It was a packed house at a special meeting of the Tulsa park board Thursday morning, as they voted on whether to allow a Christian display on creationism at the Tulsa Zoo.
The controversy started when a Christian group noticed an elephant statue at the zoo, which they say represents the Hindu god, Ganesha. News on 6 reporter Steve Berg was at the meeting and says the zoo issue got a little wild.
The park board did not allow any public comment, which didn't sit well with the public. In fact, one man, who appeared to be against the Creation exhibit, walked out, but it was the exhibit's supporters who had more to be upset about.
In the end, the board voted to reverse their earlier approval of the Creation exhibit and to keep the elephant statue. Dan Hicks: "The zoo has basically put themselves right back in the position they were when the petitioners started this." Dan Hicks, who spearheaded the creationism display, doesn't understand why their display is being censored while others are let in. "They have religious displays; that is not debatable." Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune agrees. He cast the lone "no" vote. "I've studied the issue, there's no doubt in my mind, it is. It is a Hindu god, it's prayed to. Whether they thought it was going to be perceived that way when they put it in, whether anyone has ever noticed it, those are not the issues, today."
The issue now and the only "legal" solution, he believes, is to display all religions or none at all. "If we're really going to be a museum and we're really going to have cultural icons, like the Ganesha. Why are we excluding other cultural icons? That issue, in my mind, still has to be resolved."
Hicks says he's not contemplating a lawsuit himself, but says other supporters of the creationism display might be.
Mayor LaFortune still believes the best solution is to have one display, which has content from multiple religions and beliefs. For the time being though, the whole issue seems to be up in the air.