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The Bible and Suicide

Religious Right: Jack Chick
Chick and Religion

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If Chick's theology is the only way to heaven, then what about other religions? I have a tall stack here of tracts in which Chick has depicted the evils and horrors of following other religions. Chick considers it a sign of "loving" people of all religions that Real Christians should refuse to respect those religions and preach that they are all evil lies.

Islam gets just one tract, and in that it is depicted as worshipping a false Moon God. Hinduism is also only given on tract, and in that an allegedly "true story" is told of a Christian who literally fights off the demons which are supposedly the "real" gods of Hinduism. Buddhism too gets a single tract but very little is actually said about that religion beyond the "false" teaching of reincarnation. Instead, the story leans upon the more common theme of a rich man who rejects Christianity but only discovers his error once he is sent to hell.

Judaism gets two tracts, but I'm not sure that's really a compliment. In one, a Rabbi is depicted as being a good man and devout Jew, but he is also shown rejecting scriptures which "prove" that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah simply because he is afraid that his people will reject him. In the end, of course, he dies and ends up in hell. A second tract proclaims "Love the Jewish People" - not because they are human beings and deserve love and not because they have been oppressed by hateful people. No, Jews are to be loved because they serve an important role in God's plan for humanity.

Even their sufferings at the hands of Satan, not men, are part of this grand plan. It is a standard belief among fundamentalists that although God made the Jews his Chosen People, he also singled them out for Chosen Misery whenever they strayed from his orders. Thus, all of the persecution they have experienced at the hands of Christians over the past two millennia is a direct punishment for their having rejected the alleged Messiah, Jesus. They get what they deserve and deserve what they get, no exceptions. This has sinister implications for the rest of us because it implies that whatever suffering a person experiences, it is because they somehow "really" deserve it - especially if they aren't a Real Christian in Chick's sense of the term.

His anti-semitism certainly isn't as obvious as it is among many right-wing Christians like Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanon. However, he does not hesitate to claim that both Lenin and Stalin were "of Jewish extraction" or that Jewish bankers control the infamous Illuminati.

Chick and Christians

The most anti-religion tracts published by Chick are directed against other Christian faiths. Of course, Chick would quickly deny that these groups are "real" Christians in any way. Naturally the Mormons are depicted in one tract and although I am not a Mormon, it isn't tough to see that Mormon doctrines are twisted in order to "prove" that Mormonism is anti-biblical. As an example, it is "shown" that Mormons believe that God was a man with the quote from Brigham Young that:

If our Father and God should be disposed to walk through these aisles, we should not know Him from one of the congregation. You would see a man and that is all you would know about Him.

This doesn't say that God was a man, but instead that God can mingle unknown among people. Jesus is certainly portrayed as walking among people and Jesus is identified as God by Christians. Although other passages from Mormon writings can be used to support the idea that God was once like us, the above certainly doesn't do it. So even when Chick is trying to argue a correct idea, the best he can manage is deceit.

Catholicism gets four whole tracts. Most Catholics are probably unaware of the deep hatred which many fundamentalist denominations hold for their religion, but the Chick tracts reveal that hatred in all its glory. The funniest is perhaps the one entitled "The Death Cookie," an absurd reference to the Eucharist wafer which Catholics take during the Mass. In it, we are shown how Satan instructs the first Pope to take control of the illiterate masses with fake magic acts and mysterious mannerisms. Catholicism is portrayed as occultic, with practices stemming from ancient religions in Babylon and Egypt. Of course, it is true that Catholic traditions have old roots, but Chick-Christians fail to acknowledge that all of Christianity suffers from this.

Oddly enough, Chick has some very odd conspiracy theories about Catholicism's role in world affairs. Evidently, Jesuits worked with both Marx and Engles to create the Communist Manifesto in an effort to undermine the Russian Czar who was protecting Orthodox Christianity. Unfortunately, the Orthodox church and the communists made a deal which undermined the Vatican's evil plans, so they had to create the Nazi Party in order to get even. However, the Vatican is still evidently convinced that communism will win in the end and so supports communist movements throughout the world.

So, Catholics are depicted as going to hell because they don't actually follow what is in the bible and instead listen to what their priests say. Chick explicitly tells people that they should not accept Catholics as "brothers and sisters in Christ." They are to be treated as infidels, not Christians. I doubt that they would be too happy to hear about this, but that's what many extremely conservative Protestants actually think.

Chick's Christianity

The same messages about Jesus get repeated over and over in every single tract, but the fundamental immorality of that message is made clear in "The Execution." One of the simpler stories, it portrays a bad man (since he's not a Christian, of course he's bad!) who grows up hating and hurting until he finally kills an old man for his money. Tried and convicted, he is sentenced to death, but even that doesn't cause him to have a kind word for his poor old mother who keeps visiting him and giving him cookies.

Finally the morning of his execution comes and as he is led off, he is taken outside instead of to the expected hangman. Informed that someone else has been hung in his place and that he is now free, he demands to know who has died. His mother! Just in case any readers have the IQ of a gerbil and miss the analogy, the tract goes on to explain that Jesus has died for everyone because of their crimes.

But shouldn't we stop and wonder if what the mother did is moral? If what the prison did in executing her is moral? Absolutely, and this is something which most Christians never consider. If an innocent person is punished - even executed - for the crimes of another, has justice been served? Not even close. The mother's offer to suffer for her son's crimes is without a doubt very nice and very generous, but it is wrong for others to accept her offer like that. For true justice to exist, only those who do wrong should be punished and the innocent should never suffer for the crimes of others. If a prison were to execute a mother like that, the public outrage would be quick and loud. No one would be happy until all involved were punished harshly.

So, to reverse the analogy back again, God is like the prison which has accepted the sacrifice of an innocent person and so this God is no more moral or just than the prison would be. If we would rebel against a prison system that kills innocent people and frees guilty people, then we would have to rebel against a god which does the same. And what of the murderer? Although I am sure he would be happy to be free, he is only compounding his crimes by actually accepting the sacrifice of his mother. By leaving prison, he is refusing to take responsibility for his actions, instead allowing someone else to suffer on his behalf. This is neither mature nor moral.

A mature morality insists that people accept the consequences of their actions - and so if the murderer is immoral for walking away from his responsibilities, then so are Christians like those portrayed in Chick tracts who walk to heaven as if they had never done anything wrong in their whole lives.

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