The Scopes Monkey Trial in Tennessee

We live in a societal environment whereby the inhabitants of such ecological sector are required to define their values and beliefs in conformity with the social, custom, spiritual, and cultural contexts to enable them respond to situational crisis which have the propensity to take away these values and belief systems in the society. For instance, countries found in the Middle East are predominantly Muslims; as the result, these nations are run or administered through Islamic laws based on the Quorum. Islam becomes the armor matter of these nations and everything written constitutionally is taken from the Quorum. These nations believe their book; therefore, everyone who lives under these administrations is required to obey the law of Islam. Any attempt to violate the law, leads to punitive justice against the perpetrator of the act. The inhabitants in these nations are required by customs, cultural, and spiritual contexts to keep the rules or regulations governing how they speak, dress, interact with the public, and respond to customs based on the traditions of the people. The issue of hypocrisy in bringing these laws into enactment is prohibited. There is no ground of escape when the law is broken by someone. The violator of the law is eventually punished without clemency. The rigidity of the punishment is based on set precedence so that others will not break the law contingently. This is done to maintain the beliefs, values, convictions, customs, and traditions of these Islamic nations. These nations become to adhere to fundamentalism by defending the values of Islam and their nations.

            In conjunction as to respond to the situation regarding the teacher John T. Scopes’ trial in 1925 in Tennessee as to whether truth of Christian Fundamentalism was convincing requires one to answer the below listed questions:

  • Did the legislative body in Tennessee who put the Butler Act into place, actually examine the law in entirety taking eventuality into account as to punish anyone who breaks the law?
  • Did they have the body responsible to punish the perpetrator?
  • Were they firmed in executing the law as to punish the law breaker?
  • Did they stand for Christian values?

The answering of these questions is paramount to addressing if truth of Christian Fundamentalism took precedence. The legislative body that made the law did not draw a boundary between individual liberty and the Butler Act regarding the teaching on the topic of evolution. It is one of the areas the lawyer for John T. Scopes technically preached against the state law making body drawing silence for them overshadowing the possible prosecution of the defender. If the school or the state authorizes the teacher to teach, the state or the curriculum development body supposed to have drawn the curriculum putting restriction on the topic of evolution. If the state had not authorized the teacher to teach, I don’t think, the teacher would have taught on this topic for the fact that there was an anti-evolution law put into place; however, the lawyer did preach about individual liberty.

The question regarding if they had body put into place to punish perpetrator is not clear. Even if they had the body responsible for punishing, they would not have done so because technically, he would not have been fined as the result of individual liberty; however, freedom comes with responsibility. The state legislature was not firmed in executing this Butler Act because the movement for individual liberty paved the way for people to break the law knowing that they had somebody put into place to advocate on their behalf. I see a broken system here being created to undermine the Butler Act enacted by the state regarding the abolishment of the teaching of evolution in state funded schools in Tennessee. I see fragmentations in Tennessee regarding the implementation of the Butler Act. It is impossible to operate in the midst of divisions to achieve a goal. It is impossible to keep our Christian values and beliefs systems when we allow ourselves to be hypocritical when it comes to dealing with issue like this. The anti-evolution law had been passed; ironically, another group is being set up to advocate on behalf of people who break this law. This is clearly seen in the case involving John T. Scopes, who taught and broke the Butler Act by teaching the theory of evolution. This case which was aired in America between the defend lawyer and the prosecutor, surfaced a theological contest between modernists and the fundamentalists in the Scope Monkey Trial. The trial saw modernists, who said religion was consistent with evolution, against fundamentalists who said the word of God as revealed in the Bible took priority over all human knowledge. The trial was thus both a theological contest, and a trial on the idea of modern science regarding the creation-evolution controversy. The teaching expanded as fundamentalist efforts use state laws to reverse it had failed in the court of public opinion.

The issue as to whether true Christian fundamentalism shows convincing can be answered either yes or no. The yes or no answers dictate the situation surrounding the issue of the Butler Act which was hailed to take precedence as to judge the creation-evolution controversy. The players in the case became contestants regarding the theological matter as opposed to modernism. The true Christian fundamentalism became unconvincing for the fact that technical and public opinions killed the Butler Act despite fundamentalists’ effort to use state law to reinforce the anti-evolution law and to have the teacher fined for breaking this law. The Christian fundamentalism proved unconvincing because the Act proved the teacher guilty; but it could not hold the teacher responsible for breaking this law; as the result, the teacher was set free though he was guilty. In my opinion, Christian fundamentalism was not proven convincing as the result of public opinion taking precedence over the Butler Act.