College Comics Stir Controversy

By: Autria Godfrey
By: Autria Godfrey

September 8, 2006

Editors of the Cavalier Daily have recently come under fire for the publication of comic strips that many feel are a flagrant attack on Christianity.

When a cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammed with a lit bomb resting in his turban was released earlier this year, members of the Muslim community were outraged. Now Christians are the ones upset by offensive comics printed right on UVa grounds.

Recently published comics in the student-run paper at the University of Virginia have received intense scrutiny and criticism, and not for their journalistic qualities.

The three different comic strips depict the Virgin Mary with a venereal disease, Jesus Christ being crucified on a Cartesian coordinate plane, and Jesus dying alongside a woman in a car crash and then using profanities, images considered foul by most in the religious community.

"I think they're comics that any believing Christian would probably take offense at," Father Brian Mulcahy of St. Thomas Aquinas said.

In a statement released by the editor in chief of the Cavalier Daily, he says an apology will not be issued and the offensive comics will remain on the paper's website.

According to their censorship policy, images that do not depict a true historically verifiable event or poke fun at a group for situations they cannot change will not be censored, a practice that is now common for many papers.

"It is a disturbing trend that it seems that believing Christians are the ones who are allowed to be mocked and tolerance doesn't extend to Christians who actually believe what their faith professes," Father Mulcahy continued.

Despite the comic strip's controversy reaching as far as New York, some here feel that reader's should just take the joke at face value.

"I think maybe they're overreacting a little bit, I mean it's a comic's page, it's meant to be a little funny," 2nd year student Ricky Yezzi said.

It was originally the Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights that originally asked for the apology to which the paper said no. Even though the New York based group doesn't have a chapter here in Charlottesville they say it was UVa students that alerted them to the cartoons.

The most recent time the paper has censored a comic strip was back in April when a comic made a reference attacking homosexuality.

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