July 21, 2016
One June day in 1925, several men gathered around a table at a drug store in Dayton, Tennessee. The topic was the recent passage of the state's Butler Act. The strategy was to orchestrate a huge trial, bringing attention and money to the struggling little town. The result was a shift in the course of our country forever.
The ACLU advertised pro bono representation to anyone willing to challenge the Butler Act in a Tennessee paper. Dayton businessman, George Rappalyea, jumped at the opportunity. He quickly assembled a posse to produce a sensational trial.
A first year math teacher and coach was recruited. Having substituted for a biology teacher, John Scopes acknowledged evolution was already taught in schools as he produced the textbook being used. It was Christianity that was being excluded from the school curriculum. The Butler Act prevented both Darwinism and Creationism from being taught in one aspect only, the genesis of man. All other species could be taught as resulting from evolution. (see )
Scopes agreed to be the monkey in this courtroom circus. The result became known as the Scopes Monkey Trial.
At the June meeting, it was decided Scopes would be arrested by his friend Sue Hicks, Dayton’s City Attorney. Hicks would also be part of the prosecution team. So the prosecutor and the defendant, who were good friends, conspired together with local townspeople to conduct “The Trial of the Century.”
Most Americans familiar with this trial receive their information from a play turned movie in 1960. Inherit the Wind was loosely based on The Scopes Monkey Trial, but is viewed as a documentary. Names were changed, along with the vast majority of facts.
The movie depicts Scopes being overrun by furious clergy and fathers in his classroom. In reality, it's not even certain Scopes was in school on the day he supposedly committed his crime. He was peacefully “arrested” by Hicks elsewhere. Also, fathers from both sides of the issue not only backed the economy boosting court plan, some were in on it.
Contrary to the movie, Scopes was never jailed nor left unrepresented until the day before the trial. Scopes had a crack, high-profile, defense team including Clarence Darrow. Darrow had received recognition a year earlier after defending two teenage killers. He spared them from the death penalty by arguing the boys were brainwashed by teachers promoting evolution. He claimed it trained the boys their victim was inferior. A defense that was, in fact, the basis for and support of the Butler Act. Now Darrow was arguing for teachers to have the right to teach evolution. The media and the movie conveniently ignored this irony.
Darrow was not the ACLU's first choice. They did not like his sensationalism. They were concerned his objective was not congruent with theirs. Regardless, Darrow so believed in his ideology, it was the only case he ever performed for free.
William Jennings Bryan was part of the otherwise local prosecution team including Scopes’ friend Hicks. (see ) Three time Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson, Bryan was known for his Christian crusade against evolution. As a fundamentalist, Bryan did not deny that the earth could be millions of years old. He didn't even object to the evolutionary theory as a whole. What he specifically rejected was the promotion of humans coming from an inferior species. His whole purpose of being on the team was not to lead it, but to give a very anticipated closing argument.
In the early days of the hot July summer, Rappalyea’s plan became reality. Thousands, including media, descended upon the tiny town of Dayton. Vendors sold Bibles, food, stuffed monkeys and other memorabilia. There was even a live performing chimpanzee: the unofficial mascot of the trial.
While the movie characterizes the townspeople as bigoted, hate-filled, backwoods, Christians, members of both legal teams were vocally appreciative of their hospitality and genuine curiosity.
Inherit the Wind leads one to believe Scopes was assaulted in jail, his fiancée was harassed, and that the spectators were aggressive towards the defense. Since Scopes never went to jail nor had a fiancée, these rewrites are excused as "artistic license”. Such gross departures from reality are purposely there to distort the truth and garner sympathy and support for Scopes. Same with the court scenes where the spectators verbally attacked the defense on multiple occasions. As the transcript of the trials proves, for the most part the proceedings were far from contentious. The courtroom was often showered with laughter and applause for both sides. Members of both legal teams were complimentary of speeches given by the other.
