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Oakland Zoo removes Ten Commandments monument before atheist group protest

Ruth Tam
SF Public Press
 — Jul 27 2012 - 2:33pm

After hearing complaints about the Ten Commandments monument in the publicly owned Oakland Zoo, the president of the zoo, Joel Parrot, denied ownership of the monument and had it removed Wednesday.

Though a bit delayed — Atheist Advocates of San Francisco dated the first complaint to 2008 — the zoo’s action came just before a scheduled protest on Sunday by a group of Bay Area atheist organizations.

The six-foot-tall plaque stood by the Snow building, typically used for special events. It was placed there in 1966 by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, a nonprofit organization composed of “people helping people.”

According to the organization’s website, it has distributed more than 10,000 Ten Commandments monoliths in public spaces since 1954 and has fought to keep them in place. Since then, several monuments have become the subject of legal debates regarding the separation of church and state, but none given by the Eagles has been removed after being deemed unconstitutional.

Though Parrot claims zoo officials had considered removing the plaque for years, they still maintained the monument’s constitutionality and said it was only removed now to make the zoo a more welcoming place.


Does anyone know where they put it after they removed it?

The City removed the 10 commandments in response to a demand letter sent by me on May 26th, 2012. Three days before a massive demonstration by several secular groups, and the East Bay Atheists was scheduled, they took the monument down. The City removed the ten commandments to avoid the conflict, and a possible legal battle.
- Joey Piscitelli