A fictitious scene from the courtroom in Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s novel “Inherit the Wind” about the teaching of evolution.
Dear members of the jury, I am here today to undo the wrong on behalf of this man. He was charged because he was thought to have taught religion in his grade 11 English class. But the question really is if he did teach religion to his class. Of course not! He knew the rules and regulations of the board of education and had no intention to break them and he did not. All he was doing was explaining literature to his grade 11 class. They’re learning stories from around the world and some students had brought up the topic about David and Goliath and Adam and Eve. As any good teacher would do, he decided to tell them about it, but a more direct way, so he got the Book of Genesis. All he was doing was reading some of the stories here and there. If you consider reading stories a violation of teaching religion then you might as well throw away all those fairy tale books. What he read from the Book of Genesis and Fairy Tale books have no difference because the are just stories. He was not teaching religion! If he was teaching religion, then he would’ve not just read the stories from the book of Genesis. The stories that he read were not religious scriptures, but just plain old common stories. Even if it was a religious scripture, what did this man do wrong? Would you say taking stories from a religious book teaching religion? I wouldn’t think so. I would see it as taking parts of stories and criticizing about them. What did he criticize about the book? Was it the holy scriptures? No, it was the technique of how it was written, the style of writting that was used, and just that. There was nothing more to it, not one drop of religion to it at all. It was just what any English teacher would do, read some books and put them out for discussion. This has nothing to do with teaching religion, but it was more like reading a book. That’s exactly what it was, reading a book. So in conclusion, I would fully agree that if someone had violated the law, then that person should be charged, but this man had done nothing. All he was doing was doing his job as an English teacher and nothing more. I know that this man is innocent and I hope that you the members of the jury can come to a rightful decision.