What The “Scopes Monkey Trial” And Amarillo Have In Common
I recently came across the AUUF (Amarillo Unitarian Universalist Fellowship) by chance. When digging on the origins of this community that exists within Amarillo, I discovered an interesting connection to famous lawyer Clarence Darrow.
If you need a refresher, Darrow was the defense attorney for John Thomas Scopes during the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. The prosecutor was none other than famed politician and preacher, William Jennings Bryan. The classic film Inherit the Wind was based on the trial, where a substitute teacher faced charges for teaching evolution in the classroom.
Wayne Darrow, a member of the fellowship, was the grand nephew of Clarence Darrow. I instantly became interested in finding out exactly what lay at the heart of the AUUF.
There were a lot of misconceptions I had when I went for my visit. First, this is not a “church” in the traditional sense. There is no honoring of a deity at the expense of all others. No hellfire and brimstone.
This is a “fellowship,” where individuals from any background can gather with the sole intent of discovering how to be a better person, neighbor, friend.
Meeting with Rev. Nell Newton, I discovered that the importance isn’t placed on who is wrong or right, but what we are doing to make the world around us a better place.
The AUUF does a lot of volunteer and charity work in the community, sometimes with little or no fanfare.
Often Rev. Newton would pause to wipe a tear from her eye when discussing the love she has for the Fellowship and its members, and the love they all share for our city.
According to the history of the AUUF, written by Wayne Darrow:
The big achievement of the first 20 years of the Fellowship was to establish a haven for free souls to come together to examine and discuss ideas important to individuals and to society.
For more information you can find the AUUF online at their website.