The Tennessee state House voted Wednesday to adopt the Holy Bible as the official state book. The chamber approved the measure 55-38. It is sponsored by Republican Rep. Jerry Sexton, a former pastor, who argued that his proposal reflects the Bible's historical, cultural and economic impact in Tennessee. In addition to the measure ignoring serious constitutional issues, it brings to mind a legendary legal case held in Tennessee nearly a century ago.
The Scopes “Monkey Trial” was held in the small town of Dayton, Tn. in 1925. A substitute high school teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school. The trial drew intense international publicity, as two of the nation’s most high-profile attorneys, William Jennings Bryan (prosecution) and Clarence Darrow (defense), argued the case, one of the earliest examples of Fundamentalist vs. Modernist