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Act 2, Scene 1
Two workers are seen assembling a platform on the lawn to accommodate both Brady's press conference and the prayer meeting. One of the workers wonders what to do with the banner that says, "Read Your Bible." The other worker says the banner should be left in place since the Devil does not run the town.
During the press conference, Brady is calm, experienced, and poised. He says the people of Hillsboro are "fighting the fight of the faithful throughout the world." A British reporter asks him his opinion of Henry Drummond. Brady says that he and Drummond were once friends and that Drummond had even supported him in his first run for the presidency. Brady claims, however, that even if it were his brother who was opposing "the faith of millions," he would still fight for the faithful. Hornbeck is among the reporters at Brady's press conference, but unlike the others, he is not taking notes. When Brady finishes speaking, he tells Hornbeck that he is grieved that Hornbeck is so biased in his reporting. Hornbeck tells him he is not a reporter, but a critic.
The audience, already in a high state of excitement, is incited further by Brown's list of questions, called out one after another. He asks, "Do we believe in the Word?" They answer, "Yes!" Then he asks if they curse the man who denies the Word. The people answer in the affirmative again. He asks them to cast the man out and call down hellfire on him. He then begins to pray a curse on Bert Cates, asking God to strike the teacher down. The crowd grows so frenzied that Brady becomes a bit nervous about the high level of emotion.
Rachel, who has been listening to her father, finally calls out to him to stop praying to destroy Cates. Brown is so worked up that he even begins to call down a curse on her, despite the fact that she is his daughter. Brady jumps up and pulls Brown aside, saying that he has gotten carried away in his zeal. He reminds the preacher that it is not right to want to destroy "that which you hope to save--so that nothing is left but emptiness." He also reminds Brown of the Book of Proverbs, which says, "He that troubleth his own house . . . shall inherit the wind." Brady urges Brown to obey the Biblical injunction to forgive one's children.
When Brady sends the crowd away, he notices that Henry Drummond does not depart. He approaches his courtroom opponent and asks him, "Why is it, my old friend, that you have moved so far away from me?" Drummond replies, "All motion is relative. Perhaps it is you who have moved away--by standing still." Brady is obviously affected by these words. He stands open- mouthed for a moment, then steps backward and walks off stage.