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Butler’s bill flummoxed government observers but delighted its predominately Baptist backers, and it sailed through the Tennessee House on a lopsided 71 to 5 vote.

In 1923, the Oklahoma Legislature passed a bill banning the use of all school texts that included evolutionist instruction.

Later that same year, the Florida Legislature approved a joint resolution declaring it ‘improper and subversive for any teacher in a public school to teach Atheism or Agnosticism, or to teach as true, Darwinism, or any other hypothesis that links man in blood relationship to any other form of life.’ To Fundamentalists, for whom literal interpretation of the Bible was central to their faith, there was no room for compromise between the story of God’s unilateral creation of man and Darwin’s eons-long development of the species.

The Butler Act forbid the teaching of any theory that denied the biblical story of Creationism.

By teaching that man had descended from apes, the theory of evolution, Scopes was charged with breaking the law.

Yet Scopes was reluctant to participate in the ACLU’s efforts until talked into it by Dayton neighbors who hoped that a prominent local trial would stimulate prosperity in their sleepy southeastern Tennessee town.

On May 7, Scopes was officially arrested for violating Tennessee’s anti-evolution statute.

Less than a week later, William Jennings Bryan accepted an invitation from the World’s Christian Fundamentals Association to assist in Scopes’ prosecution.