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Dancing elephant statue stays, says Calgary Zoo
CBCNews.ca ^ | September 25, 2009 | staff reporter

Posted on 09/26/2009 12:01:04 AM PDT by Daffynition

The Calgary Zoo said it has no plans to remove a dancing elephant statue after a complaint from a Christian group that it's an inappropriate religious icon.

A private donor gave the statue, modeled after the Hindu god Ganesh, to the zoo in 2006 to stand in front of the Asian elephant exhibit.

As CBC News first reported, Concerned Christians Canada sent a letter raising its concerns that the statue was "selective religious partiality" to the zoo on Thursday.

"A lot of people are saying we're being intolerant. I don't consider asking that the zoo look at this from a balanced perspective being intolerant," said national chairman Jim Blake on Friday.

Zoo officials said the three-metre-tall statue has no religious symbols and is meant to simply show the link between elephants and Asian culture.

"Our desire in putting the statue here was to demonstrate to our visitors the connection between cultures and animals, much like the same way the bald eagle for example depicts the American culture, the lion Britain, the beaver Canada," explained Grahame Newton, the zoo's director of corporate services, on Friday.

'Handful' of complaints

Newton said the zoo received a "handful" of complaints when the statue was first erected.

"We tried to explain to them the tie-in with the culture and that it was not a religious symbol and that seemed to fade pretty quickly. We didn't hear much after that. We didn't hear anything after that until this most recent situation," Newton said.

Blake, who lives in Calgary, said the zoo should be neutral on matters of religion because it's a non-profit group that receives public funding.

"It's supposed to be about animals. It's supposed to be about teaching people about their different habitats," Blake told CBC News on Friday.

"But I don't believe that it's a place of religious worship, or a place of displaying religious icons. There's a place for that: temples and synagogues and churches and things like that. But the zoo is not a place of religious expression." Statue popular with visitors

Many visitors to the zoo on Friday stopped to pose for photos in front of the statue.

"We like it. We think it's cute," said Angie Thomshaw, who was visiting with her children. "That's never even crossed our minds. And I'm Christian. We're a Christian family and it doesn't offend us."

Tinu Ruparell, a professor of religious studies at the University of Calgary, called the complaint by Blake's organization "unfortunate."

"To pick this one out and say this is of a foreign god is … to mistake or not to look at all the other architecture, the symbols, the stuff that we are so used to in Canada we've kind of forgotten where they come from — which is usually a religious place," he said.

The zoo hosts carols and a light display at Christmas, as well as events at Easter.

The elephant statue was donated by a woman who wanted to honour the memory of her late father, said Newton.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Religion; Society
KEYWORDS: ganesh; hindu; statue; zoo

1 posted on 09/26/2009 12:01:06 AM PDT by Daffynition
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To: Daffynition

Cute statue. Seems perfect for a zoo.


2 posted on 09/26/2009 12:14:39 AM PDT by StolarStorm
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To: StolarStorm
Fortunately, people in Asia treat them better than they are treated in Africa. They are magnificent creatures.

I would support the Christian group but I think the statute is pretty harmless and not too Hindu.

3 posted on 09/26/2009 12:20:00 AM PDT by Frantzie (Do we want ACORN running America's healthcare?)
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To: Daffynition

Statue doesn’t bother me but I’m not Albertian


4 posted on 09/26/2009 12:23:27 AM PDT by wardaddy
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To: Daffynition
I like it, it reminds me of Tom Delay doing the cha-cha.

But I'd be hesitant if it were a camel wearing a bomb best.

Maybe I'll sculpt a statue of a jackass with teleprompters and donate that to their collection.

5 posted on 09/26/2009 12:33:12 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge)
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To: Daffynition

Half tempted to save that image, just in case I ever get a Republican congress-critter who cuts his own office budget rather than spending federal money faster than Ted Kennedy on a bender.


