Officials in Tulsa, Okla., have backed off from plans to display a creationism exhibit at the city zoo.
In early June at the behest of a local Religious Right activist, the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board voted to allow an exhibit at the Tulsa Zoo depicting the biblical account of God’s creation of the world, as described in the Book of Genesis.
The activist, Dan Hicks, claimed the display was warranted because the zoo had other exhibits he interpreted as religious. Hicks, for example, complained to the board about a small statue of the Hindu god Ganesha in the Zoo’s Elephant Encounter Museum. Ganesha, lord of wisdom and intelligence, is depicted in art as having an elephant’s head. That exhibit also included a stuffed Dumbo elephant and a paper red, white and blue Republican Party elephant.
In a July 1 letter to the Tulsa mayor and park board officials, Americans United for Separation of Church and State urged the board to reverse its plan to erect a creationism exhibit.
“The proposed exhibit is by no means secular: It conveys a message of governmental endorsement of a very specific set of Judeo-Christian beliefs not shared by other religions or by many members of the Tulsa community,” stated AU’s letter.
In early July, the Park board voted to dump the plan for the creationism exhibit.
One board member told the Tulsa World that the board’s reversal was partly due to the intense opposition to the planned exhibit.