By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- A mayoral candidate has resurrected a controversy over Creationism at the Tulsa Zoo.
A push to exhibit the Christian story of creation at the Tulsa Zoo failed four years ago. Republican candidate for Tulsa mayor, Anna Falling, is bringing the issue front and center.
It's the same exhibit and the same arguments, but now it is given from the bully pulpit of a candidate running for mayor.
"Some may ask why this issue during a Mayoral campaign? And I say why not?" said candidate Anna Falling.
For Anna Falling, the road to city hall runs through the Tulsa Zoo. She's made her Christianity central to her platform and now the exhibit depicting the Christian story of Creationism is her first campaign promise.
"Today we are announcing that God will be glorified in this city. He shall not be shunned. Upon our election, we hereby commit to honoring Him in all ways that He has been dishonored," said Anna Falling.
Falling says God was dishonored four years ago, when the Tulsa Parks Board rejected an exhibit which borrows heavily from the first book of the Bible. Supporters argue the zoo includes other religious icons like the Hindu god, Ganeesh, and Christianity should also have a place.
"I am surprised that has come back up again. It was a bad idea the first time around," said Brian Cross with Friends of Religion and Science.
Brian Cross fought the exhibit the first time around. He says the other exhibits that reference religion are not there to proselytize, but educate people about other cultures.
"They weren't put up here at the behest of any particular group in order to advance their agenda. That's the difference. She wants to promote for her religion. The curators of the zoo want to educate," said Brian Cross with Friends of Religion and Science.
"Unless we find ways to engage the Church back into public policy decisions we will be lost as a city, state and nation," said Anna Falling.
Her speech was part sermon, part rallying cry. And, it's already winning over some voters.
"I think she stands up very strong for her beliefs. And, I think by doing this she shows that. And, I think that's good. We need a mayor that comes up and is strong about their opinion and is not afraid to express their opinion," said Creationism supporter Angela Childress.
Anna Falling is gathering signatures to appeal to the Tulsa Parks Board about the Creationism exhibit.
A Tulsa Zoo spokesperson said in a statement that the Tulsa Parks Board resolved this issue in 2005, after a very public process involving the entire community.