Sunday, April 18, 2010

When Men Begin to Make Monkeys of Themselves

On November 12, 1927, Harlow's Weekly reported: "On July 17, 1926 Pastor J. Frank Norris shot and killed Dexter E. Chipps, a Fort Worth lumber dealer. Pastor Norris claimed the shooting was in self-defense as Chipps had made a "hip pocket" move. Chipps was unarmed. A jury from which there was an attempt by by the defense to exclude all Roman Catholics and "so-called liberals" and the prosecution to exclude all fundamentalists and members of the Ku Klux Klan, acquitted Pastor Norris on January 25, 1927."

Harlow's, an Oklahoma City newspaper in the 1920's, reported on the background of the Pastor of First Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas, because of the anti-evolution controversy occurring in Oklahoma during the 1920's. J. Frank Davis, the fighten' fundamentalist from Texas had joined forces with Mordecai Ham, Pastor of FBC Oklahoma City, to enact the first "Anti-Darwin laws" in the nation; two years prior to Tennessee's Scopes trial. Speaking before his own legislature, in preparation for assisting his fellow Southern Baptists against evolutionists, Pastor J. Frank Norris declared:
""So far as I am concerned, so help me God, I will not be a party to wink at, support, or even remain silent when any group, clique, crowd or machine undertakes to ram down the throats of Southern Baptists that hell-born, Bible destroying, deity-ot-Christ denying, German [!] rationalism known as evolution."
J. Frank Norris graduated from Baylor and Southern Seminary. He pastored Southern Baptist Churches in Dallas and Fort Worth. He is credited with moving Southwestern Theological Seminary from Waco to Fort Worth. He edited the Texas Southern Baptist paper, the Baptist Standard. He was a blue-blood Southern Baptist who considered anyone who disagreed with his interpretations of the Bible an enemy. To Pastor Norris, destroying reputations, tearing down another's ministries, or even shooting a man, was justifiable if the cause of truth was being upheld.

When the Scopes Trial ended in Tennessee, having felt the intense hatred and anger of the religious fundamentalists, Lady Darwin, daughter-in-law to Charles Darwin, was overheard while boarding an oceanliner saying, "I think men are beginning to make monkeys of themselves."

As one who believes, unlike Lady Darwin, in a literal six-day Creation, let me add my agreement to her statement. When religious fundamentalists, no matter their beliefs, act as if they must defend the truth, to the point of destroying anyone who disagrees, then we are making monkeys of ourselves. Truth needs no defense. It simply needs to be loosed. And, if the enemy of truth tries to keep it caged, the God of all truth holds the lock.

The only thing that needs constant propping up, as well as continual attacks against those who question it, is error.