Ding Ding! Wait, no, it’s not Law and Order. It’s much worse. Chick Tracts. Have you ever heard of them? If not, you are in for a hell of an introduction. Jack Chick was a whackjob that figured the best way to introduce people to God was through badly drawn and horribly written tiny comic books that cheerfully warned people they were going to roast in Hell unless they converted STAT. Today I bring you Senator Jason of Crimes against Divinity whose dissections properly tear apart, with hilarious effect, the insanity of these steaming piles of crap. It’s a lengthy post, but well worth the read. When you’re done, head over to his blog and read his others. You’ve never had a trip down the rabbit hole quite like this.
*Note: If you are offended by criticism of religion, you might not want to read this – but you’ll be missing a great post and a chance at discussion.*
I have the place to myself. No parties, no beer, no wild women clinging to the rafters. Instead, I have committed myself to your entertainment. That, and I figure that it’s either this or teaching myself Python programming or SolidWorks and to be honest, I’m tired of everything I do in front of this computer being work related. Well, there is Skyrim, but I think I’ve explored every single cave and sniped every dragon worth his weight in bones and scales from Riften to Markarth by now. Plus, we all know that I can’t get enough of Chick’s little passion plays.
Some call it an addiction. Others call it a desperate bid for attention. History will decide.
Right here, in a nutshell, is the reason why you can’t resist reading. See, the conservative Christian persecution complex is a pretty powerful thing. It has managed to convince grown adults that as believers, they are the modern-day victims of oppression, bigotry, hatred, and contempt as the secularists try to force religion into the shadows – much like Saints Bartholomew and Antipas of ancient times. Any day now, Christianity will be outlawed, atheism will be the law of the land, and believers will become nothing more than second class citizens, unable to hold a job, buy property, or get married without renouncing their faith and abandoning Jesus Christ.
In fact, the one and only thing holding back this new holocaust is the fact that … well … Christianity is the de facto religion of the United States, followed to some degree or another by about 85% of the population and the overwhelming majority of our lawmakers. It’s kind of tough to suffer persecution when you’re still basically running the show. Guess we’ll have to wait on those lions for another few hundred years.
With that bow on the back end of her dress, the girl on the left looks more like a wind up doll than an actual person. There’s even something a little “uncanny valley” about the way her arms are positioned. You can almost imagine the bow slowly turning as the internal clockwork moves her ever so slowly toward her friend in an odd, stiff-jointed shuffle … eyes blank, knees locked, with just the faintest sound coming from her mouth like an echo from a forgotten dream: “Jee .. sus … Jee … sus …”
I’d tell my mom about that too. And then never come back to school ever.
Meanwhile the kid on the swing in the background is going to kill himself.
It’s tough to tell from the picture on the cover if the protagonist of the story is Li’l Suzy or not. I know she’s a favorite of one of Jack Chick’s other illustrators, but I don’t know if they do crossovers between artists. (Uncle Bob, on the other hand, has featured prominently in Jack’s work – see “Gladys“, “The Nervous Witch“, etc.) Either way, you kind of get the feeling of what’s coming. It’s simple: add two kids (or one kid and a Victorian-Era clockwork automaton) talking on a playground, an over-reactive mother, that stupid dog he loves to draw (see blond girl’s shirt), and a sense of paranoia desperately begging for strong medication, and you have a recipe for another opportunity to win some souls!
“But Mom … – ” Nobody tells my daughter that Justin Bieber auto-tunes his voice! NOBODY!!
So Chick has it in for the ACLU. Big shock there. What’s even more of a shock to my system is laying eyes on that melting, gelatinous mass of skin, tweed, and soul-wrenching ugliness that is supposed to be one of their lawyers. Holy hell, Jack … first it was Ms. VD Spreadlegs, Holly, then Gladys. This guy looks like someone painted a face on the underside of their big toe. I guess you really want to make it easy for your target audience to figure out who to root for. Ahh, if only it were this easy in real life.