6 posted on 09/26/2009 12:42:16 AM PDT by kingu (Party for rent - conservative opinions not required.)
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To: Daffynition

7 posted on 09/26/2009 12:54:10 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: Daffynition
Some better views of it. Pretty cool!


8 posted on 09/26/2009 1:06:47 AM PDT by Dumpster Baby (Truth is called hate by those who hate the truth.)
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To: wardaddy

May be it’s more of a religious zealots thing, than a nationality thing.


9 posted on 09/26/2009 1:48:02 AM PDT by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: JoeProBono

10 posted on 09/26/2009 1:49:39 AM PDT by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: Dumpster Baby
Thanks for the additional pix. Very cool.


11 posted on 09/26/2009 1:53:10 AM PDT by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: piasa

12 posted on 09/26/2009 1:56:13 AM PDT by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: Daffynition

This is a result of people who romanticize other cultures, and consider them simply ‘cute’. Liberals sometimes forget that some statues symbolize religious icons that akin to putting a statue in Christian tradition. Ask them to put the statue of Patmos Eagle.


13 posted on 09/26/2009 3:33:22 AM PDT by paudio (Road to hell is paved by unintended consequences of good intentions)
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To: Dumpster Baby

Its pretty funny. How could somebody not like it? Stuffed shirts.


14 posted on 09/26/2009 4:19:52 AM PDT by Lockbar (March toward the sound of the guns.)
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To: Daffynition
Concerned Christians Canada

For crying out loud. These folks are as bad as the offended Muslims or offended atheists.

15 posted on 09/26/2009 4:22:55 AM PDT by csvset
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To: Daffynition
Tell them it's a Republican Icon, they'll ban it so fast it'll make your head spin!

"Power to the Pachyderms!"

Cheers!

16 posted on 09/26/2009 6:35:06 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: csvset
For crying out loud. These folks are as bad as the offended Muslims or offended atheists.

No they're not.

Muslims would have killed somebody and the atheists would have compelled removal by the courts.

Nice try, though.

17 posted on 09/26/2009 6:36:33 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers

It’s idolatry damn it, heathens ! Better ?


18 posted on 09/26/2009 6:41:42 AM PDT by csvset
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To: grey_whiskers
Hey g_w

I'm still suffering from 'the elephant in the room syndrome'


19 posted on 09/26/2009 7:02:36 AM PDT by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: csvset
It's all a balancing act. PC-ism's what dunit.


20 posted on 09/26/2009 7:05:07 AM PDT by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: Daffynition

21 posted on 09/26/2009 8:07:59 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono

In leu of this image ...what is it with wimmens and elephants?

22 posted on 09/26/2009 8:13:20 AM PDT by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: Daffynition

23 posted on 09/26/2009 8:28:48 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono

24 posted on 09/26/2009 8:45:30 AM PDT by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: Daffynition

25 posted on 09/26/2009 9:11:04 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono

26 posted on 09/26/2009 9:13:26 AM PDT by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: Daffynition

27 posted on 09/26/2009 9:23:59 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono

28 posted on 09/26/2009 9:38:04 AM PDT by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: Daffynition
Doo Wop


29 posted on 09/26/2009 9:51:52 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono
Glad to see you're redeeming yourself!


30 posted on 09/26/2009 9:54:30 AM PDT by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: Daffynition

o/~ Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Stayin' alive, stayin' alive! ~\o

31 posted on 09/26/2009 10:50:51 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (Crazy is the new sane.)
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To: Daffynition

Perfect...


32 posted on 09/26/2009 4:35:09 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge)
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To: Slings and Arrows
Check out the pantz! LOL
33 posted on 09/26/2009 4:42:57 PM PDT by Daffynition (What's all this about hellfire and Dalmatians?)
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To: Daffynition

A universal truth: Jimi Hendrix was the only man in history who looked good in bell-bottoms.


34 posted on 09/26/2009 6:21:04 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows (Crazy is the new sane.)
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