Walter Lippmann

Walter Lippmann was an influential journalist and political commentator. In 1928, Lippmann wrote the book "American Inquisitors: A Commentary on Dayton and Chicago" in which he commented on the Scopes trial. Lippmann compared Bryan and the fundamentalists' arguments to the views of Thomas Jefferson about religion and government. He also compared Tennessee's Butler Act with the "Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom" which was largely written by Jefferson. Lippmann focused on Jefferson's words in The Virginia Act: "to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical." In analyzing the Butler Act, Lippmann concluded:

"You will note that the Tennessee statute does not prohibit the teaching of the evolution theory in Tennessee. It merely prohibits the teaching of that theory in schools which the people of Tennessee are compelled by law to contribute money. Jefferson had said that it was sinful and tyrannical to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves. The Tennessee legislators representing the people of their state were merely applying this principle. They disbelieved in the evolution theory, and they set out to free their constituents of the sinful and tyrannical compulsion to pay for the propagation of an opinion which they disbelieved." Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-hec-21695.