Speaking of which, has anyone seen a picture of Jack?
I guess we’re supposed to take from this that not only do you not like the ACLU, but also lawyers in general. And a lawyer for the ACLU, well … God just doesn’t bother with those people. They’re born, they live, they die, they go straight to hell. I’m not sure it even matters if they convert. Calvinism is funny that way.
You want 10 million dollars? For something a little girl said to your kid on a playground? Are you mad? What the hell country do you think you’re living i-
Oh … uhh, right. Carry on.
Ah. “Ann”. So this isn’t the famous Li’l Suzy. And here I was hoping the saga would continue. Maybe next time.
Here we come to the theme of the tract titled “This Would Never Happen“. If you go to the ACLU (or the American Humanist Association, or the Freedom From Religion Foundation) to bring up some gross violation of the First Amendment like a public school teaching creationism or posting the Ten Commandments in the front of a court building, the most they’ll do is sue to have it taken down since it violates the Establishment Clause.
“Ms Gordon, you are charged with a major hate crime!”
“… and I’m so intensely focused on this case that I will ignore the two bald, eyeless Nosferatu cosplayers coming at me from the crowd!” On second thought, they might just be zombies … in which case you’re safe since they only feed on brains.
Oooh, major hate crime, huh? Was she beating up the Jewish, Muslim, or atheist kids? Did she spend her recess holding up a sign that says “God Hates Fags?” Was she passing out pamphlets that say that same-sex parents are unfit and molest their children?
Stay tuned … only a few panels to go …
I’d like to say something, actually … isn’t it bad practice by the media to question a 6 year old regarding a legal trial instead of her mother? Where is her mother, anyway?
I could be jumping the gun here. She’s one of Chick’s Christians; in other words, the pure, wide eyed young believer who is innocently spreading the word of God’s free love gift to all of her friends while the hard, cruel, unbelieving world tries to punish her for her message. She’s so young and naive, she doesn’t even understand why they’re angry. Who would be angry at such a loving god?
Ah may barf.
Also, if watching the 24-hour cable news channels gives any good indication of this, religion – especially Christianity – is so institutionalized that you’re not going to get much attention at all if you say you have any kind of personal relationship with God. In some parts of the country it’s even expected, even if it isn’t necessarily always true … as Wolf Blitzer demonstrated when he was in Oklahoma. Point is, this would never happen, and the news channels wouldn’t even give stories like this a first glance before going instead to a novelty piece about a three legged pug that can fart the first few measures of Stairway to Heaven.
Your honor, if it pleases the court, I am now going to pass a cantaloupe through my rectum. You’ll pardon me if I look a bit strained.
I have news for you. The four major religions you are going to call to the stand really don’t care about what some other person’s religion has to say about salvation, especially since they all have something to say about the topic, they’re all different, and they all claim they’re right. Who cares? Humanity’s been doing this ever since we were walking upright.
As for brainwashing, I’m afraid that’s one of the goals of religion. Why do you think people are told all of these stories about Heaven, Hell, and the importance of not just being good, but truly believing, in order to avoid eternal torment as soon as they can understand language? That way, by the time they’re old enough to be able to think for themselves, it’s become so hard-wired into their heads that they don’t even bother questioning it.
Sooooo … I’m on the edge of my seat. What did she say?
You have got to be kidding me. Okay, let’s start at the top. Hate literature is material that promotes the restriction of a person’s or group’s human rights, or the ridicule, hatred, or violence against a person or group. This just talks about Christianity’s requirements for getting into heaven. Obviously, this is what Jack’s would use as his opposition’s example of “hate literature”, since it clearly doesn’t fit the bill.
The problem no matter what passages most mainstream Christians use as a guide for morality in our modern secular society, there’s still some pretty nasty, evil stuff in the Bible that can’t be ignored simply because we consider irrelevant, outdated, or inconceivably brutal.
