Jesus and Mohammed Smooching: Gay ‘Tolerance’ Cartoon Published by University of Toronto

By John-Henry Westen

TORONTO, February 20, 2006 ( - The University of Toronto’s Victoria College student newspaper The Strand, has used the controversy surrounding the cartoons ridiculing Islam to bash Christianity and Islam simultaneously. Accompanying an article on the cartoon controversy, the paper published a cartoon of its own depicting Jesus smooching with Mohammed in the “Tolerance Tunnel”.

“The cartoon is a sort of Canadian statement on religious tolerance,” Nick Ragaz, managing editor of The Strand, the student newspaper of Victoria University at U of T told the Toronto Star. “This is not an act of hate,” he said. “It’s controversial, yes, but it’s no attack,” said Ragaz.

The University is backing the controversial piece. Paul Gooch, president of Victoria University said “The editorial in this issue of The Strand provokes and invites discussion, not intolerance.” The Strand editorial cartoon, “however offensive to some members of our community, could not be characterized as a violation of the Human Rights Code, the Criminal Code, or the applicable University policies at Vic or U of T,” the Star reports Gooch having written.

However, the University of Toronto tends to be selective when it comes to freedom of speech.

In 2004, a pro-life club at the university wanted to present a pictorial display which graphically compared abortion to historically recognized genocides. The University of Toronto obstructed the free speech rights of its pro-life students. The university insisted that the display be erected in an open-sided tent with most of the posters facing inwards, making it virtually impossible for the signs to be seen from outside the tent. (see coverage: )

The University seems to be particularly sensitive when it comes to homosexuality. When internationally renowned Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft delivered a talk at the university in 2003 which expounded Catholic teaching on homosexuality, the Student administrative council passed a resolution to declare the talk as hate and demanded an official hate-speech investigation. (coverage: )

Finally, the university has been openly discriminating in hiring practices against those not sharingÂits left-leaning ideology. In 1999, an ad for a tenure-track professorship at the University of Toronto appeared in the August bulletin of the Canadian Association of University Teachers saying that only candidates with a “feminist and anti-racist perspective” need apply. At the time, University of Toronto Professor Thomas Pangle, said that the ad “makes explicit what I had thought was usually only implicit, namely, that ideological conformity was the chief prerequisite for such a position at our university.” (coverage: )

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