Monumental ideas: By Dan Barker

FFRF Co-President Dan Barker gave these remarks at the unveiling of the Darrow statue on July 14.

By Dan Barker

The Scopes Trial was so hot that they went outside. Today, if Bryan and Darrow were here, they’d probably say “Thank goodness for the evolution of air conditioning.”

Clarence Darrow said: “History repeats itself. That’s one of the things wrong with history.”

He also said, “I’ve never killed a man” — Darrow was a pacifist — “but I have read a lot of obituaries with pleasure.”

And, “A criminal is someone without the capital to incorporate.”

And Clarence Darrow said, “An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral.”

So we have some monuments today for these two great men, and it is the ideas that they stood for that keep American great.

America is a great country, not because we are all united. The original motto of our was “E Pluribus Unum,” which means, “Out of many come one.”

“E pluribus unum” does not mean “United we stand.” “E pluribus unum” means “Divided, we stand.” We don’t have to agree. We don’t have to have the same political views or religious views. We don’t have to agree on anything. We are free to think like we want.

We are a proudly rebellious country. We fought a Revolutionary War that kicked out the sovereign, the top-down authority telling us, “Here’s what you must think.” None of us wants to be told what to think. It’s the great American experiment that allows all of us, no matter what our position is, to believe, to not believe, to be political or not.

There are many countries in the world, and there were many times in history where that was not allowed. There were and are places where only one of these representatives would be free to speak his mind. The other would have been shut down. Here in America, isn’t it wonderful both can be heard?

Today, of all days, my grandson Ethan is graduating from Marine Corps boot camp. He loves his country. And he loves his fellow Marines. He’s not a believer, but many of his Marine friends are believers, and they say America is wonderful because of the freedoms that we have.

So, Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, bravo!

Freedom From Religion Foundation