Network Morning Shows Hide Explicit Christian Message in Astonishing Act of Forgiveness

Listen to the Article!

The brother of a murder victim shocked a courtroom on Wednesday as he offered an overtly religious act of forgiveness, urging the killer to turn to Jesus Christ. But you wouldn’t know that from the network morning show coverage on Thursday. Today, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning skipped the appeal to faith, instead portraying it as more generalized forgiveness. Later in the day, View co-host Joy Behar rejected the call to grace and instead insisted, “I think to hold onto the rage gives you strength.” 

Amber Guyger shot Botham Jean in 2018 when she accidentally entered his apartment, thinking it was her own. After her conviction for murder, Brandt Jean, the brother, took the stand and told Guyger this: “I want the best for you because I know that's exactly what Botham would want for you. Give your life to Christ. I think giving your life to Christ is the best thing Botham would want for you.” The 18-year-old then got up and hugged Guyger. 

Yet, NBC’s Today only allowed a scant 3 seconds of Jean actually speaking. CBS This Morning managed just 4. ABC’s Good Morning America allowed 47 seconds, but not the part where he mentioned Christ. Today-co-host Hoda Kotb offered this confusing allusion to the religious part of the statement: “Just listening to that brother and he talked about, you know, 'This is what my brother would have wanted for you to, you know, give your life.'” 

Give your life... to what? She didn’t say.

 

 

Today reporter Gabe Gutierrez was stunned, explaining, “It was a shocking conclusion to a tense and often emotional trial.... Many others, including me, had never seen anything like it.” But considering that this all came from a place of faith, telling viewers that would have added some context. 

Good Morning America played the most amount of Jean’s remarks, but steered clear of his overt Christian appeal to his brother’s killer: 

I’m speaking for myself. Not even for my family. But I love you just like anyone else. And I'm not going to say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did but I, I, I personally want the best for you and I wasn't going to say this in front of my family or anyone but I don't even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you. Because I know —  that's exactly what Botham would want you to do. 

ABC cut the video right before the mention of Jesus.

In the 8am hour, reporter Marcus Moore noted the religiosity of the murdered man: “This is a guy who was very active in his church and everyone we've spoken with who knew Botham said that he was the kindest person they had ever met.” 

On The View, Behar rejected Jean’s act of forgiveness, comparing the killing to the Holocaust: 

 

 

To me, there are some crimes that are so heinous , that they are unforgivable. I'll give you a typical one, of course, is the Holocaust that happened in the 20th century in Europe.... I think to hold onto the rage gives you strength also. I'm not so sure you have to forgive so quickly.

Co-host Whoopi Goldberg, however, disagreed and, unlike the morning shows, marveled at Jean’s Christian forgiveness: 

You know, sometimes it hits you... That's a Christian. That is a Christian. Because how many people call themselves that, and will allow things to go on. But here's this kid who's lost his brother. He says, “I don't want you to rot in hell. I'm not -- I want your life to be good. I want you to have a good life. My brother's not, but I want you to have a good life, and I forgive you and can I give her a hug?” 

Transcripts are below. Click “expand” to read more. 

Good Morning America
10/3/19
7:03

ROBIN ROBERTS: We have that reaction overnight to the sentencing of Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer convicted of murdering her neighbor, Botham Jean, and this powerful, powerful moment. His brother, 18 years old, hugs her asking the judge if he could hug her. 

MICHAEL STRAHAN: Very powerful, indeed. Guyger, she was sentenced to ten years in prison. That sentence also sparking some tense protests overnight. Marcus Moore is there in Dallas and he's going to start us off with the latest. Good morning, Marcus. 

MARCUS MOORE: Well, Michael, good morning. Amber guyger is just beginning that ten-year prison sentence here in Texas. That punishment handed down in a dramatic court hearing. Moments after the controversial sentencing —  

JUDGE TAMMY KEMP: The defendant's punishment at ten years imprisonment -- 

MOORE: Botham Jean's younger brother Brandt stunned the courtroom with this moment of strength and grace.  

BRANDT JEAN: I’m speaking for myself. Not even for my family. But I love you just like anyone else. And I'm not going to say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did but I, I, I personally want the best for you and I wasn't going to say this in front of my family or anyone but I don't even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you. Because I know —  that's exactly what Botham would want you to do. 

MOORE: Judge Tammy Kemp in tears as he turned to her with an unusual request. 

JEAN: Can I give her a hug, please? Please. 

