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Over the Memorial Day Weekend my family visited the Tulsa Zoo. While walking near the elephants we came across the statue on the left. Although I didn't know its name at the time, "Ganesha," I knew it was a Hindu religious symbol and that it stood out like a sore thumb in the secular zoo setting. Why is it, I wondered, that people who wouldn't in a million years think of displaying a large crucifix sculpture or a representation of Noah's Ark with all the animals marching two by two, have no problem displaying religious symbols of non-Christian religions?
The double standard among allegedly secular people in their attitude towards Christianity and other religions is a pervasive and growing problem in America. Schools won't hesitate to
indoctrinate teach about Islam for instance, when they wouldn't dare teach an identical curriculum on Christianity. Statues of non-Christian religious symbols are erected while tiny crosses representing objective historical heritage must be removed from city seals. No one bats an eye at the large granite globe by the Tulsa Zoo entrance which proclaims the secular humanists' battle cry, "the earth is our mother, the sky is our father."
So, in the midst of, "why are you wasting a picture on that" from my better half, I snapped a photo of Ganesha to remind me of its incongruity in an otherwise excellent public zoo. As it turns out, the controversy over the Hindu statue would come to a boil just days later.
Family friend John Jones was quoted in the media stating, "we need to leave it to the display of animals, and the education of children about nature." Brett Fidler, Curator of the large mammals explained, "We exhibit [the statue] out of the religious context, strictly as a museum piece." I'd believe this if he or anyone else could point out a Christian symbol exhibited "out of the religious context" or "strictly as a museum piece." I don't believe this explanation holds water. Rather this is just another example of the double standard which holds non-Christian religions can be mentioned or represented in an innocuous manner but any mention or representation of Christianity, no matter how slight, is always inappropriate.
Rather than remove the Hindu icon, Tulsan Dan Hicks wanted a biblical account of creation added but zoo staff, not surprisingly, rejected this suggestion. The Tulsa Zoo says the belief that God created the animals has no scientific merit and that's why it's not mentioned at the zoo. Brett Fidler added, "we display things that have been proven through the scientific method and intelligent design has not been proven, to the point that it belongs at an institution like the Tulsa Zoo." One can only wonder how it is that Mr. Fidler believes that a pot bellied Hindu god with four arms and the head of a one-tusked elephant riding a mouse has "been proven through the scientific method"?
Despite zoo employee opposition, the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board voted 3-to-1 Tuesday to display the biblical version of the Earth's creation in an exhibit at the zoo. It'll be placed on a wall in the Time Gallery area inside the zoo's Arctic building and will include a disclaimer saying the display is one example of one widely held view of the origins of Earth. One can only wonder whether Ganesha will be given a disclaimer.Posted by Don |
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this post: Tulsa Zoo: Battle Over Religious Displays.
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It's a blogging anniversary for three sites on my blogroll: Happy first blogiversary to syndicated columnist and incredibly prolific blogger Michelle Malkin, and a special thanks again to Michelle for calling attention to the Tulsa World's legal threat... Read More
� Danz Family has a very well written piece about a Hindu statue at the Tulsa Zoo. Rather than seeing the Christian equivalent(Creation account) put up as well, I would prefer to see the statue removed. It's not that I'm hostile to Hindus, I just th Read More