Chick Tracts and Missionaries

By Jack Chick

If you've never seen a Christian tract produced by Jack Chick (who has sold over 400 million of them in over 70 languages), they are cartoon booklets that one reviewer summed up as "hard core Protestant pornography." The reviewer continued, "Consider the following scenarios found in Chick tracts. One: a masked burglar penetrates a dwelling but is welcomed by the unusually friendly occupant. The two hug and the scene ends with the burglar crying, 'I want it! I want it!' and dropping on his hands and knees to the floor. Two: a young, unmarried couple who are 'all love, man,' are invited into a bachelor's pad by its two muscular occupants, who have been hoping they'd come. After gasping and sobbing with joy the couple leaves '20 minutes later' relieved and grateful. Three: a bearded hipster in a turtleneck enters a gay bar and asks a lonely guy if this seat is taken. Bearded turtleneck tells lonely guy that he knows 'a special love' that can 'fill that emptiness,' adding, 'You've tried everything else.' The two leave the bar together and we see a final shot: lonely guy raises his eyes to the ceiling and says, 'I want you to control everything,' while bearded turtleneck clenches his fist in grim passion.

"This is spiritual porn, pure sadomasochistic fantasy with an emphasis on the rhetorical foreplay leading up to the inevitable seduction and submission to Jesus Christ. The money shot, when it comes, is a close-up of the humiliated but grateful sinner gasping, sobbing, and quaking with passion as the salty body fluid of tears coats his or her smooth, round cheeks. Even if the sinner rejects Jesus Christ we get to see him on his knees gasping, sobbing, and quaking with passionate agony before an unmoved Jesus on the Day of Judgment. Either way, the sadistic Chick gets his fix. Chick calls these lost souls, 'broken' in his first printed tract, Why No Revival? 'Fill me with your love,' a man prays on his knees, his rump turned to face the reader: 'I'm vile and unworthy.'

"There are numerous variations: a bound and gagged woman sweet-talks her rough-and-tumble captors into joining her on the floor; a waitress at a truck stop can't resist joining the shocking intimacy displayed by a threesome at her table; two young bucks with bibles knock on the door of a lonely, middle-aged woman. But all the fantasies use the conventions of pornography: strangers meet (they are often celebrity look-a-likes) and through a sequence of wooden dialogue, bad acting, and clunky transitions immediately establish an unrealistic level of intimacy climaxing with the words 'gasp!' 'sob,' and joyous close ups of squirting, salty body fluids.

After the action a lame joke serves as the coda and the tract is titled with a ripped-off mainstream movie title or pop-culture phrase: Miss Universe, The Gay Blade, or Superman. Chick tracks are the Tijuana bibles of Christianity. (For those of you not 'in the know,' Tijuana bibles were primitive porno comics in a tiny rectangular format widely circulated throughout the early and mid-twentieth century.)"
- Daniel K. Raeburn, "The Holy Book of Chick," The Imp, No.2, 1998

People need religion like they need a lift in their shoe. If it makes them feel a little taller and happier about themselves, fine. But if you keep that lift in your shoe all the time, as you walk, jog, play sports, then you can wind up sore, or maybe even crippled.

And, PLEEEASE, let's not send folks to other countries to nail lifts onto the natives' feet!
- George Carlin

I read about an Eskimo hunter who asked the local missionary priest, "If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?"

"No," said the priest, "not if you did not know."

"Then why," asked the Eskimo earnestly, "did you tell me?"
- Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creed

Of all the failures of which we have any history or knowledge, the missionary effort is the most conspicuous. The whole question has been decided here, in our own country, and conclusively settled. We have nearly exterminated the Indians, but we have converted none.
- Robert Ingersoll

Mayan scribes in Central America wrote: "Before the coming of the Spaniards, there was no robbery or violence. The Spanish invasion was the beginning of tribute, the beginning of church dues, the beginning of strife."

Missionaries fought among themselves. In Japan and China, the Dominicans fought bitterly with the Jesuits. In the Near East, the Franciscans fought with the Capuchins. And in India, the Jesuits fought several wars against the Capuchins. A Seneca Indian chief asked of a Moravian missionary in 1805, "If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it?"

Missionaries often took part in the unscrupulous exploitation of foreign lands. Many became missionaries to get rich quickly and then return to Europe to live off their gains. In Mexico, Dominicans, Augustinians and Jesuits were known to own "the largest flocks of sheep, the finest sugar ingenios, the best kept estates."
- Helen Ellerbe, The Dark Side of Christian History

Hi, we're from America! We've come to decimate your jungle, convert your youth, and make you feel inferior!
- Crow, Mystery Science Theater 3000

There are a quarter of a million missionaries in the world today; their annual expenditure is almost equal to the American foreign aid budget. To some, missionaries are heroes, representing the ideal of human endeavor. To others, they are self-righteous zealots who wreak irreparable cultural damage. BBC reporter, Julian Pettifer has filmed a six-part series, Missionaries, in which he forcefully points out that for the past 500 years at least, white Europeans have been invaders and conquerors driven equally by greed and Christian zeal.
- VISION network, programming guide, Sept./Oct. 1993

It is a curious kind of spectacle to see thousands of evangelical Christians paying thousands of dollars a year for the purpose of discussing in seminary such great questions as: "Was Adam the first man? Who was Cain's wife? Has anyone seen a map of the land of Nod? Where are the four rivers than ran through the groves of Paradise? How did the snake get around before it was cursed to crawl on its belly? What language did it speak?" This turns a church into a kind of nursery, makes a cradle of each pew, and gives to each member a rattle with which he can amuse what he calls his mind. Great minds in evangelical seminaries across the country continue to dispute among themselves as to what is to become of the heathen who fortunately died before meeting any missionary from their institutions.
- Robert Ingersoll

A Christian mother's first duty is to soil her child's mind, and she does not neglect it. Her lad grows up to be a missionary, and goes to the innocent savage and to the civilized Japanese, and soils their minds. Whereupon they adopt immodesty, they conceal their bodies, they stop bathing naked together.

The convention miscalled Modesty has no standard, and cannot have one, because it is opposed to nature and reason, and is therefore an artificiality. In India the refined lady covers her face and breasts and leaves her legs naked from the hips down, while the refined European lady covers her legs and exposes her face and her breasts. In lands inhabited by the innocent savage the refined European lady soon gets used to full-grown native stark-nakedness, and ceases to be offended by it. A highly cultivated French count and countess - unrelated to each other - who were marooned in their night clothes, by shipwreck, upon an uninhabited island in the eighteenth century, were soon naked. Also ashamed - for a week. After that their nakedness did not trouble them, and they soon ceased to think about it.
- Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth

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