Celtie Johnson would rather her daughter not inherit the hot air of Inherit the Wind.
The 1960 film, which recounts the story of the 1925 Scopes Trial, was recently shown in a sophomore biology class at Shawnee Mission East, a Kansas City high school. When Johnson heard what her daughter was "learning" in biology class, she and others took their protest to the school board. The teacher, they argued, had assigned the children to study "bigotry and propaganda."
Inherit the Wind portrays the trial of John Scopes, a schoolteacher accused of teaching evolution in a public school. The film is a fictionalization of the events, and Johnson argues that the film skews towards becoming "anti-Christian." The Kansas City Star quotes Johnson: "This movie has been touted as an American classic for so long, and no one has questioned it. We're adults now, and it's high time we question it."
Johnson says the film would be perfectly acceptable as a subject for discussion in other educational contexts, and a special committee created by the school district to review the complaint will soon reach a decision.
The Johnsons certainly have a point about the historical inaccuracies of Inherit the Wind, but their frustration with its apparent bias reflects a feeling widespread amongst Christians that Hollywood movies give them a bad rap. The church is frequently portrayed on the big screen in an unflattering light. Some go so far as to argue that this reflects a prevalent anti-Christian prejudice and a conspiracy in Hollywood to discredit the Church, while others argue that Christians often behave in ways that encourage the nasty stereotype.
Let me know: What are the most offensive and dismaying portrayals of Christians you have seen in the movies? Have ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more