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Statue in Scopes Monkey trial town enrages Christian zealots

Statue in Scopes Monkey trial town enrages Christian zealots

Inherit the Wind, the highly-acclaimed fictionalised account of the infamous 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, chillingly portrayed the folk of a small Tennessee town as pig-ignorant Christian hicks.

Stanley Kramer’s 1960 movie showed fanatics taking to the streets to demand the jailing of a high school substitute teacher who refused to fill his pupils’ heads with biblical crap about creation, and instead taught evolution.

Today, 92 years after the trial of John T Scopes, Dayton, Tennessee, is still full of Christian fundamentalists. Now they have begun kicking off over the planned erection in the town of a statue of Clarence Darrow, the lawyer who defended Scopes.

The picture above shows Christian foghorn June Griffin, 78, right, who is leading a campaign against the statue.

According to this report, officials recently approved the placing of Darrow’s statue on the front lawn of the the Rhea County Courthouse, but locals are putting up a fight.

Griffin said she’s one of many taking a stand against the statue. She insists the lawyer’s ideas about evolution go against everything she and others who live in the tight-knit community believe.

All history proves the existence of God, and evolution is a joke for any thinking person. This is a very serious matter, the courthouse is a sacred place, you don’t turn it into a theatre.

The town celebrates the county’s courtroom history with a Scopes Play and Festival each year. Inside the historic courthouse basement, you’ll find rooms full of artifacts and documents detailing the controversial trial. There’s already a statue outside of the prosecutor in the case, William Jennings Bryan.

The county’s historical society approved the installment of Darrow’s statue, saying it’s about preserving history and nothing more.

Said Ralph Green, President of Rhea Country Historical Society.

Well it’s just a recognition of these two men who were giants in their profession and the part that they contributed to making the Scopes trial what it was. It would not have been the same thing without either of them.

Many residents are upset because there was never an official vote. Said Griffin:

Well I know, God is real and he’s not pleased with this. You can come in here with all kinds of French opinions of this, that and the other but this is not France and we don’t run on opinions and an atheist is not on an equal footing with the Christian.

She says she and others will continue to stand up for their beliefs.

You (commissioners) have betrayed the people of this county, you have betrayed them.

She ominously suggested that people may deface the statue with spray paint.

Pennsylvania artist Zenos Frudakis, above, hopes his statue will bring more balance to a divided story line in Dayton. Frudakis says he is surprised to see this kind of opposition in 2017, but he believes Darrow’s story is just as important as Bryan’s and should be portrayed equally.

The statue is scheduled to be put in place July 14 just in time for this year’s  Scopes Trial Play and Festival to begin. There’s also a rally and protest planned at the courthouse on July, 1 at 10 am.

County Mayor George Thacker says the County Commission ultimately let the Rhea County Historic Society make the decision, because it did not require a vote. He said the William Jennings Bryan statue was not voted on either when it was installed several years ago.

In addition, county officials say they hope to eventually turn the old courthouse into a full museum in an effort to boost local tourism.

It was in that court that Scopes was convicted, but the decision was later reversed on a legal technicality.

Writing about Inherit the Wind in 2006, top US film critic Rogert Ebert – alas no long with us; he died in 2013  – said:

I wonder if a film made today would have the nerve to question fundamentalism as bluntly as the [Spencer] Tracy character does … arguing that ‘fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding’. When he is asked if he finds anything holy, he replies, ‘The individual human mind. In a child’s ability to master the multiplication table, there is more holiness than all your shouted hosannas and holy of holies’.

• The photo of the deranged Griffin, protesting against Obama Care, was sourced here.

31 responses to “Statue in Scopes Monkey trial town enrages Christian zealots”

  1. Laura Roberts says:

    “You can come in here with all kinds of French opinions of this, that and the other but this is not France”

    Odd little hallucinatory episode there. Deranged is indeed an apt term.

  2. andym says:

    “and an atheist is not on an equal footing with the Christian.”

    Not totally deranged,then. That still seems to be true in the Good Ole US of A.

  3. Club Secretary says:

    @Laura Roberts says
    “Deranged is indeed an apt term”

    As is “pig-ignorant Christian hicks”, far better than “christian fundamentalist”

  4. remigius says:

    This post about the Scopes trial ties in nicely with the previous post about Stephen Fry’s blasphemy case. It is likely that Fry’s complainant was not some outraged Christian – rather someone who wanted to highlight the absurdity in the law.

