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Reverend Straton Article (Full Text)

Head Note: John Roach Straton was a minister who preached across the country against the sins of modern life. Straton believed in the literal truth of the Bible and the literal truth of Biblical miracles. He was firmly opposed to the teaching of evolution. He also believed that parents and local communities should control their own schools.

The real issue at Dayton and everywhere today is: "Whether the religion of the bible shall be ruled out of the schools and the religion of evolution, with its ruinous results -- shall be ruled into the schools by law." The issue is whether the taxpayers -- the mothers and fathers of the children -- shall be made to support the false and materialistc religion, namely evolution, in the schools, while Christianity is ruled out, and thereby denied their children.

And with this goes the even deeper issue of whether the majority shall really have this right to rule in America, or whether we are to be ruled by an insignificant minority -- an "aristocracy" ... of skeptical schoolmen and agnostics.

That is the exact issue in this country today. And that it is a very real and urgent issue is proved by the recent invasion of the sovereign state of Tennessee by a group of outside agnostics, atheists, Unitarian preachers, skeptical scientists, and political revolutionists. These uninvited men -- including Clarence Darrow, the world's greatest unbeliever, and Dudley Malone, the world's greatest religious What-Is-It, -- these and the other samples of our proposed "aristocracy" of would-be rulers, swarmed down to Dayton during the Scopes trial and brazenly tried to nullify the laws and overthrow the political and religious faiths of a great, enlightened, prosperous, and peaceful people.

And the only redeeming feature in all that unlovely parade of human vanity, arrogant self-sufficience, religous unbelief, and anti-American defiance of majority rule was the courtesty, hospitality (even to unwelcome guests), forbearance, patience, and Christlike fortitude displayed by the noble judge, and the Christian prosecuting attorneys and people of Tennessee!

There was an element of profound natural irony in the entire situation. Darrow, Malone, and the other members of the Evolutionist Bund vicariously left their own communities and bravely sallied forth, like Don Quixote, to defeat the windmills and save other communities from themselves.

They left New York and Chicago, where real religion is being most neglected, where law, consequently, is most defied, where vice and crime are most rampant, and where the follies and ruinous immoralities of the rising generation -- debauched already by religous modernism and a Godless materialistic science -- smell to high heaven, and they went to save from itself a community where women are still honored, where men are still chivalric, where laws are still respected, where home life is still sweet, where the marraige vow is still sacred, and where man is still regarded, not as a descendant of the slime and beasts of the jungle, but as a child of god, with the wisdom and love of a divine Revelation in his hands, to guide him on life's rugged road, to give him the knowledge of a Savior from his sins, and to plant in his heart the hope of heaven to cheer him on his upward way!

And that is the sort of community which Darrow, Malone, and company left Chicago and New York to save!

Think of the illogic of it! and the nerve of it! and the colossal vanity of it!

Little wonder it is recorded in Holy Writ that "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh" at the follies of men! And surely the very battlements of heaven must have rocked with laughter at the spectacle of Clarence Darrow, Dudley Malone, and their company of cocksure evolutionists going down to save the South from itself!

It is all the other way around! The religious faith and the robust conservatism of the chivalric South and the sturdy West will have to save America from the sins and shams and shames that are now menacing her splendid life!

Source: Excerpt from Reverend John Roach Straton’s article in American Fundamentalist, “The Most Sinister Movement in the United States.” December 26, 1925.