Abuse of judicial power for Jesus: Judge Tammy Kemp promotes Christianity in the courtroom, gives convicted murderer Amber Guyger a Bible and instructions on being a Christian.
In a despicable display of inappropriate judicial conduct in the name of Christian privilege, Judge Tammy Kemp put her religious superstition before her duty as an officer of the court, and used her powerful position as judge to promote her Christian faith.
Immediately after sentencing former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger to only ten years in prison for the reckless and senseless murderer of Botham Jean, Judge Tammy Kemp came down from the bench to hug Guyger, give her a Bible, and give her instructions on being a Christian.
Handing Guyger a Bible, Judge Kemp said:
You can have mine. I have three or four more at home. This is the one I use everyday. This is your job for the next month. Right here. John: 3:16. And this is where you start, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Judge Kemp continued:
He has a purpose for you. This will strengthen you. You just need a tiny mustard seed of faith. You start with this.
Judge Kemp then hugged Guyger and said to her:
It’s not because I’m good. It’s because I believe in Christ. I’m not so good. You haven’t done as much as you think you have, and you can be forgiven. You did something bad in one moment in time. What you do now matters.
Watch the exchange below:
That’s right. After sentencing Guyger Judge Kemp not only hugged the murderer, she also gave her a Bible and religious instruction, directing her to read John 3:16. The behavior is wildly inappropriate, and a clear violation of the separation of church and state.
In response to the wildly inappropriate and coercive behavior, The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has filed a complaint with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct noting that Judge Kemp “inappropriately proselytized to the defendant.”
In a letter to the commission FFRF Co-Presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker note that Judge Kemp’s behavior violated “the constitutional separation between state and church”:
It violates the constitutional separation between state and church for a sitting judge to promote personal religious beliefs while acting in her official capacity. She was in a government courtroom, dressed in a judicial robe, with all of the imprimatur of the state, including armed law enforcement officers, preaching to someone who was quite literally a captive audience. Delivering bibles, bible studies and personal witness as a judge is an abuse of power.
We believe that our criminal justice system needs more compassion from judges and prosecutors, 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.
Bottom line: In a clear violation of the separation of church and state, Judge Tammy Kemp promoted Christianity in her courtroom by giving convicted murderer Amber Guyger a Bible and instructions on being a Christian.