Statue brings in protest and counterprotest at Rhea County Courthouse

RHEA COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – On Saturday, a group with the Tennessee Committee for the Bill of Rights and the Tennessee Pastors Network gathered inside the Rhea County Courthouse.

The courthouse is the site where nearly 92 years ago a teacher was tried and convicted for teaching evolution.

“This basically here, it’s not a protest of the Darrow statue, but it’s an attempt to come bring the truth of what actually happened here,” North Carolina Pastors Network President Dave Kistler said.

But according to June Griffin, a local activist and head of the Tennessee Committee for the Bill of Rights, the gathering was to commemorate the Declaration of Independence and to protest a statue of Clarence Darrow that will soon be placed out in front of the courthouse.

“It should not be here.  It would be like putting Hitler over in front of the Holocaust museum.  This man was an enemy of God and our country and he was a official member of the communist party, he was an official member of the ACLU who said they would take God and the bible out of the United States,” Griffin said.

“She is saying that true patriots of Rhea County do not support this.  They are not okay with this and we are here to say that she does not get to be the spokesperson for what it means to be a patriot in this country or in this county,” Rhea County U.S. History teacher Brandon Germany said.

Darrow defended the teacher in the trial.

Already sitting in front of the courthouse, which houses a museum, is a statue of William Jennings Bryan who prosecuted the case.

Germany held a counterprotest outside the building, along with several locals citizens.

“Just because you’re in favor of the statue doesn’t mean that you are in favor with evolution necessarily.  It just means that you are in favor of the history of this particular trial being represented with both sides and what it was really about,” Germany said.

A portion of the statue is already up.

A dedication is scheduled for later in July

Categories: Local News, Rhea County

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