When I was reading the hysterical testimony of the Christian fundamentalist ministers before the Kansas Board of Education, my mind/brain went into rewind back to 1925. The Scopes trial in the fundamentalist town of Dayton, Tennessee was held that year over the same issue. Militant biblical and religious ignorance demanded to be heard.
William Jennings Bryan was spokesman for the fundamentalists. Clarence Darrow gave his time free to demolish Bryan in court.
The New York Times called it “the most unbelievable court scene in Anglo-Saxon history.”
Will Rogers wrote it up this way: “William Bryan and the fundamentalists might make Tennessee the side show of America, but they can’t make a street carnival out of the whole United States.”
The brilliant columnist H.L. Mencken wrote this for his paper The Baltimore Evening Sun, and national syndication. “William Bryan is now a tinpot pope with the forlorn bible preachers who belabor half-wits in tabernacles behind the railroad yards. The sermons and speeches are grotesque, touching on imbecility.”
Now, in l999, this psycho-ceramic (crack-pot) circus played again in Topeka, Kansas, fueled by half-witted preachers. Is half-witted an exaggeration? Listen to the court record of Darrow questioning Bryan.
DARROW: “Mr. Bryan, do you believe that everything in the bible should be literally interpreted?”
DARROW: ” When do you think the flood was, according to the bible.?”
BRYAN: “Two thousand three hundred and forty eight years, B.C. and everything was destroyed but the fish, because they could swim.”
DARROW: “Don’t you know that there are ancient civilizations thousands of years older than that date?”
BRYAN: “That is not so, or the bible would have told us.”
DARROW: “Do you believe that the sun was literally made on the fourth day?”
BRYAN: “Of course, yes.”
DARROW: “Well then, according to the bible story they had an evening and a morning the first three days without the sun.”
And on and on it went.
As we approach the year 2000, illiterate preachers still “belabor half- wits” and the crack-pot circus plays again.
Do not overlook a very revealing fact: the recent school shootings were not done in the centers of liberalism, humanism and education, Berkeley CA; Harvard and Cambridge, Palo Alto, etc. The rampage and brutal killings were carried out in ‘Christian’ Norman Rockwell towns, with churches on every corner filled on Sundays, and prayer meetings daily, Pearl, Mississippi; West Paducah, Kentucky; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Edinboro, Pennsylvania; Springfield Oregon; and Littleton, Colorado all saturated with evangelical churches and the ten commandments everywhere.
The religious circus plays on. Stay tuned.