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[Ed. note: The following Chick references were collected and reprinted from Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on "Romanism" by "Bible Christians" by reader Ramon. Thanks Ramon!]
Dear JTC Museum,
I'm responding to the entry in your Chick Memories section.
Catholic sources have a surprising abundance of (not very complimentary) Jack Chick references. It's strange for me to find so much material on Chick in conservative Catholic bookstores and nary a trace of a Chick tract in most evangelical bookstores! I'll reprint 3 paragraphs from Karl Keating (author of the hate-mail you reprinted), in his book entitled Catholicism and Fundamentalism. This is just a small sample of the many (at least 13 pages worth) Chick references scattered throughout his book.
From Chapter 8, unambiguously titled At the Fringe:
"Jack Chick is generally regarded as the king of the anti-Catholic publishers. He has received more attention in the Catholic press since 1980 than all other professional anti-Catholics combined, and his rantings against the Church have inspired even Protestant publications, such as Christianity Today, to investigate his operation. His ideas are so perverse, his hate mongering so outlandish, that even some anti-Catholics shun him. If the average Catholic has heard anything about the recent revival of anti-Cathiolic prejudice, he has heard about Jack Chick." [for more, go here.]
These (above) references were published in 1988, well before Alberto died. Though I'm a staunch fundamentalist, I recommend the book to anyone interested in learning more about the debate between the Pope and the Protestant, and particularly to those who are interested in hearing the pro-Catholic side of the argument. I suspect that most of the books sold in Catholic bookstores that contain the word "fundamentalism" in their titles also devote a good amount of space to our main man, Jack Chick! It's only a matter of time until we find racks at such stores that are filled with faithful Catholic Chick tract parodies!
[Ed. Note: To read more from Chapter 8 of Keating's book, go here. One claim he goes on to make really sounds like the author is whistling in the dark: "They (Chick tracts) make good copy but few converts and nowhere near the converts one would expect from all the fireworks." If this is true, then why all the fuss? Why does Catholic Answers keep harping on Chick so much? Why did they recently send the mass mailing that warned Catholics of all the converts Chick Tracts were going to garner at World Youth Day (complete with its very own Chick tract enclosed). Either the influence of Chick Tracts have suddenly and dramatically increased since this decade old book was published, or the author was blowing smoke from the very beginning. If that's not enough, check out more Keating screeds from The Usual Suspects.]
I've been reading Surprised by Truth 2 and enjoying it. I'm an avid Jack Chick comic tract collector, so when I ran across your account of the Chick tracts, I was especially amused. However, don't you think you're being rather hard on Chick? Certainly you realize he's no bigot, he's just a religious revolutionist who's trying desperately to save Catholics from what he thinks is damnation. Based on his strict Fundamentalists interpretation of the Bible, he's got reason to be concerned. And Chick makes his motives very clear. Those "venomous anti-Catholic tracts" you describe are actually directed toward winning Catholics over to his point of view. That's a far cry from "hate lit". And it's not as if Catholics don't try to recruit and convert Protestants. A more gentle approach would seem to be in order. Calling someone a bigot these days is kinda like calling them a Nazi. Or do you think I'm way off base?
I understand that "The Death Cookie" is offensive, but Christians are supposed to be understanding, forgiving, and a little sense of humor wouldn't hurt either. Rather than responding in kind, how about turning the other cheek? I don't mean to sound critical, but your reaction did seem a little knee-jerkish. (Not that I don't act the same way on many occasions). But for an established author with time to measure each remark, don't you think you were overdoing it just a bit?
Here's Pat's response:
Thanks for your note and for you patience with my tardiness in getting back to you.
I guess only God knows if Jack Chick was sincere, but based on the kind of vicious things his comics contain (not just against Catholics) I myself am inclined to suspect that he did not have the virtue of charity foremost in mind when he wrote them. My impression of his work leads me to believe that he was indeed a bigot, and not merely someone who was concerned for Catholics' spiritual welfare. His "writings" show a deep hatred for the Church and for Catholics. At least that's my read on it. And believe me, I hope I am wrong. I'd like to be wrong and find out some happy day that Jack was working in good faith and was at some point touched by God's grace and that I'll meet him in heaven (assuming I myself make it, of course).
Best wishes in Christ for a happy and peaceful new year.
Patrick Madrid, Publisher, Envoy Magazine 1/1/01
Hmmmm. It sounds like Pat is going to continue to assume the worst in the competition's motives. But that's okay... At least he and Jack both have something in common! And I'm sure Chick won't mind that this is one instance when the Ecumenical moment isn't moving forward. Haw-haw-haw!
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