Religion is the driving force for good


Dalton Counts | @DaltonCounts11, Staff Columnist

Brandt Jean sat in the courtroom with the opportunity to condemn the woman who wrecked his family. His brother’s murderer, Amber Guyger, was sitting below him waiting to hear how terrible of a human she was. She was waiting for Brandt to tell her he was glad she was going to rot in prison. This is what was supposed to happen, and honestly maybe it should have, but this young man showed the world that he was more than that. Instead of taking this opportunity to unleash his wrath, Brandt gave a chilling forgiveness speech that broke the internet. 

Thousands shared his message last week because of how unexpected it was. Jean stated that he knew she had heard how much she had taken from his family, so telling her for the hundredth time was futile. He urged her to “go to God with the guilt.” He looked her in the eye and said that God will forgive her if she went to him and asked him. “If you truly are sorry, I can speak for myself, I forgive you,” he said as his voice quivered. The most chilling part of the video is the end where he asks the judge if he can give Guyger a hug. The judge allowed it, and I personally had chills watching a young man embrace his brother’s distraught murderer. After this, Judge Tammy Kemp gifted Guyger with a Bible. 

Somehow, this story has become polarizing based solely on its emphasis of Christian beliefs. The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a complaint on Kemp for gifting the “Christian Bible” to Guyger. In their official letter to the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the FFRF recounts the Judge’s actions in a negative context. In their letter, they quote Kemp and her plea for Guyger to start in John 3:16, a verse fundamental in a Christian’s life. It is incredible that these people can neglect Brandt Jean’s testimony and file a complaint obviously meant to belittle a powerful moment that can unite this country. 

We are turning away from the sole thing that can make us better: religion. In particular, we are forgetting that Christianity is the main source behind good. The majority of people who watched the video from last week would agree that it was “good.” Who can refute the forgiveness of an 18-year-old who should have been bitter? Jean’s testimony last week was driven by his faith in God. Because so many Christians are hypocritical, the basic core values of the religion are forgotten. The majority try to forgive, try to relate to those who are different from them and try to love one another. If we let the Freedom From Religion Foundation win, what do we lose as a society?

Religion drives people to be better than who they are. The idea that there is something after this world fuels people to do good. This makes for a better society, a better America and a better world. Atheism does nothing to inspire those to morally improve. In fact, the belief that there is no God can hurt society, because why would you even want to be kind to someone else? Why would Brandt Jean forgive the woman who took away his brother? Finally, what truly stops Amber Guyger from taking the life of Botham Jean? No religion means no foundation of right and wrong. Divinity is important, and our society is allowing people to neglect its relevance. People who follow a religion are accepting the fact that there is a reason to do good on earth. We must allow them to do so.