Pastor asks divine guidance to jury in evolution trial

DAYTON, Tenn., July 10, 1925 (UP) - With the great throng that overflowed Rhea County Courthouse standing with bowed heads and the typewriters and keys of press association operators stilled, Judge Raulston banged his gavel at 9:08 this morning, opening the now famous Scopes case with prayer.

Coatless and collarless, the people of the countryside, counsel, newspapermen and court attaches thronged about the bench and through the chamber as Judge Raulston requested Rev. Courtwright to ask divine guidance for the proceedings.


The Tennessee pastor, in a voice that boomed through the courtroom, called on God to direct the course of the trial and give wisdom to the judge and jury.

"Every good and perfect gift cometh down from the Holy Father of Life. Thou art the source of our inspiration and power," Courtwright said.

"We are incapable of performing pure thought and religious deeds without Thy aid.

"We beseech Thee, O Father, to give to this court a sufficient measure of the divine spirit as will enable it to administer justice with wisdom to all and that God's standard of justice and holiness will be upheld.

"We pray that the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit will be with the jury and attorneys and in the midst of it all help us to remember that Thou art on Thy throne.


"Grant that from the president of the United States down to the most insignificant, the affairs of church and state will be so administered that they will give Thee the greatest measure of glory."

The trial was halted after the invocation while photographers made still picture of all the principals and the scene of the epic battle.

When the platform again cleared, the judge asked the sheriff to find seats for all in the courtroom.

"Mr. Attorney General," said the judge. "I am now calling the case of the state of Tennessee versus John Thomas Scopes."

E.T. Stewart, attorney general of Eighteenth Circuit Court, stepped forward.

"Do you want the grand jury assembled?" asked the judge.

"Yes," replied Stewart.

Clarence Darrow of the defense and Stewart conferred.

Sheriff R.B. Harris, standing by the judge's desk, then called the jury panel one by one to the platform and they took seats in the jury chairs.

A little boy of 4 years, seated on the judge's desk, drew slips from a hat and the sheriff summoned the men so picked form the first panel waiting in the room.

When 13 men were drawn, Judge Raulston excused two who had served on a regular jury in the past two years and two more names were drawn from the list.


Raulston asked if any drawn were so situated that they could not serve on the jury, which he said would sit only two hours. None replied, except one who said he was a minister and didn't like to serve. He was prevailed upon to reconsider.

The new grand jury was assembled to reindict Scopes because, as Judge Raulston explained, there was some question as to the legality of the original indictment.

Raulston then read the first chapter of Genesis from a battered old Bible he brought into the courtroom.

When he finished, Raulston told the jury the question for them to decide was whether Scopes had violated the Tennessee antievolution law.

He explained the separation of state and federal functions. He said he regarded the Scopes case as a "high misdemeanor" and exceptionally serious because of its example of law violation on the part of a teacher.

"It breeds a spirit of disrespect for law in our body politic," he said.

The charge was identical with that made by the grand jury on May 25 when Scopes was first indicted.

The judge then ordered the jury to retire to deliberate and at 10 a.m. ordered the court recessed until 11 o'clock.


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