Darrow wanted to call several science experts to the stand to present evolution theory. The ACLU was careful to choose Christian scientists. When Bryan demanded cross-examination privileges, the judge declared the trial was not about the validity of evolution. It was whether Scopes broke the law. Darrow now agreed with the judge, knowing if the prosecution questioned the scientists, these "Christian" scientists who not only didn't believe in Creation, would be exposed as not believing in any of the miracles of the Bible. After some heated discussion, the judge allowed written statements to be read into the transcript.
In a surprise move, Darrow called Bryan to the stand. The movie changed, added, and even made up questions and answers. The exchange is portrayed as a win for Darrow, reducing Bryan to a babbling idiot. In reality, Bryan, known as one of the greatest orators of the time, displayed his gift once again in his testimony. He was not flustered at any point.
After two weeks of witnesses, in an unprecedented but legal move, Darrow confessed Scopes did break the law. He asked the judge to find him guilty, as a guilty verdict was needed for an appeal to the state Supreme Court. The judge and jury obliged after about a 10-minute deliberation on July 21, 1925. Because of this request, Darrow denied Bryan his very important speech. One sure to do harm to the evolutionary argument.
Scopes later admitted to esteemed reporter, William K. Hutchinson, “I didn’t violate the law…I never taught that evolution lesson. Those kids they put on the stand couldn’t remember what I taught them three months ago. They were coached by the lawyers.”
Liberty, this is how progressives have been rewriting history since Woodrow Wilson's support of the progressive propaganda movie, The Birth of a Nation. (see ) It included quotes from Wilson’s book History of the American People and was the first motion picture shown in the White House.
Too many people these days get their history lessons from movies and TV. With the same progressive liberalism infecting our schools, media, and government, our history is easily being rewritten without any threat of pushback. Hollywood is attacking religion again with their big budget narratives of Noah and Moses. (see ) Media discusses these movies, shocked these men would act as they did in the movies. A quick look at even a children’s Bible would have disproven both of these fantastic works of fiction. The media won’t do the research as they want to believe the lie. It's the only way they can continue their assault on Christianity with a clean conscience.
True documentaries are not even safe. Michael Moore admits he uses propaganda to further his agenda. Progressives still worship Fahrenheit 911 even though it has all been discredited. Same with The Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore. (see ) His predictions would have us dead right now and the world under water.
So forgive me if I have a skepticism of Hollywood elites such as Michael Moore, Sean Penn, George Clooney, or Susan Sarandon, and their unsolicited history lessons. Let us not forget, their profession is in make believe. (see )
The Scopes Trial boiled down to this Thomas Jefferson statement: "To compel a man to furnish funds for a propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."
According to his autobiography The Memoirs of William Jennings Bryan, Bryan's objectives were "First, to establish the right of taxpayers to control what is taught in their schools. Second, to draw a line between the teaching of evolution as fact and teaching it as a theory."
On the other hand, Darrow declared at the trial, "We have the purpose of preventing bigots and ignoramuses from controlling the education of the United States." And so shows the true tolerance, equality, and bigotry of the progressive movement filled with evolution, eugenics and socialism. (see ) Darrow believes the elites have the right and obligation to take money from parents, deny them all access to their children's education, and in return fill their minds with their own political ideology. So much for the .
The most ironic connection between the movie and reality came near the end of Darrow’s examination of Bryan in the movie. He shouted, "Supposing Mr. 'Scopes' had the influence and the lung power to railroad through the State legislature a law saying that only Darwin could be taught in the schools!"
Bryan shot back, "Ridiculous! Ridiculous!"
I'm not sure if this exchange was a wish or a warning. Regardless, it is our reality as Creationism is strictly forbidden in today's public schools and Darwinism is the only accepted "science".
Liberty, as Ronald Reagan once said, “Trust, but verify.” Satan is working every second of the day to cause you to ask, “Did God really say that?” (see ) You cannot take anyone’s word, not even mine. These letters are to whet your appetite. Take them and confirm the truth for yourself. Then teach everyone you can.
“The truth shall set you free!” (see )
That’s my 2 cents.
INHERIT THE TRUTH