Cover of the Insurgent (image altered for propriety).

A Catholic activist organization has written to Oregon’s governor and state lawmakers to protest a University of Oregon student newspaper for having published cartoons showing Jesus Christ naked and with an erection.

In its March edition, the Insurgent, an “alternative” student paper on the Eugene, Ore., campus printed 12 hand-drawn cartoons of Jesus as a response to rival paper the Commentator having published the controversial cartoons of Muhammad originally published in Europe that sparked Muslim riots worldwide. The Insurgent claimed it published the drawings to “provoke dialogue.”

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said the university’s president, Dave Frohnmayer, had been unresponsive to complaints about the drawings, so he had written to the governor, every state legislators and the chancellor of the Oregon University System, among others.

Drawing featured inside paper spanning two pages (image altered for propriety).

“The March edition of the Insurgent … was one of the most obscene assaults on Christianity I have ever seen,” Donohue said in a statement. “To make sure that the persons I wrote to understand how vile this attack was, I sent a photocopy of the two most offensive graphics: one was a depiction of a naked Jesus on the cross with an erection; the other, titled ‘Resurrection,’ showed a naked Jesus kissing another naked man, both sporting erections.”

Donohue also says there were other depictions of Jesus on the cross that were “so gratuitously offensive that only the most depraved would defend them.” He also noted the paper published two commentaries attacking Catholicism.

“That all of this appeared in a student newspaper, during Lent, on the campus of a state institution, makes one wonder what is going on at the University of Oregon,” added Donohue.

While not describing the more sexual drawings, the main student newspaper at the university, the Oregon Daily Emerald, also criticized the Insurgent.

“The Insurgent editorial indicates a desire to show Americans why the original cartoons were so offensive to the Muslim world,” wrote the editor of the Emerald. “According to the editorial, ‘What is “not a big deal” in the US (sic) is apparently a humongous big deal to others. Why should we assume it would not be?’

“However, printing home-grown cartoons depicting Jesus on a cross/pogo stick or Jesus on a cross/hangliding apparatus are not inflammatory in the same manner as the anti-Islam cartoons, and therefore fail to produce the intended empathy from Christians to Muslims.”

Added the paper: “Unlike the Danish cartoons, the Insurgent drawings seem intended to simply incite controversy for controversy’s sake rather than making specific social commentaries.”

A spokesman for Frohnmayer contacted WorldNetDaily after press time to say that the university president had posted a statement regarding the controversy surrounding the cartoons:

“I share your concern about the offensive nature of the content contained within the publication.

“I understand why it may seem as if the University should have prevented publication or should take some action against those responsible for the publication. The Student Insurgent is not owned, controlled or published by the University of Oregon and is funded with student fees. Therefore, the University cannot exercise editorial control over its content.

“The best response to offensive speech often is more speech. … I am strongly opposed to speech that makes individuals feel that they or their beliefs are unwelcome or belittled, and I can assure you I will use all permissible means to respond to publications such as the recent Insurgent.”

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