    The same is true of the Scopes trial.

    The original prosecutor, a chap named Sue Hicks, was a good friend of the teacher John Scopes. Scopes had never taught evolution (cos it was illegal!), but falsely claimed he did so in order to have himself prosecuted.

    Once the charges had been filed by Hicks, Tom Stewart took over as prosecutor and instructed Jennings as lead counsel. Jennings, who hadn’t taken part in a trial for nearly four decades, was chosen solely because he was a well known fundamentalist.

    The whole thing was a staged legal pantomime with an invented ‘crime’, and a deliberately chosen crazy prosecuting counsel, to highlight the absurdity of the existing law. Clarence Darrow initially refused to take part for this very reason.

    The whole episode makes for fascinating reading. An interesting footnote – Sue Hicks, the original prosecutor, was the inspiration behind the Johnny Cash song ‘A Boy Named Sue’.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sue_K._Hicks

  5. Daz says:

    Damnit remigius; I spend quarter of an hour checking that my dimly remembered idea that it was staged was true and writing a comment to that effect. Then, before posting it, I refresh the page, and you’ve gorn an’ posted me to the pip. Even down to the A Boy Named Sue connection. Could you not leave me even that little scrap‽

    There’s nothing for it. I shall have to drink myself into oblivion.

  6. Paul says:

    I echo the statements about these are deluded people. But they are blind, ignorant and rather sad too. Why and how is the USA full of these people.

    This part is quite something “All history proves the existence of God, and evolution is a joke for any thinking person.”

    So when these morons are ill with a virus for example like the common cold, which is a simple fact that shows easily evolution is true, how do they feel that a non-believing doctor (as most doctors are), treats then
    or atheist researched pharmaceutical company product helps them. God didn’t.

  7. remigius says:

    Sorry, Daz. I should have followed your lead and spent a quarter hour checking before posting. Perhaps if I had I would have got William Jennings Bryan’s name right. But I wrote the whole thing from memory, and, of course, got it arse-backward.

    I do like your interrobang, though. Can I use it?

  8. Angela_K says:

    The religious fail at logic again “All history proves the existence of God”History is a record of events past and in all of the history of mankind, no one has ever provided evidence to support the religious proposition for the god of the bible or any god[s]. There has never been an observation of a god, nor any experiment we could design to test the god proposition. I get bored asking the religious for evidence of their god, their usual reply is “you provide evidence god doesn’t exist” and we all know how absurd that is.

  9. Daz says:

    @remigius

    Of course you may: ‽ = ‽

  10. remigius says:

    ¡¿

    Bollocks.

  11. Daz says:

    It’s one o’ them symbols which can’t be relied on to work if you try to insert it directly into an html document. (Probably a UTF/ANSI incompatibility thing.) The HTML code seems to work reliably though.

  12. remigius says:

    Then why did you tell me the secret code knowing full well that it might not work?

    You have trampled upon my hopes, my dreams, of being able to use an interrobang in hypertextual setting. You are a cruel man, Daz. A very cruel man!

  13. barriejohn says:

    Rare film of Remigius and Daz as children:

    https://youtu.be/gLOJTR94d-Y

  14. Daz says:

    Eh? The ‽ entity is the one I’ve always found to be reliable. Just pasting in the interrobang symbol itself is likely to produce a question mark or other symbols when the comment is posted.

    Barriejohn, he started it!

    Ahem.

  15. remigius says:

    ‘Barriejohn, he started it!’

    Bollocks, you started it. You was obviously peeved that I knew about ‘A Boy Named Sue’, and beat you to it.

    You then deliberately put the interrobang into your comment knowing full well that I would see it and want one too. You reeled me in like a cat with a fishing rod catching a little baby bird. Then you pounced. I should have seen it coming – the ol’ Interrobang Gambit is the oldest trick in the book, and I fell for it.

    As a wise man, George W. Bush, once said ‘Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.’

    Well, shame on you Daz. Or me (I don’t understand the quote either).