That said, Ann’s parents (assuming they exist) would potentially have been in trouble if their daughter were handing out some home-made leaflets to her classmates condemning homosexuality, especially if it pointed to passages like Leviticus 20:13 – which specifically calls for putting them to death. Other than that, Ann herself would probably have been sent to a counselor if she demonstrated such an unshakable obsession with God that it interfered with her ability to get her work done … but that’s really about about it.
Sorry to burst your bubble, Jack. I understand that reality would have made for a boring tract, so instead of representing real life we have a bad episode of Perry Mason with some South Park and what looks like The Muppet Show thrown in. Kudos.
I think that’s Dr. Zaius to the left of our lawyer friend’s head.
Danny O’Tool? Really? This guy’s ugly as hell with enough real estate in the eyebrow department to pull off a direct, front-to-back combover, so I can only guess he’s supposed to be one of the bad guys. Yep. I guessed right. And he’s covered in religious regalia, so he must be from the Catholic Church.
I don’t get his problem. They follow the bible – or at least they say they do – and if the bible says there’s no other way except through Jesus, then what’s the issue? They’re all good. Ah, I remember now … Jack says Catholics aren’t Christians because they worship Mary and their Death Cookie.
In my 20 years of Catholic upbringing, I have NEVER heard of the Church as “the Mother Church”, or, for that matter, Mary being worshipped as God’s equal. Maybe I went to a more liberal branch and never knew it. I know we used to say Hail Marys, especially for confession … but I was always left with the impression that we were just giving respect to the woman who supposedly gave birth to God 2.0 without so much as dinner and some flowers.
The teachings of the church come from, among other places, the bible, which is designed to teach a narrow doctrine. Religions kind of do that. Your occupation and the history of your own church should have made you pretty familiar with that idea.
Sorry, I don’t know what got into me. We’re all supposed to be siding with innocent, wide-eyed Annie and her harmless bible teachings … and we forget that people like Danny base their teachings off the very same thing.
Oh shit, I almost choked on my Cheetos. Abdulla Ab-Du-La? Drawn suspiciously like Ayatollah Khomenei? Come on. I know that we’re supposed to think all Muslims look alike and all, but damn, Jack. If you can’t do something well, don’t do it at all.
“Islam is outraged!” Well, that’s one thing he has right. They do tend to get a little heavy handed with the fatwahs. And the rioting, depending on where you are. It’s not so much because anything from Christianity “destroys” their religion, but the fact that you’re not submitting your will to Allah … and that demands a paddlin’. It might even get you a beheading if you’re in the wrong part of the world.
By the way, it’s “peace be upon him”, ya dingus.
As for you, Rabbi … you pretty much have it. If that statement is true, then no one but people like Jack are going to go to heaven. (Though the Jewish outlook on the afterlife is a little different from the Christian one.) The rest of us have an eternity of hot poker colonoscopies and molten lead enemas to look forward to. At least the company will be more interesting, at least until the break’s over.
By that rationale, I really hope HP Lovecraft isn’t right. I mean, shit.
I think many things should be removed from the bible, following the recommendations made by Thomas Jefferson. It’s amazing what he did with a half dozen copies of the bible, an Exacto knife, a glue stick, a 12-pack of PBR, and the presence of mind to know that morality isn’t contingent upon belief in a personal god. Moving a little further in time, I submit that the “women’s bible” (complete with lavender font and calcium-enriched pages) should be banned outright. What chutzpah is it to make a book for women about a religion that, among other things, promotes the subjugation of its target audience?
Oh hey they got Christopher Lee to cameo! Awesome! Jack even got the scowl down to a T. He should have kept his hair long, Saruman style. Sure, he kind of looked like an Afghan hound, but you wouldn’t dare tell him that to his face.
I’d really like to know where an intimate knowledge of Greek and Hebrew would help in identifying another way to heaven if you’re just looking at the bible. Regardless, I can’t understand why Jack is so afraid of a good, modern day translation being derived from all of the original Greek / Hebrew manuscripts we have today by actual biblical scholars (not the church or fundies), as opposed to what was used to make the KJV.
