Texas judge’s gift of Bible to Amber Guyger draws complaint from atheist group

Nov 2008
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An atheist group that has counted Ron Reagan Jr. among its members says it was inappropriate for a judge to give a Bible to Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who convicted this week of murdering a neighbor last year.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) – the atheist group for which the 61-year-old son of former President Ronald Reagan has appeared in television ads – filed a formal complaint Thursday with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, FOX 4 of Dallas-Fort Worth reported.

The Wisconsin-based group objected to Judge Tammy Kemp giving one of her Bibles to Guyger after the former officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday for the shooting death of Botham Jean, a 26-year-old accountant.

“You just need a tiny mustard seed of faith,” Kemp said to a tearful Guyger, handing the Bible to her before the convicted former officer left the courtroom. “You start with this.”

But in a letter Thursday to the Texas commission, the atheist group objected to what it termed the judge’s “proselytizing actions,” saying they “overstepped judicial authority,” and were “inappropriate” and “unconstitutional.”

“It is perfectly acceptable for private citizens to express their religious beliefs in court,” the letter states later, “but the rules are different for those acting in a governmental role.”Texas judge’s gift of Bible to Amber Guyger draws complaint from atheist group

Its not ok for a judge to give a Bible to a person in the courtroom, but its ok for a federal prison to give a Bible to one of its prisoners. What’s the difference? Do we want to reform prisoners or not, that’s all this judge was doing. Should the Judge be taken off the court, if so should Federal prisons not have Bibles since the FFRF is making the case of Separation of Church and State?
 
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Dec 2018
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An atheist group that has counted Ron Reagan Jr. among its members says it was inappropriate for a judge to give a Bible to Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who convicted this week of murdering a neighbor last year.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) – the atheist group for which the 61-year-old son of former President Ronald Reagan has appeared in television ads – filed a formal complaint Thursday with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, FOX 4 of Dallas-Fort Worth reported.

The Wisconsin-based group objected to Judge Tammy Kemp giving one of her Bibles to Guyger after the former officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday for the shooting death of Botham Jean, a 26-year-old accountant.

“You just need a tiny mustard seed of faith,” Kemp said to a tearful Guyger, handing the Bible to her before the convicted former officer left the courtroom. “You start with this.”

But in a letter Thursday to the Texas commission, the atheist group objected to what it termed the judge’s “proselytizing actions,” saying they “overstepped judicial authority,” and were “inappropriate” and “unconstitutional.”

“It is perfectly acceptable for private citizens to express their religious beliefs in court,” the letter states later, “but the rules are different for those acting in a governmental role.”Texas judge’s gift of Bible to Amber Guyger draws complaint from atheist group

Its not ok for a judge to give a Bible to a person in the courtroom, but its ok for a federal prison to give a Bible to one of its prisoners. What’s the difference? Do we want to reform prisoners or not, that’s all this judge was doing. Should the Judge be taken off the court, if so should Federal prisons not have Bibles since the FFRF is making the case of Separation of Church and State?
The trial was over. While I understand the group's concern, I think this is overblown since I saw no coercion.

The organization admits that it does not know whether or not Guyger is Christian, but claims that “the gesture would still have been inappropriate and unconstitutional because Judge Kemp was acting in her official governmental capacity.” Referencing the Establishment Clause, Don Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, the co-presidents of the group who penned the letter, explain that “it violates a vital constitutional principle for a sitting judge to promote personal religious beliefs while acting in her official capacity.” ...

....“We understand that it was an emotional moment, particularly when the victim’s brother, Brandt Jean, publicly forgave and hugged Guyger,” Freedom from Religion’s letter reads. “ . . . But here, compassion crossed the line into coercion. And there can be few relationships more coercive than a sentencing judge in a criminal trial and a citizen accused and convicted of a crime.”
 
Nov 2008
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What would an Atheist do in this situation is my question? This was clearly an accident but it doesn’t excuse the crime. Would they have compassion?


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Nov 2008
64,818
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Washington state
The trial was over. While I understand the group's concern, I think this is overblown since I saw no coercion.

The organization admits that it does not know whether or not Guyger is Christian, but claims that “the gesture would still have been inappropriate and unconstitutional because Judge Kemp was acting in her official governmental capacity.” Referencing the Establishment Clause, Don Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, the co-presidents of the group who penned the letter, explain that “it violates a vital constitutional principle for a sitting judge to promote personal religious beliefs while acting in her official capacity.” ...

....“We understand that it was an emotional moment, particularly when the victim’s brother, Brandt Jean, publicly forgave and hugged Guyger,” Freedom from Religion’s letter reads. “ . . . But here, compassion crossed the line into coercion. And there can be few relationships more coercive than a sentencing judge in a criminal trial and a citizen accused and convicted of a crime.”
The big question here is this, should a Christian judge be required by law to hold back their compassion and control their religious beliefs?


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Dec 2018
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The big question here is this, should a Christian judge be required by law to hold back their compassion and control their religious beliefs?


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If you mean like having the Ten Commandments on the wall behind their head or waving the Bible as they are making a ruling, then yes.

If they know a person is a Christian and, after sentencing, give them some compassion and assurance such as "this too shall pass", then no.
 
Nov 2008
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If you mean like having the Ten Commandments on the wall behind their head or waving the Bible as they are making a ruling, then yes.

If they know a person is a Christian and, after sentencing, give them some compassion and assurance such as "this too shall pass", then no.
What about this instance? Was she out of line showing compassion to this woman by giving her a Bible?


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What about this instance? Was she out of line showing compassion to this woman by giving her a Bible?


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Not in my opinion, but this is America; land of the free and home of the brave. People are free to applaud or bitch about it and the US government can't, and shouldn't, be allowed to say a fucking word about it.

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