College assists with Religious Heritage Trail dedication
April 20, 2006

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From left, Tom Davis, Dr. Stephen Livesay, Dr. Richard Cornelius, Rep. Zach Wamp, Dr. Ray Legg Bryan College President Dr. Stephen D. Livesay, backed up by faculty and staff members, helped inaugurate the Southeast Tennessee Religious Heritage Trail in ceremonies April 19 at the Rhea County Courthouse.

Developed by the Southeast Tennessee Tourism Association, the Religious Heritage Trail is a celebration of the religious influence on the history and development of the area within about an hour’s drive from Chattanooga. Early in the planning stages Tourism officials said they wanted to include the Rhea County Courthouse and Bryan College because of the impact of the 1925 Scopes Evolution Trial on religious life in the United States.

The project, formally known as “On the Glory Land Road: The religious heritage sites of Southeast Tennessee,” identifies 28 locations including Bryan College, churches of various denominations and the Brainerd Mission Cemetery. For information about the trail, visit the Southeast Tennessee Tourism website.

Dr. Livesay spoke about the relationship of Bryan College, the Scopes Trial and the community, referring to the creation of the college as a result of a wish expressed by William Jennings Bryan during the trial.

Tom Davis, director of public information and chairman of the Scopes Trial Festival, gave an overview of the trial and its relevance to current arguments over creation, evolution and intelligent design.

Dr. Ray Legg, professor of English who portrays William Jennings Bryan in the annual Scopes Festival, talked about his experience playing The Great Commoner and quoted from Bryan’s last remarks to the court.

Dr. Richard Cornelius, professor emeritus of English and Scopes liaison, talked about the origins of the trial and the new Rhea County Heritage Museum in the courthouse basement.

Keynote remarks were given by U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, who emphasized the importance of the Bible and the Christian faith to the founding of the United States. He commended the county, the college and Development District officials for this new venture.