'Monkey trial' in reverse opens in Arkansas court
Little Rock, Ark
An Arkansas version of the famous ''Scopes monkey trial'' opened Monday as the American Civil Liberties Union attacked the constitutionality of a 1981 state law that forces schools to teach ''creation science'' - the view that man and the universe were created by a supernatural event all at once about 6,000 years ago.
The case is a replay - in reverse - of the 1924 duel between lawyers Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan over a teacher prosecuted for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution instead of the biblical view of creation.
The hopes of a fast-growing creationist movement across the United States, which produced the Arkansas law and a similar one in Louisiana, are riding on the court case.
The ACLU argues that the law is unconstitutional since creationism is not, as its proponents say, a science but a religion. If the law is ruled unconstitutional - the First Amendment forbids the passing of any law ''respecting an establishment of religion'' - similar bills pending in at least 18 other states may be doomed.