Darwin’s Theory Goes Extinct at Cheshire School!
In something reminiscent of the notorious Scopes Monkey Trial, Christian parents at Hartford Manor Primary School in Cheshire have forced a school musical about Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to be cancelled.
The musical, Darwin Rocks, is published by educational school play specialists Musicline and is described on their website as a “light-hearted look” at Darwin’s work and “historical musical adventure”, which sounds like a fun and educational experience to us! Unfortunately, in what would have made a great episode of Father Ted, it has fallen foul of a handful of parents who objected to the decision to stage the play.
Bump and Grind Bishop Mocked
According to the head teacher there were apparently six “expressions of concern” about lyrics in a song which refer to “bump and grind” and three of the complainants also felt that a bishop was “mocked” in another scene. Another of the parents was also worried that their child may be made to feel that a career in engineering was at odds with Christian beliefs. The school has denied suggestions in a newspaper that a vicar on the school board was involved in the decision.
So the play was cancelled rather than risk corrupting children’s morals by having them sing the words “bump” or “grind”, or have a dead bishop suffer the indignity of being “mocked”, or even end a child’s chosen career by exposing it to evolution and thus setting the poor creature on a downward path to the workhouse.
The Managing Director of Musicline, Mike Smith, said “You can’t please all the people all the time, but having been in the school musical business for over 25 years, we can’t ever recall having courted controversy before”
By no means all, but certainly some (possibly a lot of) Christians have a difficult time accepting Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. We know of a fair few bible bashers who you can wind up to almost incandescent levels of rage with pro-evolution arguments. Great fun!
Many are bound to the idea that the world and everything else was created by God 6000 years ago and there’s no shaking them from it. Dinosaur fossils being planted by God as a test for the faithful, which is the usual explanation for anything they can’t explain.
Darwin’s Theory and the Scopes Monkey Trial
Whatever the reasons for wanting the play cancelled, Fundamentalist Christians have a lot of form when it comes to banning things they don’t agree with. The most famous example of Christians trying to banish evolution from schools is the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. More properly called The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, this was an American legal case in which the state prosecuted the teacher John Scopes for teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to schoolchildren.
“What’s the problem with that?” we you ask (we did hear that didn’t we?). Well the problem is that teaching human evolution in state schools was illegal in Tennessee under the Butler Act, which tried to ensure that only the Bible’s version of creation was taught in schools and nothing else.
The trial attracted huge media attention and featured some heavy hitting and well-known personalities on both the prosecution and defence sides. Scopes was found guilty and fined $100. This was a pretty big whack back then, although you’re left with the feeling that a few of the Christians there would have preferred something a little more terminal. The verdict was later overturned, but on a technicality rather than a sudden flash of educational enlightenment. The ban on teaching evolution in state schools remained until 1967.
Despite a few problem areas, the Church has often been at the forefront of scientific discovery and many well-known names in science were also clergymen. But in any collection of people with a common interest, whether it’s religion, politics or cooking, there will always be a handful of fundamentalists determined to impose their lunatic views on others. Writing in his book A Walk in the Woods about another attempt to stop the teaching of evolution in schools, the wonderful Bill Bryson observed that it:
isn’t so much that they may be descended from apes as overtaken by them.”
It’s hard to improve on that, or as Jesus on the cross said to the centurion with the hammer:
I think you’ve nailed it, Bill”