Scopes-ing in Dayton, TN

As many of you know, I do quite a bit of travelling with my Secular Student Alliance work. Sometimes, I get some down time to check out the finest of local gas stations and scenic Waffle Houses.

The view from 70% of my hotel rooms

However, it just so happens that yesterday’s route from Knoxville to Chattanooga took me right near one of the most famous battlegrounds in the history of the evolution/creation debate: Dayton, TN.


Rhea County Courthouse, Home of the Scopes Trial

Admittedly, there isn’t much more to it than a plaque and a half-hearted museum in the basement, but it was pretty cool to see the famous courtroom from the trial. To my surprise, the building is actually still the county courthouse, and the famous courtroom is still used to this day.


It was certainly a nice stop-off to make, and a cool piece of history to see. However, I was more amused by how the courthouse is involved in the current “War on Christmas”, given it’s history as a battleground on the supposed “War on Christianity”.

Here is a wreath hanging on the main floor of the courthouse.


Here is a message placed at the foot of a fully decorated Christmas/Holiday Tree perhaps three feet away from the above wreath.


I joked on twitter that the Rhea County Courthouse is trying to play Walder Frey in the War on Christmas. (Just wait and see who winds up winning the War on Christmas, and then pledge for their side after the battle is over; for you non-GoT/SoIaF people)

“I’m dreaming of a Red Wedding…”

But really, how do you play both sides in this? Understandably, it seems like the decorations were from different people, but it is a bit of a mixed message. I’m surprised primarily that locals aren’t up in arms about the “Happy Holidays”, although I’d love to see local atheists complain about the wreath. Don’t you bet that would be on FOX news in half a heartbeat?

In any case, it was a nice drive through Tennessee and fascinating to see how little Dayton has changed over the years. In case you haven’t seen it, here is Ed Helms (then with The Daily Show) doing a special report on Dayton a few years ago.

About Gordon Maples

Writer of the Misan[trope]y Movie Blog and the (Plot)opsy Podcast. A bad movie expert, if there ever was such a thing. Movie nerd, professional organizer, and political progressive.
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