This Week in Christian History: John Calvin, 'In God We Trust,' Scopes Monkey Trial

Scopes 'Monkey Trial' Begins – July 10, 1925

William Jennings Bryan
Former United States Secretary of State and Democratic presidential hopeful William Jennings Bryan. |

This week marks the anniversary of one of the most controversial and impactful trials in the history of Christianity.

The Scopes "Monkey Trial" began on July 10, 1925. The case centered on a Tennessee science teacher who was accused of violating a state law banning the teaching of evolution.

"With local businessman George Rappalyea, Scopes had conspired to get charged with this violation, and after his arrest the pair enlisted the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to organize a defense," noted

"William Jennings Bryan, the three-time Democratic presidential candidate and a fundamentalist hero, volunteered to assist the prosecution. Soon after, the great attorney Clarence Darrow agreed to join the ACLU in the defense, and the stage was set for one of the most famous trials in U.S. history."

Although Bryan and the prosecution won the trial, the victory was a pyrrhic one. The case was used by media to portray Fundamentalist Christians as anti-intellectual.

Furthermore, Scopes became a rallying cry for the eventual inserting of the Theory of Evolution into public schools and the purging of Creationism from science curriculum.

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