28 March 2014, 16:44

50ft sperm whale banned from London park for being too religious

50ft sperm whale banned from London park for being too religious

The idea to beach a huge inflatable whale beside the Thames in London to re-enact a biblical story of Jonah was deemed too "religious" by the park management.

Organizers were hoping to place the 50ft sperm whale, owned by a circus troupe, in a park opposite Tower Bridge during the school summer holidays. The life-size creature, which children can explore inside, has been beached on the same spot in the past as part of a pirate-themed attraction for children. The Telegraph reports that this time it was the Bible Society hoping to help reintroduce a new generation of children to once familiar stories, following a research showing that children are increasingly unable to identify Bible stories such as Noah’s Ark or Moses which were once a basic childhood staple.

Society members insist that they their goal was not to promote any religious teaching but introduce children to some of the most dramatic stories previous generations would have known. However, their plans were left in disarray when the chief executive of the Potters Fields Park Management Trust, which runs the site, turned down the request explaining: "I am afraid that under the terms of our lease we are not allowed to have any events of a religious nature."

"The research we recently commissioned as part of Bible Society’s ‘Pass It On’ campaign showed that 80 per cent of all parents think their children should have the opportunity to engage with Bible stories," argued James Catford, chief executive of the Bible Society. "We thought that giving children the chance to sit in a large inflatable whale and have the story of Jonah read to them was a good place to start."

"We’re not here to tell children what to believe. We simply want to give them a really fun experience they will always remember," he added.

The society is now looking for a new spot to beach the whale.

Voice of Russia, The Telegraph

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