Read the introduction

“Inherit the Kingdom” has its genesis in 1925. In the summer of that year Dayton, Tennessee became the battleground for a war that has raged between Darwinian Evolution and biblical Christianity ever since Charles Darwin’s controversial theory was first published in his book, “The Origin of the Species,” in 1859.

The 1925 conflict began when the American Civil Liberties Union, opposed to a state law in Tennessee prohibiting the teaching of evolution in the public schools, advertised for a schoolteacher willing to deliberately violate the law as a means of driving the matter into court. John Scopes, a physical education teacher, answered the call. His trial quickly became a national story.

What came to be known as the “Scopes Monkey Trial” attracted famous newspaper writers from all across the country. Noted attorney, Clarence Darrow, was summoned to defend Scopes while the equally noteworthy William Jennings Bryan, a former United States Secretary of State and presidential candidate, prosecuted.

The trial is still considered by many to be “the trial of the 20th century,” and the primary showdown between evolution and creationism.

In 1955 playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee published a dramatization of the trial in a play entitled “Inherit the Wind.” While a note at the beginning of the play clearly states “‘Inherit the Wind’ is not history,” Americans, who are probably more familiar with the play than they are with the actual trial, consider it to be an accurate account of what happened in Dayton in 1925.

“Inherit the Wind” is perceived as a milestone in the battle between evolution and creationism. Its gross caricatures of Christians as backward and uneducated are still referenced by evolutionists as representative of actual Christians and their beliefs. The play continues to be used to strengthen the erroneous perception that the battle between evolution and creationism is a battle between enlightenment and ignorance, education and blind faith.

More than fifty years after the publication of “Inherit the Wind” the battle between evolution and creationism still rages in the schoolrooms of America, except the tide has turned. Now, while evolution is taught as scientific fact in public schools everywhere, it is the mention of God or the mere suggestion of the possibility of a creator that is prohibited.

Like “Inherit the Wind,” “Inherit the Kingdom” does not pretend to be journalism. While there are historical and scientific facts presented here (sources referenced either in the text or via endnotes) “Inherit the Kingdom” is fiction. It revisits Lawrence and Lee’s fictitious small town and provides a fresh look at a long-running controversy. And, like “Inherit the Wind,” “Inherit the Kingdom” adopts the following setting: summer in a small town, not too long ago.

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