  16. Daz says:

    Another wise man (your humble servant) once said, “If you think you understand Gee Dubbya, you clearly do not understand the English language.”
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Just so’s we’re clear on how to do it: In order for an interrobang to appear in your comment after you hit the “post comment” button, you should type an ampersand, then a hash-symbol, then the numbers 8253, then a semi-colon.
    Thus if, in the comment form, you enter:
    What‽

    When the comment is posted it will look like:
    What‽

  17. remigius says:

    Got it now. Cheers Daz¡¿

  18. Daz says:

    I haz confusion.

  19. L.Long says:

    Hey! Club…“pig-ignorant Christian hicks” is dead wrong as most pigs are not nearly as stoopid as xtians…..it should be “human-ignorant Christian hicks” as only humans can be that stoopid!

  20. Daz says:

    @L.long

    “”pig-ignorant Christian hicks” is dead wrong as most pigs are not nearly as stoopid as xtians”

    Yes, yes, we already know you have the observational skills of a small, dead rodent, a much-inflated image of your own intelligence, and a lack of nuance only usually seen in small rocks. There’s no need to keep demonstrating it.

  21. Paul says:

    Daz
    That’s a bit harsh on what LLong wrote.
    He has a voice too. You might not like what or how he writes but he has a voice. And he isn’t a christian self deluded religot. The vitriol is best saved for Seff son of Bob or the one true Bob. If Barry would let the idiot back on occasionally.

  22. Daz says:

    @Paul

    Yes, L.Long has a voice. I have not attempted to silence that voice. I, along with several others, have spent quite a bit of internet-ink trying to get L.Long to see that his view is both wrong (as is easily proved by observation of most Christians) and simplistic.

    I too have a voice. Sometimes I use it to debate, and sometimes to mock, that with which I disagree. L.Long may, if they wish, use their voice to reply. That’s how free speech works.

  23. remigius says:

    Daz, I think you’re being very unfair. The size of a dead rodent has no bearing upon it’s dearth of observation skills – only its deceased nature alludes to such inadequacy

    Likewise, the dimensions of a rock give no indication as to its lack of nuance – only its rock-like nature can attest to such.

  24. Daz says:

    Hmm. I’m not sure that makes my comment unfair, so much as merely too-narrowly defined.

    I’d love to know how many IQ-points a person gains or loses, according to L.Long, on the day they admit to themselves that they have lost or gained a religious belief. We could start by examining Darwin’s writings. He was a prolific writer, producing many letters each day, so the sudden jump in his reasoning ability when he lost belief should be obvious to all and easily pin-pointed, yes?

  25. Brian Jordan says:

    You can come in here with all kinds of French opinions of this, that and the other but this is not France
    I always knew Charles Darwin was a cheese-eating surrender=monkey. It is obvious from his monograph The Cheese Mite – Anatomy of a Camembert

  26. 1859 says:

    Can anyone out there explain clearly and succinctly why there are still so, so many christian fundie nutcases in the USA? A country that sent men to the moon, that is a world leader in technology, medicine and science and makes cartoons like South Park. How can these people still cling so fanatically to their superstitions?

  27. Newspaniard says:

    @1859. They import their scientists from the UK and Europe.

  28. Smokey says:

    How weak is their faith when it’s being shaken by a statue of a lawyer that argued for evolution 90+ years ago, and lost? In their own pig*-ignorant words, “All history proves the existence of God, and evolution is a joke for any thinking person”. Since they’re taking this seriously, does that mean that they admit they’re not thinking persons?

    Also, what happened to “teach the controversy” and variants thereof? It’s not even about teaching, it’s about showing that court trials usually have two opposing sides, one of which usually loses. Like Jesus. Jesus lost a trial, and Christians worship him. Rejoice motherfuckers, here’s another loser you can crucify. Worship is optional.

    *apologies to pigs, they’re more intelligent than this. Really.

  29. Trey Evitt says:

    Many people have a wholly misguided impression of what the Scopes trial did and didn’t achieve. Most importantly, the central issue was not one of Atheism vs Religion, but rather of Free Speech. Dislodging religion from the Public Schools system would be the fight spearheaded decades later by Madalyn Murray O’Hair

  30. Cali Ron says:

    Newspaniard: So the UK is now not only not in the EU, but also not a part of Europe! I was duped by my geography teachers.

  31. Cali Ron says:

    Daz and remigius: That was one of the most cordial and grammatically correct spats I’ve ever been privy to. Quintessentially British, in fact and I quite enjoyed it.

    Trey Evitt: Thanks for pointing out that nuance and it’s historical significance.