Banning Books, Teaching Certain Subjects in Schools is Anti-American
Now that Republicans such as Florida Governor Rick DeSantis want to restrict books and the teaching of particular topics in our nation's schools, this sequence from the 1960 film "Inherit the Wind" should be shown by every American.
The wisdom portrayed by Spencer Tracy in this portrayal of the famous 20th Century lawyer Clarence Darrow in the trial The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, also known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, which was held in Dayton, Tennessee, from July 10 to July 21, 1925. John T. Scopes, a high school teacher, was charged with violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which made it illegal for teachers to teach human evolution in any state-funded school.
The trial was staged to draw attention to the small town of Dayton, Tennessee, where it was held. It's unclear whether Scopes taught evolution, but he purposefully incriminated himself so the case could have a defendant.
John Thomas Scopes was convicted and fined $100 (the equivalent of $1,500 in 2021), but the verdict was overturned on technical grounds. The trial received extensive national coverage, with national reporters flocking to Dayton to cover the high-profile attorneys who had agreed to represent each side. Three-time presidential candidate and former Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan argued for the prosecution, while Scopes' defense attorney was Clarence Darrow.
The trial brought to light the fundamentalist-modernist debate, which pitted modernists, who believed evolution could be compatible with religion, against fundamentalists, who believed the word of God, as revealed in the Bible, took precedence over all human knowledge. As a result, the case was viewed as both a theological contest and a trial over whether evolution should be taught in schools.
Please watch this scene from this incredible film and decide for yourself whether history is repeating itself and is un-American. The underlying issue is whether Americans' rights to free speech and thought are guaranteed or whether we will allow our country to sink into the theological fascism of white nationalism, as DeSantis, Representatives Marjorie Greene, Lauren Boebert, and many other far-right republican lawmakers across the country have. We must remember that communists, Nazis, and kleptocrats ban and burn books and purposefully promote and foster ignorance in order to control the masses.