Skip to comments.God vs. Evolution in U.S. Public Schools - William Jennings Bryan in 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial
Posted on 02/18/2018 12:17:33 PM PST by GoldenState_Rose
Religion is not hostile to learning; Christianity has been the greatest patron learning has ever had. But Christians know that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" now just as it has been in the past, and they therefore oppose the teaching of guesses that encourage godlessness among the students.
Do bad doctrines corrupt the morals of students? We have a case, Mr. Darrow, one of the most distinguished criminal lawyers in our land, was engaged about a year ago in defending two rich men's sons who were on trial for as dastardly a murder as was ever committed. The older one, "Babe" Leopold, was a brilliant student, 19 years old. He was an evolutionist and an atheist. He was also a follower of Nietzsche, whose books he had devoured and whose philosophy he had adopted. Mr. Darrow made a plea for him, based upon the influence that Nietzsche's philosophy had exerted upon the boy's mind.
Christians desire that their children shall be taught all the sciences, but they do not want them to lose sight of the Rock of Ages while they study the age of the rocks; neither do they desire them to become so absorbed in measuring the distance between the stars that they will forget Him who holds the stars in His hand.
It is for the jury to determine whether this attack upon the Christian religion shall be permitted in the public schools of Tennessee by teachers employed by the State and paid out of the public treasury. This case is no longer local: the defendant ceases to play an important part. The case has assumed the proportions of a battle royal between unbelief that attempts to speak through so-called science and the defenders of the Christian faith.
(Excerpt) Read more at 5.csudh.edu ...
"Loeb knew nothing of evolution or Nietzsche. It is probable he never heard of either. Leopold did, it is true, and had read Nietzsche. But because Leopold had read Nietzsche, does that prove that this philosophy or education was responsible for the act of two crazy boys?
1919 - George W. Hunter publishes Civic Biology, a textbook designed for high school biology students. The book contains a section on evolution. The book will be adopted by Tennessee and assigned as reading in the classroom of John Scopes.
1922 - William Jennings Bryan, William B. Riley, John R. Straton, T. T. Martin (and other religious leaders) began a campaign for legislation that will ban the teaching of evolution in public schools.
January 21, 1925 - John Washington Butler introduces a bill in the Tennessee House of Representatives to ban the teaching of evolution in the public schools. The bill will later become the Butler Act, and will be the basis for the prosecution of John Scopes.
April 21, 1925 - Scopes discusses with his biology students the section on evolution in Hunter's Civic Biology, according to the later testimony of Superintendent Walter White. (A student, in his testimony, puts the date as "about the middle of April." The original indictment identifies the date of his teaching evolution as "the 24th day of April.")
May 3, 1925 - The ACLU discusses the Tennessee anti-evolution act at a board meeting in New York. The board decides to issue a press announcement that it stood willing to support any teacher that challenged the law's constitutionality.
Early June, 1925 - John Scopes and his first attorney, John R. Neal, travel to New York to meet with ACLU officials about the upcoming trial. Scopes states his preference for being represented by Clarence Darrow and Dudley Field Malone. The ACLU reluctantly agrees to Scopes's choice of lawyers.
July 7, 1925 - William Jennings Bryan arrives in Dayton by train from Florida. That evening, the Progressive Club of Dayton holds a banquet in his honor at the Hotel Aqua. Sitting with Bryan at the main table is John Scopes. At the banquet, Bryan declares, "If evolution wins, Christianity goes!"
Oh the folks in Tennessee are as faithful as can be,
And they know the Bible teaches what is right.
They believe in God above and his great undying love,
And they know they are protected by his might.
You may find the new belief, it will only bring you grief,
For a house that's built on sand is sure to fall.
And wherever you will turn, there's a lesson you will learn:
That the old religion's better, after all.
Then to Dayton came a man with his new ideas so grand,
And he said, "we came from monkeys long ago."
But in teaching his belief, Mr. Scopes found only grief,
For they would not let their old religion go.
Then the folks throughout the land saw his house was built on sand,
And they said, "we will not listen anymore."
So they told him he was wrong and it was not very long
that he found that he was barred from every door.
Oh you must not doubt the word that is written by the Lord,
For if you do, your house will surely fall.
And Mr. Scopes will learn that wherever he may turn,
The old religion's better, after all.
Bring God back to our school curriculum *Ping*
“But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.”
And Darrow replied, "His honor is entitled to hope."
As for Leopold and Loeb ...
Leopold and Loeb, a 1920s 'Crime of the Century', featured Clarence Darrow and the introduction of 'mental illness' as a defense instead of insanity. The two murdering defendants were from wealthy families and killed a boy on a lark. They both went to prison, where one was killed, and the other got out after 33 years incarceration. A Columbo episode looks to have been based on this case. FReeper moehoward points out that Alfred Hitchcock's The Rope was similarly based"
There is also the witty live reporting from the trial by H.L. Mencken:
In front of several thousand spectators in the open air, Darrow changed his tactics and as his sole witness called Bryan in an attempt to discredit his literal interpretation of the Bible. In a searching examination, Bryan was subjected to severe ridicule and forced to make ignorant and contradictory statements to the amusement of the crowd. On July 21, in his closing speech, Darrow asked the jury to return a verdict of guilty in order that the case might be appealed. Under Tennessee law, Bryan was thereby denied the opportunity to deliver the closing speech he had been preparing for weeks.
The most interesting facts about Loeb and Leopold is not that they were very young and very rich. Instead they were remarkable success stories in the world of advanced prestigious education. As Paul Sann put it, “They were Phi Beta Kappa all the way” setting records for early graduations.
Yet their education left them moral degenerates. That was Bryan’s point. Their brilliant minds bereft of God and patriotism left them pitiful figures awaiting the judgement of an Earthly court.
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