While other bloggers have posted on the elephant-statue silliness at the Calgary Zoo, at first I wanted to post about it too because I love the photo.
Short recap: Kristian nutbar group complains that the statue -- which has been there for two years -- demonstrated 'selective religious partiality' on the Zoo's part. Zoo says: Nertz to you. Must have been a slow news day or maybe photo editors liked the photo too because this silliness gets media coverage.
But who is this Kristian nutbar group? It is Concerned Christians Canada.
From its website (extraneous semi-colon included):
Concerned Christians Canada (CCC) is; working at preserving Christian and parental freedoms, standing as a voice for the unborn and the afflicted, encouraging traditional family values, and pressing for moral leadership in all positions of authority and influence. CCC is also involved in speaking out for Christians who are being persecuted in Canada and speaking out for the rights of the poor.
OK. Now let's hear from wiki:
The group is actively opposed to same sex marriage and operates under a for-profit funding framework.
While the outfit is now fronted by a man named Jim Blake, it was founded by Craig Chandler, whose present connections to the group, according to wiki, are unknown.
Craig Chandler, Craig Chandler. Why does that name seem familiar?
More from wiki:
Chandler, who is from Ontario, caused controversy in August 2007 for comments stating, "You came to here to enjoy our economy, our natural beauty and more. This is our home and if you wish to live here, you must adapt to our rules and our voting patterns or leave. Conservatism is our culture. Do not destroy what we have created.". This statement was strongly criticized by some, including the Premier of Alberta, Ed Stelmach.
Lightbulb! The 'we-don't-need-no-steenking-libtards-in-Alberta' guy.
But wait, there's more.
Chandler also ran for the leadership of the Conservative Party, but there were 'concerns'.
One concern was Chandler's association with a conservative Christian organization (the Concerned Christian Coalition), a group vocally opposed to homosexuality and gay rights. Chandler had been CEO of the organization when a letter was published in the Red Deer Advocate in 2002 by a member of that organization (Stephen Boissoin). In that letter ("Homosexual Agenda Wicked") Boisson suggested that homosexuals were as immoral as pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps, and that gay activists were "perverse, morally deprived individuals who are spreading their psychological disease". After numerous complaints the matter was referred to the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC). During the Commission's hearing in July 2007 Boissoin testified that Chandler was aware of the letter and supported him. On November 30, 2007, the AHRC ruled that the letter broke provincial human rights law and exposed gays to hatred and contempt. In the 81-page decision, Lori Andreachuk of the AHRC wrote "In my view, it is clear that the letter expresses hatred or contempt for a group of persons on the basis of their sexual preference". Prior to the decision and as part of a settlement with the AHRC, Chandler agreed to remove the letter from websites he controlled and further agreed to "cease and desist" from posting messages on the internet stating that homosexuals conspire against society, are sick, diseased or mentally ill, and want to have sex with children. As part of the settlement with the AHRC, Chandler was required to post a formal apology on his website as well as the terms of the settlement.
So, it seems that Concerned Christians are mostly
Why then the concern over Ganesha?
I read that wiki entry and found that Ganesha is a pretty groovy god, patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. OK, I can see how a god who cares about arts, science, wisdom, and intellect would get up the collective nose of a bunch of pig-ignorant fundies, but I couldn't find any connection to homosexuality.
Until I hit the bit about how he came to have an elephant head. There are several variants to the tale, including this one:
Another story says that Ganesha was created directly by Shiva's laughter. Because Shiva considered Ganesha too alluring, he gave him the head of an elephant and a protruding belly.
He found him alluring??!!!?!1? Off with his head!
Ya think this is the connection between raving homophobes and a joyous statue at a zoo?
Nah, me neither.
BONUS! My sweetie, who is a sculptor, was curious about the piece. I found a link with lots more photos. No mention of the sculptor.