“… what did you say to Debbie Baxter?”
I told her that hush puppies were made out of real dogs, and that if you spun around three times in front of a mirror chanting “bloody Mary”, you’ll see the devil. From the mouths of babes comes the truth, after all. How could someone this young and innocent possibly be wrong?
I remember going to a church where a friend of ours was a pastor. We weren’t believers then either, but we went because he’s a friend and he asked us to. After the mass, we were walking around the “fellowship” area where people gathered and talked for a bit before heading back home. I recall seeing quite a few people with the same unsettling look on their faces that Annie has on hers. They walked around you, blinking noticeably less than they should, giving you the feeling that they were not only looking at you, but at a point somewhere in the middle of your head like they were trying to find your soul in the same way you find those secret images in a Magic Eye poster.
We didn’t stay long.
To be fair, though, I never ran into that kind of off-putting, wall-eyed serenity growing up … guess it depends on the church. Needless to say, I don’t think we’re going back.
It just occurred to me … doesn’t Annie get any sort of legal representation either? Where are her parents? Couldn’t they afford lawyers? Did they choose to let their daughter represent herself? I’m sure that if they were in the courtroom, they would be good looking. I mean, they’re Christian, after all. I guess maybe if she had outside support, it would ruin the defenseless Christian thing he’s got going.
“Mom, is our lawyer’s head getting bigger? Like, is he calling me to the stand so he can eat me?”
“Ugggh, it’s horrible … the stress is so much that my head has started radiating its own natural light. I can’t get to sleep at night because I can actually see the insides of my own eyeballs!” Again, Mom’s Spidey Sense notwithstanding, stuff like this happens a lot more frequently when the status quo is disrupted in a religious part of the country. Case in point, I saw this sort of reaction from my old CCD teacher, who would damn near have a nervous breakdown when anyone started pushing back on the stuff she was telling us. If you see atheists suffering a case of apoplexy, it’s usually because kids like Annie have the backing of the school district and no one seems to be aware that there’s any problem at all.
Florida, I’m looking in your direction …
“I didn’t get to tell her the best part.” Well, that’s because your mom doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who listens much. But by all means, Debbie, please tell Evil Mr. Whipple what happened next. Squeeze nothing and walk away slowly.
“After Annie told me to convert, I asked Jesus into my heart. Then we went over to Amir and his friends and started beating the crap out of them because they’re a bunch of unbelievers. It’s okay … god told us to, like he told Saul to wipe out the Ammonites. Then we started speaking in tongues and casting out demons. I know for sure we were saved because we were able to stomach the cafeteria food without being chained to the toilet for the next hour. Hallelujah!
I’m so happy now! I can do whatever I want and hide behind the bible while I do it! It’s like a blank check!!”
Uhh … that is the way it works now … right?
Wait a second. I’m no lawyer but how did the kid manage to convince the judge to dismiss Mom’s case? The trial wasn’t about the philosophy of Christianity but about whether Annie committed a hate crime. This might serve to explain some of Jack’s interpretation of the law in other respects, such as the use of his images for satirical purposes.
Guess he hasn’t noticed me or my timeless inspiration, “Enter the Jabberwock” yet. (Wait, why am I sending you over to him? Ignore the link and read mine! I need the attention!!)
It was a zombie jamboree
Took place in the New York cemetery
Oh, it was a zombie jamboree
Took place in the New York cemetery
Zombies from all parts of the island
Some of them are great Calypsonians
Since the season was carnival
They got together in bacchanal
And they were singing …
… sorry. Was the first thing I thought of and I had to go with it. I got nothing else.
They were all buried next to one another? Must have gotten close after the trial.
