Omar M. Campbell: Religion private

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The preoccupation of the Rev. King with his version of creation (Pilot & Today, March 20) sparked a trip into Google for a brush-up on the Scopes trial. This classic trial was, and probably still is, the most famous court case ever held in this country.

The Scopes trial was gleefully pounced on as a media feast by the press and radio of 1925. It was started as a promotional stunt by local businessmen in Dayton, Tenn., population 1800. The purpose was publicity to revitalize their shrinking town. It succeeded, temporarily at least. Part of the circus was 5,000 visitors during the trial.

John Scopes, a 24-year-old substitute high school biology teacher, was charged with teaching evolution as the origin of life. Scopes was found guilty by a highly prejudiced local judge and jury and fined $100. Clarence Darrow, noted defense lawyer in the case, wanted to appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court. The state court, however, intentionally dismissed the guilty verdict on a technicality. Their purpose was to prevent the case from being appealed to the higher court, where religious prejudice was unlikely to prevail.

The source of all the commotion, of course, was Darwin's book, "The Origin of Species," published in 1859. The theme was that all animal and plant life changed and evolved during great periods of geologic time, to adapt to their changing environments and to their needs for survival. Survival of the fittest and best-adapted, if you will.

The scientific proof is now incontrovertible, from exhaustive study of fossil remains and primitive living creatures, and confirmed by modern technology -- carbon dating, DNA testing, etc.

Stephanie Dye is to be commended for her insightful article (Pilot & Today, March 13) protesting Bible courses in our high school. Evangelism of impressionable young people belongs to the parents in the home or in the church of their choice, not to teachers with a slanted lesson-plan in the public schools.

Religion is a private matter, not to be intruded into the public classroom nor into government.

Thank you, Stephanie.

Omar M. Campbell

Steamboat Springs

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