Chick tracts are short evangelical gospel tracts, originally created and published by American publisher and religious cartoonist Jack Chick. Since his death, his company (Chick Publications) has continued to print new tracts using other authors working for the company.
Although many of Chick's tracts express views that are generally accepted within Christian theology, several tracts have expressed controversial viewpoints. Most notably, Chick tracts were known for expressing strongly anti-Catholic views, as well as his criticisms of other religions including Islam and Mormonism.
Chick Publications produces and markets the Chick tracts, along with other comic books, books, and posters. Chick Publications has its headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga and a mailing address in Ontario, California.
The company estimates it has printed over 800 million tracts during its first 50 years of business. On its website they note that "Our ministry is primarily publishing the gospel tracts of Jack T. Chick, but we do occasionally publish a manuscript in book form." They state that if the content "educates Christians in one of the areas for which we have a tract, we would love to see it" and cite several examples; the online store lists nearly a dozen book categories.
As of January 2015, Chick Publications had produced over 250 different titles, about 100 of which are still in print, and are available in over 100 languages.
The tracts themselves are approximately three inches high by five inches wide in dimension, and approximately twenty pages in length. The material is written in comic book format, with the front panel featuring the title of the tract and the inside back panel devoted to a standard sinner's prayer. The back cover of the tract contains a blank space for churches to stamp their name and address; Chick Publications is willing to print custom back covers, but at least 10,000 tracts must be ordered.
The storyline commonly features at least one Christian person and one or more "non-Christians". Depending on the storyline the "non-Christian" may be 1) a stereotypical "wicked person" (such as a criminal; an example being the eponymous character of the tract Bad Bob!), 2) a member of a "false religion" (as Chick defines such; an example being the Mormon missionaries from The Visitors), and/or 3) a "moral person" depending on "good works" to gain eventual entrance to Heaven (as opposed to salvation through Jesus Christ; an example is the marshal in Gun Slinger). In these storylines, the Christian attempts to convert the non-Christian to Christianity (and may also feature a contrast where another character, often the "moral person", does not), with the convert receiving entry into heaven, while the person rejecting the message is condemned to hell. The endings may feature a recycled scene in which Jesus Christ (portrayed as a giant, glowing, faceless figure sitting on a throne) condemns or welcomes a character, an angel taking the believer to Heaven, and/or the non-believer meeting demons upon his/her arrival to Hell.
Chick tracts end with a suggested prayer for the reader to pray to accept Jesus Christ. In most of these tracts it is a standard sinner's prayer for salvation. In the tracts dealing with "false religions", the prayer includes a clause to reject these religions. Included with the prayer are directions for converting to Christianity, which is also repeated on the inside back panel along with steps to take should the reader convert to Christianity.
Strips, Toons, and Bluesies, written by Douglas Bevan Dowd and Todd Hignite, stated that "it's safe to assume Chick saw at least some" Tijuana bibles since the books and, according to Dowd and Hignite, Chick tracts were "strikingly similar" to Tijuana bibles; like Tijuana bibles the tracts mostly targeted youth of lower socioeconomic classes and "were loaded with stereotypes". The book stated that Chick tracts contained "way-out, wild" portrayals of recreational drug usage and portrayed "the sexual revolution". In addition the comics included supernatural elements, occult rituals, torture, and cannibalism.
Catholicism is a frequent target of Chick tracts and other writings. No fewer than twenty of the tracts are devoted to Catholicism, including Are Roman Catholics Christians? (arguing that they are not), The Death Cookie (a polemic against the Catholic Eucharist), and Why is Mary Crying? (arguing that Mary does not support the veneration Catholicism gives her).
Elsewhere, Chick, defended the controversial Alberto Rivera in at least one book and in an entire series of six full-length comics. Chick also asserted that the Catholic Church, in a grand conspiracy, created Islam, Communism, Nazism, and Freemasonry. In The New Anti-Catholicism, religious historian Philip Jenkins describes Chick tracts as promulgating "bizarre allegations of Catholic conspiracy and sexual hypocrisy" to perpetuate "anti-papal and anti-Catholic mythologies". Michael Ian Borer, a sociology professor of Furman University at the time, described Chick's strong anti-Catholic themes in a 2007 American Sociological Association presentation and in a peer reviewed article the next year in Religion and American Culture.
Catholic Answers published a response to the claims of Chick Publications against Roman Catholics and a criticism of Chick Tracts in general called The Nightmare World of Jack T. Chick, detailing the inaccuracies, factual errors, and how a "typical tactic in Chick tracts is to portray Catholics as being unpleasant or revolting in various ways".
