The Tulsa Zoo in Oklahoma is being accused of censoring an exhibit that explains the Genesis account of creation. A month after approving the display, the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board reversed course and voted 3-1 to disallow the proposed biblical creation exhibit.
The board cited public outcry over the creation display as one reason for the reversal. Also, a Dallas Morning News report quoted one of the board members who changed his vote as saying that he and his colleagues had gained "much better perception" than they'd had at the time of the original vote, and it had become clear that their best option would be to "leave the zoo just as it is."
Dan Hicks, the local Christian architect who the proposed the biblical creation exhibit, has condemned the oversight board's change of heart as a violation of Tulsa taxpayers constitutional liberties.
He maintains there must be something very special about the Genesis account of creation for the Park and Recreation board to insist on suppressing it, especially when the zoo already features religious symbols in other displays, including a statue of an elephant-like, Hindu deity.
Hicks feels it is only fair to include a display that expresses Christian beliefs about origins since polls have shown that well over 60 percent of Tulsa residents identify themselves as creationists, while only three percent identify themselves as naturalists -- people who do not believe any supernatural agency was involved in the origins of life and the universe. Nevertheless, he says, "Based on the content of this material, it's been censored."
Yet, the Oklahoma architect points out, "When the globe promoting the pantheistic message, 'The Earth is our mother, the sky is our father,' was erected, it was not censored. And when the Hindu god Ganesha was erected, it was not censored. Only the Genesis display has been singled out for censorship, and that should concern us as creationists and as Americans."
Hicks believes the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board that originally approved the creation display for the zoo ultimately caved in to the demands of a vocal minority.
He contends that the Interfaith Alliance, Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries and others of "these groups that claim to be all about tolerance and inclusion" are actually "more like political action committees affiliated with Americans United for Separation of Church and State."
Hicks believes that most local citizens support the biblical view of creation and the oversight board's decision to disallow the creation exhibit tramples the area residents' rights. However, he says those groups that opposed the creation exhibit, though in the minority, "were very loud and noisy -- and the board seemed to listen to them more than to the majority of taxpayers here in Tulsa."
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