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Wednesday, March 15, 2000
By Scott Rahin
My faith and the place from which it came.
I've loved Chick tracts for a full decade. Nothing conveys the horror of intolerant religious belief and insular groupthink fear like the Chick visual style, married to the "you're going to hell" message inside each tract.
I first read "Doom Town" about 6 years ago, when I ordered the entire Chick library for $10. The above image has stayed with me since. I subscribed to Battle Cry, the official Jack T. Chick newsletter for a few years, and ordered the "evolution is a lie" poster for my apartment wall.
The Chick work is so innately disturbing that it reaches a unique clarity. I respect it, much as I respect people who cover chairs in tinfoil and spare bits of glass. The Web site DemonBuster reaches the same level at times.
I'm a collector. I have a copy of a Chick tract which features the hellbound exploits of construction workers, in English, and I have another copy of the same tract in Chinese. In the Chinese version, someone has actually slanted the eyes of the construction workers. It looks like they used White-out and a ballpoint pen to do the slanting.
Chick tracts are filled with poorly-drawn, smug men who think they know something, men like me. They die, and burn forever in fire, and devils with pitchforks poke at them. They should have listened to the message. But there are so many messages: "Jews will go to hell but are still the chosen people," "all Bibles but the KJV are from Satan," and "the Pope may be the Antichrist." Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims, Christian Heavy Metal bands like Petra or Stryper, New Agers, all are in league with the devil.
In High School, in our Religious Education class, taught by the wrestling coach, we had to watch a video about the end times. Everyone appearing in the video had little marks scratched on their heads. A man in a tight-fitting suit was the Antichrist, and at the end of the film the earth was deserted. The cars just sat humming in the street.
We also watched a video where Jesus was a handsome, blonde man in a bathrobe and Mary Magdalene was an equally blonde sexpot. It was shot like a porn film, and we followed it with prayer.