Inherit the wind Play about attempts to stifle free thought

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

US: undemocratic antecedents<s The recent focus on fundamentalist Islam might obscure the fact that western nations have their own experiences with religious fundamentalism. But New York audiences are filling the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway to learn about one such episode in the country whose government has targeted radical Islam the most. Inherit the Wind is a re-enactment of a 1955 play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee that tells the story of what came to be known as "The Scopes Monkey Trial" in the us.

In 1925, John Scopes, a Tennessee science teacher and football coach, was tried and convicted for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. He had violated a state law that forbade teaching any theory conflicting with the biblical assertion of divine creation.

But the play is not only about the enforcement of religious orthodoxy; it's about attempts to stifle free thought.The authors wrote it as a riposte to the threat to intellectual freedom mounted by senator Joseph McCarthy.

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