“A much higher court takes over …”
Boy, Jesus, you sure changed since your rebellious younger days, didn’t you? Now you’re all fire and brimstone like your father … other you … whatever. Well, if you ever decide to beget another son-who-is-still-you, I hope he’s just as bad as you were at that age. I wonder how he would react to how you’ve turned out?
Ah, impetuous youth …
I will never allow sin into Heaven
Maybe not, but you certainly let it have free reign on Earth, and even helped along a number of times.
(Job 1:6) – One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
(Job 2:1) – On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
Where were you, O Lord, when you and the Prince of Darkness himself were considering Job? Did you kick his ass out when you saw him? NoooOOOOooo … you asked him where he came from, he gave some half-assed answer which, by the way, you should have known. When did Satan go from (no pun intended) the Devil’s Advocate to the bad guy? Oh, right … New Testament.
(Isaiah 45:6-8) That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it.
Yeah … you’re a real hardass with the “true source of evil”. Humanity, on the other hand, gets the shit end of the stick as usual. Just as the Pharaoh whose heart was personally hardened by God so He could make a point. And the less said about the entire books covering the genocide of Israel’s neighbors, the better.
BEHOLD I AM THE GOD OF NEGATIVE SPACE, INTRICATE LINE PATTERNS, AND THE “SPRAY” FEATURE IN MS PAINT.
Okay, I’ve had enough. I did this in another tract, but it bears repeating since Jack has a habit of pulling this crap. John 8:24 talks about faith, but let’s open our Bibles to Matthew, Chapter 25:
41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Jack doesn’t really focus much on the rest of the passage. He loves the first verse, but conveniently omits the fact that God is condemning people here for lacking mercy, compassion, charity, and love for one’s fellow man. No surprise, since given the material in these tracts, it’s something I personally doubt we’d see in their author either.
Who the hell is that guy at the end? It looks like a young Weird Al after a fight with an electric shaver, a bottle of hair gel, and a collection of unsolicited fashion tips from Don Johnson, circa 1985.
Oh, this is supposed to be the token queer gay homosexual to give the group of sinners a little more diversity. I’m not sure who the two guys in the back are supposed to be, unless they’re just some unexpected cameos from Mad Magazine.
“Satan does not want you to believe the gospel, so he and his followers call it ‘hate literature’.” Well, it depends. If someone quotes a passage from the bible like the Sermon on the Mount, or even Matthew 25:41-46 as a way to encourage good behavior, I don’t really see a problem. When another person starts picking out passages to spread the message that women are inferior to men, or we should be discriminating against (or criminalizing) homosexuals, citing verses that say they should be put to death, well … we’re going to have a problem. Talk like that is meant to encourage people to take action in response, even if it does ask that they throw away the last 3,200 years of societal modernity to do it.
The bible has it all, and more. Owning people and giving guidelines on how severely to beat them, the appropriate amount of money to pay a girl’s father for “damaged goods” if you rape her, and scores of tales about wiping out entire peoples because they didn’t meet God’s approval. Despite this, I wouldn’t call it “hate literature”. It’s certainly not what we should use as a basis for our modern moral and legal code, but it has some value as a historical and cultural text.
Personally, I think it would have more value put in a museum somewhere while we base more of our rules of law – as Richard Dawkins put it – on secular moral philosophy and rational discussion … but hey, I’m just a godless heathen.
That’s right, you can trust us! We’re showing you the way to God’s FREE LOVE GIFT, so you’ll be saved, and go to heaven where there are angels playing harps, an endless supply of bagels, cream cheese, gravalox, and scores of free slobber-free, house trained puppies that will always want to play fetch with you! Who could possibly reject something like that? By which we mean you shouldn’t reject it. You really, really, shouldn’t. It would be bad. Very bad. We’re talking being cast into a lake of fire by one of God’s angels, where your skin will blister and burn off, and demons will eat your eyes while the Fallen Angels play jump rope with your intestines. And don’t forget the hot pokers. They’re still aimed directly at your ass, without a jar of Vaseline in sight.
Remember, God loves you!