Education and Current Events
The Trial of the Century
Every few years there is a trial that is touted by the press as “the trial of the century”. But the one trial that really reshaped America happened in 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee. Known as the Scopes Monkey Trial it was the result of the ACLU looking for a show trial and a group of businessmen in Dayton, Tennessee looking for free publicity.
In the 1920’s Tennessee and several other states had passed laws prohibiting the teaching of evolution in public schools. The ACLU wanted to challenge these laws so they advertised for a teacher willing to be charged with breaking the law. At the same time some businessmen in Dayton, Tennessee were looking for publicity to help the economy of their town. Out of this marriage of opportunism the trial took place. The trial itself quickly became a contest between Bible champion William Jennings Bryan and atheist Clarence Darrow with the real battle being over the reliability of the Biblical account of Creation. It quickly became the best-covered trial in American history with coverage from all the major media as well as reporters from other countries. The trial came to its climax when Bryan took the stand as an expert on the Bible. Darrow questioned Bryan for hours on early Bible history and succeeded in making Bryan appear uncertain on the facts from the Bible with the critical moment being when Darrow got Bryan to say that the earth could be millions of years old. This is what Darrow and the ACLU had been looking for all along. With Bryan on record as saying that the Biblical history was not a straightforward narration of history, Darrow had succeeded in creating a public perception that the Bible could not be trusted. The fallout from the Scopes trial took years to be fully realized. Although the trial was not the only reason for the changes in America that happened, it was the catalyst for them. After the trial the Bible gradually lost its position as the guide for both the legal and social standards of America. Gradually many Bible believing churches withdrew from involvement in setting the country’s moral and social agenda.
The two generations following the Scopes trial have seen a catastrophic shift in American values as prayer and Bible reading were removed from schools and the forced indoctrination in the religion of evolutionism was introduced. Not until the 1960’s did some Christians began to realize that it was the abandonment of a vigorous defense of the foundational doctrine of Creation that had led to this turnaround in America. The last 40 years has seen the rise of a growing number of Christians knowledgeable on the facts of Creation that have begun to turn the tide in the origins battle.
It took over two generations for America to turn away from the Bible; it will take at least that long for us to turn it back. The good news is that we are winning! In more and more places knowledgeable people are pointing out the scientific bankruptcy of evolution and the scientific support for Creation. While the victory for truth in the origins struggle is not guaranteed, we can see how far things have progressed because people who have learned the facts have gotten involved.