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Scout is doing her best to get some information about Boo Radley from Miss Maudie in Chapter 5 of To Kill a Mockingbird. Miss Maudie dodges the subject somewhat, but when Scout presses her, Maudie tells her about Boo's father, a "foot-washing Baptist"--a primitive Baptist who takes the Bible literally. Maudie tries to explain old Mr. Radley's actions by comparing him to Atticus.
"... sometime the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than whiskey in the hand of--oh, your father."
Scout didn't understand the comparison, reminding her that Atticus didn't drink, which prompted a laugh from Miss Maudie. Maudie was trying to explain that
"... if Atticus Finch drank until he was drunk, he wouldn't be as hard as some men are at their best. There are just some kind of men who--who're so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results."
In other words, a drunken Atticus Finch was a better, kinder and more loving man than old Mr. Radley ever would be.
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