Chick tracts are unequivocal and explicit in their opposition to homosexuality, and repeatedly employ two anti-homosexual themes:
According to Cynthia Burack, Chick's earliest anti-homosexuality tract, The Gay Blade (originally written in 1972, revised in 1984 and now out-of-print except by special order), borrowed several of its frames from a 1971 Life magazine photo-essay on the Gay Liberation movement, but with the images altered to make the gay men look more dissolute or stereotypically feminized.
Critics point out that the Big Daddy? tract mainly uses Kent Hovind as a reference, despite the fact that Hovind has no degrees from accredited institutions in the relevant fields, that the thesis referred to is considered to be of very poor quality, and that his claims are at odds with the published statements of experts in the field.
Big Daddy? is presented in the 2007 book Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters as a "typical of the genre" example of just how "misleading and dishonest" creationist presentations are. The examples of the "deceptive and misleading" distortions, misrepresentation, and fabrications presented in that work regarding Big Daddy? are "Nebraska Man" (the misinterpretation of which was corrected after only a year and its existence was debated from the beginning), "New Guinea Man" (which is actually Homo sapiens), and the implication "Cro-Magnon" man was viewed as different from Homo sapiens.
The concept of malign influences led to the theme of spiritual warfare being frequently portrayed in the tracts. Chick considered all forms of witchcraft to be demonic, regardless of whether it was "white witchcraft" (i.e. purportedly using such gifts for good) or "black witchcraft" (i.e. purportedly using such gifts for evil). Gladys is an example of one of Chick's tracts on this issue. Consistent with his views on demonic influence, Chick also considered Halloween to be "the devil's holiday" and opposed Christians celebrating it, with one notable exception – Chick did not oppose Christians engaging in the traditional Halloween custom of passing out candy to neighborhood children, considering it to be an opportunity to present the Gospel message via his tracts.
Based on Chick's views on Satanism and Satanic influence, Catholic Answers states that "Chick portrays a world full of paranoia and conspiracy where nothing is what it seems and nearly everything is a Satanic plot to lead people to hell."
The tracts' claims about conspiracies are based in large part on the testimony of people who claim to have been members of these groups before converting to Evangelical Christianity, most prominently Alberto Rivera and William Schnoebelen. Many of Chick's critics consider these sources to be frauds or fantasists. One such case was "The Prophet" where the fantastic tale related by Rivera of how the papacy helped start Islam turned out to have no basis in reality.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Chick Publications as an active hate group. The group was listed due to its strong anti-Catholic, anti-Muslim, and anti-homosexual rhetoric. Chick's views on homosexuality have angered gay activists since his first tract on the subject in 1972 (The Gay Blade tract warned of a gay agenda to push for same sex marriage and urged homosexuals to repent so they could make it into heaven).
The Hindu American Foundation put out an electronic PDF paper called "Hyperlink to Hinduphobia: Online Hatred, Extremism and Bigotry Against Hindus" which contains a section on Chick's site; the paper ends with the statement "Chick Publications promotes hatred not just against Hindus, but also towards Muslims, Catholics, and others as is evidenced by the following titles of their tracts: 'Last Rites – When this Catholic dies, he learns that his church couldn't save him'; 'The Little Bride – Protect children against being recruited as Muslims. Li'l Susy explains that only Jesus can save them'; and 'Allah Had No Son – The Allah of Islam is not the God of creation'" (in both these anti-Islamic tracts Allah is revealed to be a pagan moon god).
The content of That Crazy Guy! was changed after the rise of the AIDS crisis (the tract was originally about herpes). Also, the ending to The Poor Little Witch (in which a little girl is murdered by Satanists after forsaking occultism and converting to fundamentalist Christianity) was changed because the urban myth which states that "every year in the U.S. at least 40,000 people ... are murdered in witchcraft ceremonies" (about twice the entire reported homicide rate for the U.S.) turned out to be false and was removed from the tract. Chick Publications depicts Paganism and Neo-Paganism as forms of Satanism, a position Neo-Pagans and other observers strongly dispute.
The Chick Publications website is blocked in Singapore. In December 2008, a Singaporean couple was charged with sedition for distributing the Chick tracts The Little Bride and Who Is Allah?, said to "promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between Christians and Muslims in Singapore".
In October 2011, the Northview Baptist Church in Hillsboro, Ohio gave out copies of the Chick tract Mean Momma along with candy at Halloween. The church received complaints from parishioners, and its pastor apologized for issuing the tracts, saying that, "Our church does not endorse this type of extreme methodology that was represented in this particular tract, and we can assure you that we will not let this happen again ... our church is a loving church that loves souls and wants to do all we can in our community to help as well as spread and share the Gospel message of Christ."
