Blog Template Theology of the Body: Pygmies in Zoos

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pygmies in Zoos

The Pygmy people are a tribe and ethnic group within modern Congo. At the turn of the last century, some of them were captured by Americans and transported to the Bronx Zoo in New York, where they were kept on display as part of the monkey exhibit. One of the most well known of the captured persons was Mr. Ota Benga, whose story was recounted on NPR today. When he finally was released from his cage in the Bronx Zoo, he attempted to become naturalized as a U.S. citizen. Failing this, he tragically committed suicide.

At the time, Christian clergy appropriately protested this monstrosity, but the gain to advocates of the newly arrived evolutionary theories of natural selection was just too great, and the public had responded with fascination.

...This is why we argue for the intrinsic dignity of the human person, whose life is invested with value by his Creator. This is why, from time to time, we must sternly question those accounts of origins that discount the presence of the moral and intentional will of the Father, and which thus reduce humanity to material causes and effects, "some being more advanced than others."