Cunningham compared Cincinnati Zoo to Bull Connor for pulling out of planned partnership with Creation Museum

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

Radio host Bill Cunningham compared the Cincinnati Zoo to Eugene "Bull" Connor, the Birmingham Public Safety commissioner infamous for using dogs and fire hoses against civil rights demonstrators in the 1960s. Cunningham made the remark while criticizing the zoo's decision to pull out of a promotional partnership with the Creation Museum, which seeks to "affirm the truth of the biblical record of the real origin and history of the world and mankind" and reportedly contains a display featuring "a triceratops with a saddle on its back."

On the December 2 broadcast of his Cincinnati-based radio show, Bill Cunningham compared the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden to Eugene "Bull" Connor, the Birmingham Public Safety commissioner infamous for using dogs and fire hoses against civil rights demonstrators in the 1960s. Cunningham made the comparison while discussing the zoo's decision to pull out of a promotional partnership with the Creation Museum, which, according to its website, seeks to "affirm the truth of the biblical record of the real origin and history of the world and mankind." The Louisville Courier Journal reported on December 1 that the zoo ended the partnership after receiving complaints that the Creation Museum -- which contains a display featuring "a triceratops with a saddle on its back" -- "promotes a religious point of view that conflicts with the zoo's scientific mission."

Cunningham stated of the zoo's decision: "[I]nstead of the zoo standing up against intolerance of Christianity and the bigots, they buckled under, and they did what every Bull Connor type have done since the days of Birmingham, Alabama: They allowed the passions of the mob and the opinions of the few to take the nation, or in this case the zoo, on a religiously bigoted course from which they had better get out of quickly." Cunningham also proclaimed, "We cannot put up with a religiously based discriminatory organization and the bigots at the Cincinnati Zoo who would do this to the Creation Museum. It's not necessarily about the museum; it's about publicly practiced bigoted racial discrimination against individuals who have a different faith set. Whether it's race discrimination or religious discrimination, it cannot stand."

Earlier in the broadcast, Cunningham said: "So I would imagine if the zoo would do a marketing deal with the NAACP, if there would be a lot of white racists that send emails to the zoo complaining about associating with colored people, would the zoo back down because of these emails?"

According to a December 1 press release by the Creation Museum's publicist, the marketing partnership between the zoo and the Creation Museum would have allowed visitors to pay a reduced price if they purchased tickets for both the zoo's Festival of Lights and the Creation Museum's Christmas event, Bethlehem's Blessings.

From the December 2 edition of Clear Channel's The Big Show with Bill Cunningham:

CUNNINGHAM: The zoo said, quote, "When we partner with the Reds, we don't get these kinds of emails," unquote. "It's pretty clear this is more of a distraction." So I would imagine if the zoo would do a marketing deal with the NAACP, if there would be a lot of white racists that send emails to the zoo complaining about associating with colored people, would the zoo back down because of these emails? And how about the bigots who exhibit discrimination against Christianity? They're in the same category of the Ku Klux Klan and white racist bigots who would complain if the zoo would partner with the NAACP. So I guess the standard is if five or 10 people send emails to the Cincinnati Zoo complaining about a partnership deal, that means the zoo pulls it, right? So if they partner with a black organization and white racists complain, do you think the zoo would pull the promotion?

[...]

CUNNINGHAM: Why is there no outcry from the Christian community, which is 85 percent of us? We cannot put up with a religiously based discriminatory organization and the bigots at the Cincinnati Zoo who would do this to the Creation Museum. It's not necessarily about the museum; it's about publicly practiced bigoted racial discrimination against individuals who have a different faith set. Whether it's race discrimination or religious discrimination, it cannot stand. This would not happen against any other religion in the Tri-State. It would be an outrage if Islam or Muslims were targeted in such a fashion.

So the next time the zoo comes up for a levy, they're gonna have one forceful advocate right here educating and informing you once again. At a moment in history when the zoo had an occasion to stand up against intolerance and against the bigots, and instead of the zoo standing up against intolerance of Christianity and the bigots, they buckled under, and they did what every Bull Connor type have done since the days of Birmingham, Alabama: They allowed the passions of the mob and the opinions of the few to take the nation, or in this case the zoo, on a religiously bigoted course from which they had better get out of quickly.

The zoo had better reconsider what they've done because they're gonna have forceful advocates throughout the Tri-State working hard to make sure that a zoo levy never passes again as long as the leaders of the zoo are bigots, and that's exactly what they are.

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