Most everyone has seen the video of Brandt Jean’s impact statement following the sentencing of the police officer who shot and killed his brother. I’ve watched it twice today. The second time I cried like a baby.
There are many problems associated with religion, religious doctrine, religious dogma, religious righteousness. Wars are fought based on religious beliefs. Woman are maimed. Gays are ostracized. Victims are damned. Children are abused. All in the name of God, Allah, Yahweh, Jesus, Jehovah, Mohammed, El-Shaddai, etc. The fervent belief in our own beliefs leads us to condemn, to resent, to forcibly change others. Our faith can twist beauty into horror, love into hate, family into enemy. It lends itself to justification of war, excuse for hate, reason for murder.
But today, in that court in Texas, Brandt Jean took his faith and used it not to condemn and chastise, not to justify or placate, but rather he used it to spread love, recognize the failings not only of humanity but of himself. He used it to reach across the massive divide we see every day in this country and across the world. A hug. Forgiveness. Jean’s sincere wish to one who took so much will, God-willing, send a ripple that will spread beyond one small courtroom in Texas.