MOORE: Moments later, the judge handing a Bible to Guyger speaking with her imploring her to change.

...

MOORE: This is a guy who was very active in his church and everyone we've spoken with who knew Botham said that he was the kindest person they had ever met, a passionate person who really wanted to do good in the world and what we saw yesterday in that courtroom was Botham, Botham Jean. 


CBS This Morning
10/3/19
7:05

ANTHONY MASON: The murder trial stemming from a controversial police shooting in Dallas ended in a dramatic gesture of forgiveness. Courtroom video captured this emotional moment when the brother of Botham Jean, the victim, hugged former police officer Amber Guyger. Guyger was sentenced to ten years in prison for murdering Jean. She could have received up to 99 years. Outside protesters called the sentence too lenient. Omar Villafranca was the first network correspondent to sit down with Botham Jean's mother after the sentencing. Omar, what did she have to say? 

OMAR VILLAFRANCA: Alson Jean told me she not only blames Amber Guyger for the murder of her son but is pointing her fingers at the Dallas police department and the Texas rangers who led the investigation. She's also talking about that moment in court when her youngest son hugged Botham's killer. 

ALLISON JEAN: What he did today was remarkable. And he did it all on his own. 

VILLAFRANCA: The mother of Botham Jean says she was surprised by the moment her 18-year-old son Brandt offered eness this brs killer, amber guyger. 

BRANDT JEAN: I don't know if this is possible, but -- can I give a hug, please? 

VILLAFRANCA: The young man just wanted to say something after the sentencing hearing. Then Brandt and Guyger hugged while Guyger sobbed.  

...

VILLAFRANCA: We want to show something else that happened in court that was pretty unusual. Judge Tammy Kemp hugged the Jean family, then also walked over and hugged Guyger and gave her a Bible before she was led away.


Today
10/03/19
7:03

HODA KOTB: Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to ten years in prison yesterday for killing her unarmed neighbor in his own apartment, but it's what the victim's younger brother did during her sentencing that's stunned everyone involved. NBC's Gabe Gutierrez joins us now from Dallas. Hey, Gabe, good morning 

GABE GUTIERREZ: Hoda, good morning. It was a shocking conclusion to a tense and often emotional trial. The younger brother of Botham Jean forgiving his brother's killer in opening court and asking the judge to hug her. Many others, including me, had never seen anything like it. 

BRANDT JEAN: I love you as a person. 

GUTIERREZ: The timid request was entirely unexpected. 

JEAN: I don't know if it's possible, but can I give her a hug, please? 

TAMMY KEMP: Yes. 

JEAN: 18-year-old Brandt Jean shocking the courtroom by leaving the stand during his victim impact statement for a most unlikely embrace. Amber Guyger wept as she hugged the younger brother of the man she shot and killed. A jury had just sentenced the former Dallas officer to ten years in prison for murdering Botham Jean, an unarmed neighbor she had mistaken for a burgler when she accidentally entered the wrong apartment in September. As for this hug, had you ever seen anything like that before? 

TOBY SHOOK (Ambwer Guyger’s defense): Never. 

GUTIERREZ: Even Guyger's defense team was floored. 

SHOOK: I think he showed with his grace and forgiveness how we should heal, and I hope that people that were upset by the verdict will follow his example. 

GUTIERREZ: The judge so moved she also hugged guyger and gave her her personal Bible.

...

KOTB:  Gabe, thank you so much. Just listening to that brother and he talked about, you know, this is what my brother would have wanted for you to, you know, give your life.   


The View
10/3/19
11:15 AM ET 

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: You know, sometimes it hits you. You think, now that's —  that's Christian. That's —  that is a Christian because how many people call themselves that, and will allow things to go on. But here's this kid who's lost his brother. He says, “I don't want you to rot in hell. I'm not -- I want your life to be good. I want you to have a good life. My brother's not, but I want you to have a good life, and I forgive you and can I give her a hug?” 

...

JOY BEHAR: Are there any examples of white people hugging black guys who have murdered somebody? Have we seen that? 

...

BEHAR: To me, there are some crimes that are so heinous , that they are unforgivable. I'll give you a typical one of course, is the Holocaust that happened in the 20th century in Europe.... I think to hold onto the rage gives you strength also. I'm not so sure you have to forgive so quickly.  

 

NB Daily Religion Christianity ABC Good Morning America The View CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Hoda Kotb
Scott Whitlock's picture


Sponsored Links