A portion of a Commonweal editorial from July 22, 1925, reveals some of the eccentric aspects of this first media trial:

Fantastic as are many of the aspects of this amazing drama, ludicrous even as are some of the characters playing their parts amid movie cameras, buzzing aeroplanes, radio installations, clicking telegraph keys, chattering typewriters, and all the apparatus of up-to-the-last-minute publicity, some quality deeper and grave and more disturbing than all the issue of ordinary life pervades everything said or done.

As you turn into the grove of trees surrounding the court house, you read a hand-lettered sign which proclaims:



The Kingdom of God, Paradise Street, is at hand.

Forty days of prayer itemizing your sins and iniquities, for eternal life—if you come clean.

God will talk back to you in voice.

—Deck Carter, Bible Champion of the World

Deck Carter is an itinerant preacher who says he is the only person to whom God has talked since Joan of Arc. Hardened newspaper reporters who have investigated Deck Carter tell me he is an honest man who won't take money as he goes about the country calling people to God. Deck Carter's methods are rough and crude, but perhaps his strange sign is more to the point than … the clever descriptions of the young gentlemen of the Nation; or the New Republic.

Subscriber Access OnlyYou have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Already a CT subscriber? for full digital access.