Saturday, January 13, 2018

A classic movie confronts anti-intellectualism

During the holidays my family watched the classic 1960 movie, Inherit the Wind, loosely based on the infamous Scopes trial, held in 1925 in the USA.

Only after I watched the movie and read the associated Wikipedia page did I learn that the movie was not meant to be so much about the issue of Evolution vs. Fundamentalism. But rather was meant to cast a poor light on McCarthyism, which was happening around the time the movie was made.

There is much in the movie that one could be concerned about, particularly from a Christian point of view. First, it is not historically accurate. This problem and all the nuances of the trial were discussed in detail in the Pulitzer-Prize winning book, Summer for the Gods, by Edward J. Larson.
Second, the Christians in the movie are "red-necks" who come across as unthinking and unfeeling. On the other hand, unfortunately, there are Christians who do act like some of the characters in the movie.

The title of the movie is based on Proverbs 11:29

Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.

This is quoted during a powerful and tragic scene when a fundamentalist preacher verbally attacks his own daughter.

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