Clarence Darrow Award — Ed Asner: It’s not easy to challenge religion

Actor Ed Asner shows off the Clarence Darrow Award he received from FFRF in 2020.

Prolific and award-winning actor Ed Asner appeared via pre-recorded video at FFRF’s “Covid Convention” on Nov. 14.

Asner, who recently became part of FFRF’s Honorary Board, accepted FFRF’s 2020 Clarence Darrow Award.

Asner toured the country portraying William Jennings Bryan in a play about the Scopes Trial opposite John de Lancie (portraying Darrow), and has been an outspoken progressive activist. The award includes a bronze statuette, a miniature of the 7-foot statue by renowned sculptor Zenos Frudakis that FFRF erected on the lawn of the “Scopes Trial” courthouse in Dayton, Tenn.

Here is an edited transcript of his remarks:

By Ed Asner

This is a beautiful award. My God, it is beautiful. He is so embodied here. And being a junkman’s son, I can tell you, this is good metal. This is fine metal. You can’t get better metal than this. Unless you go to gold and silver and titanium, but we won’t go there. This comes from the heart, this is Clarence Darrow.

I was with your group in Wisconsin, and I felt the same way there that I feel with you now. You are brave, wonderful people, so essential to a democracy such as America, which needs you badly. It’s not easy to challenge religion in America, but it’s most necessary, very necessary.

And I want to say that Darrow put it so bluntly when he said the most humane thing we can do is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Keep doing it. You’re setting a great example for all freedom lovers. Thank you.