In 2014, the Chick tract Unforgiven was distributed by Bible Baptist Church in Garden City, Roanoke, Virginia and drew outrage from the area's Muslim community. The tract tells the story of an African-American man who, while in prison, is coerced into joining the Islamic faith and changes his name to Muhammad. Upon his release he threatens his Christian grandmother. Hussain Al-Shiblawi, a local man, told WDBJ-TV that he gets pamphlets from the church every Sunday and that they are typically inspirational, but that this one was different. "It basically indicated that the people are violent, the religion itself is violent, and the facts in here are not true," he said. "It shows him trying to kill his mother saying, 'If you weren't my grandma, I’d kill you where you stand, Allahu Akbar.'" In one scene, the grandmother begs Lamont to return to the Christian faith, telling him he will "die in [his] sins" and be unforgiven by God if he does not. But the young man is not swayed by her pleas. "I choose Muhammad! And I hate your Jesus, your Bible and you!" he screams. "Get out of my house, you infidel!" Bible Baptist Church said the church did not write the tract and simply distributed it.
Dark Dungeons may refer to:
A dungeon cell or torture chamber
Dark Dungeons (film), based on the Chick tract of the same name
Dark Dungeons (role-playing game), a fantasy role-playing game that emulates the classic-era Dungeons & Dragons
One of the types in the spectrum of seven dark suppliers of Holocaust tourism
Cells for patients with mental disorders, that as a result of increasing moral treatment were replaced with sunny, ventilated roomsDark Dungeons (film)
Dark Dungeons is a 2014 American short film that was directed by L. Gabriel Gonda, written by JR Ralls, and based on the Chick tract of the same name. The film had its world premiere at GenCon on August 14, 2014 and was also released on VOD through the film's official website.Every Day Life
Every Day Life, later simply known as EDL, was a Christian rapcore group. The band became identified with the straight edge movement, which advocates abstinence from sex, drugs and tobacco.
The band has been labeled as a Christian version of Rage Against the Machine, which the band states is "kinda flattering, because when we started the band, I hadn't heard ‘em... we had no influence of theirs, and we had no starting point from them."While the group saw other bands in the genre such as Korn and Limp Bizkit, and even the Christian bands P.O.D. and Project 86, achieve great success, that same goal was elusive to Every Day Life. This was partially due to bad luck regarding record labels and promotion, and part to controversial album content, which led to their first two albums being pulled from Christian bookstores. Even so, the band did receive some light MTV rotation, entered the college radio charts, and was nominated for a Dove Award.While controversial, the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music describes the band as having been "the first group in Christian music to address political issues in a responsible manner." The band consistently wrote about social issues, and was not afraid to tackle harsh issues of social and economic justice, both within Christianity and in the larger world. EDL felt that these issues were often marginalized or poorly approached in churches, and completely taboo in contemporary Christian music. Larry Norman was an influence for the band, with the lyricist telling one interviewer that "He wrote about the issues... just as Steve Taylor did, and just as Rez Band did when they started. These artists who originally started talking about the issues of Christianity now have no place in the market, because now the market has become songs of confirmation. And it almost makes it seem as though something we're doing is unheard of, and maybe not even Christian." HM jokingly remarked that the Chick tract "Angles?", which describes the evils of Christian rock, had been inspired by the band.I Kill Children
"I Kill Children" is the ninth song on the Dead Kennedys album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. It is sung from the first person perspective of an unnamed murderer of children. It satirizes America's twin obsessions with extreme violence. Jello Biafra had said on his spoken word tours that he wrote the song when he was 18 years old after thinking about how and why people became serial killers, and actually considers it one of his weakest songs.Jack Chick
Jack Thomas Chick (April 13, 1924 – October 23, 2016) was an American cartoonist and publisher, best known for his evangelical fundamentalist Christian "Chick tracts", which presented his perspective on a variety of issues through sequential-art morality plays.
Many of Chick's views were controversial, as he accused Roman Catholics, Freemasons, Muslims, and many other groups of murder and conspiracies. His comics have been described by Robert Ito, in Los Angeles magazine, as "equal parts hate literature and fire-and-brimstone sermonizing".Chick's views have been spread mostly through the tracts and more recently, online. His company, Chick Publications, says it has sold over 750 million tracts, comics tracts and comic books, videos, books, and posters designed to promote Evangelical Protestantism from a Christian fundamentalist perspective. They have been translated into more than 100 languages. Chick was an Independent Baptist who followed a premillennial dispensationalist view of the End Times. He was a believer in the King James Only movement, which posits that every English translation of the Bible more recent than 1611 promotes heresy or immorality.Tract (literature)
A tract is a literary work, and in current usage, usually religious in nature. The notion of what constitutes a tract has changed over time. By the early part of the 21st century, a tract referred to a brief pamphlet used for religious and political purposes, though far more often the former. Tracts are often either left for someone to find or handed out. However, there have been times in history when the term implied tome-like works. A tractate, a derivative of a tract, is equivalent in Hebrew literature to a chapter of the Christian Bible.