Of condoms, Catholics and the University of Georgia

UGA health service poster

UGA health service poster

Nothing, apparently, is more volatile than sex, universities and a state budget crisis.

You know that Georgia State University took a great deal of heat this month for academics who claim bookish expertise about such forbidden topics as oral sex and male prostitution.

So when the Catholic League in New York objected today to a birth control poster issued by the University of Georgia, the institution folded like a pair of twos. The reason? The poster featured Michelangelo’s image of the hand of God giving life to Adam — except that between the two fingers was a condom.

“Carefully open condom wrappers with your fingers — don’t use a sharp object,” advised the poster, which was placed in dorms by the university health service, as part of Sexual Health Awareness Week, which ended last Friday. As all of you know.

The Catholic League, in a complaint filed today with UGA vice president for student affairs, Rodney Bennett, said the university had “hijacked” an icon of Christianity.

“I hasten to add that the University of Georgia would never choose a depiction of Muhammad to hawk condoms. Indeed, only a few years ago an inoffensive depiction of this Islamic figure in a Danish cartoon led to murder and churches being burned to the ground. One can only imagine what would have happened had he been portrayed pushing condoms to youth,” wrote League president Bill Donahue.

CNN had already aired a morning spot about the GSU controversy, which included mention of a UGA course in “queer theory.”

The League filed its complaint about the condom poster at noon today. Bennett apologized by 2 p.m. Tom Jackson, UGA vice president for dealing with reporters on sensitive topics, emphasized his institution’s sincere regrets for the poster.

“[Bennett] understands that some in the Christian community might be offended by it, and he apologized to the Catholic League,” Jackson said. The UGA spokesman also pointed out that the posters had disappeared five days before the complaint was received.

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