prosecutor Craig Watkins, told the newspaper Kemp is guided by faith and that he doesn't think her actions were out of bounds.

In response to the FFRF's complaint, Hiram Sasser, general counsel for the First Liberty Institute said in a statement, "FFRF is protesting Judge Kemp rather than joining the rest of the nation celebrating the compassion and mercy Judge Kemp demonstrated. We should all be thankful the law allows Judge Kemp's actions and we stand with her and will gladly lead the charge in defending her noble and legal actions."

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