Thursday, March 17, 2016

Religious Tracts

Growing up, my parents attended a rather fundamentalist church at one point. While my mom & dad have always been Conservative Christians, they were way more relaxed than many of the individuals that attended the services at this particular church. As far as I could see, most of the parishioners had the viewpoint that EVERYTHING was "Satanic", from the music I listened to, to the shows I watched on TV. Hidden, subliminal messages, intended to turn young people into mindless slaves of Lucifer, were found in almost anything. Even certain Christian rock bands were denounced as secretly being in league with Ol' Scratch!

One staple of this time in my life were "Chick Tracts". For those of you who lived normal lives, let me explain the insanity that is a Chick Tract: these 3x5 pamphlets had a comic art story, usually running around 12 pages, that told of all sorts of horrible sins that could lead to your demise. Everything from drugs, homosexuality, rock music, trick-or-treating or being Catholic could lead you straight into the bowels of hell!! They always concluded with a call to salvation through Jesus, naturally. It wasn't uncommon for these things to show up around the Youth rooms, usually brought in by one of the adults who took it upon themselves to "educate" us on the evils lurking in things like our candy (no...really! Halloween candy is cursed or contaminated by witches!). Of course, we were encouraged to read these, and then pass them on to others who might be in danger of becoming thralls of Beelzebub. I'd heard stories of some churches sending their youth groups out to rock concerts to hand these out to folks as they went to see Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Barry Manilow or any other evil dabbler in the infernal music of "rock" (I'm not even being sarcastic about Manilow. I actually heard someone denounce his tunes as being Satanic!). Thankfully, I was never asked to do so...though I did see some tracts laying on the floor at a few concerts I went to later in life. Obviously, someone was out there handing these out to the lost sheep.

To their credit, my parents read a couple of these and rejected them did a few of the Church's parishioners. My folks viewed these as being too extreme, and noted that you'd have to cut off all ties with the outside world to live the supposedly "Christian" lifestyle that these pamphlets advocated. As an adult, I am rather shocked by the content when I see them now. A friend of mine, with a similar upbringing, hipped me to the fact that Chick Publications is not only still in business, but now has their tracts available to read online. If you're so inclined, you can check out the insanity here: Reading these now, with a more refined worldview, I'm stunned at the level of hatred this so-called "Christian" group teaches (a sad statement that seems to be true of many who use the label these days). While it isn't exactly surprising to see non-Christian religions attacked in these, the Chick group also goes after many Christian denominations as well! Yes, you have to believe EXACTLY the way that Jack Chick does in order to receive salvation...forget all that John 3:16 stuff about "whosoever" only counts if it's done in the way Chick approves! As someone who views themselves as a Progressive Christian (which is about as far away from this stuff as you can get), I just cannot contain my disgust at this stuff.

There is also an unintentionally comedic element, as the hysteria presented is so over-the-top and uninformed to actually draw a chuckle or two. In many ways, that may be the best way to handle these just view them as the goofy, backwards thinking of some nuts. In particular, I got quite a laugh at a couple of tracts that put forth the theory that the Catholic Church actually created Islam in order to...oh hell...I gets pretty insane! Don't get me wrong, I love a good conspiracy theory, but man...these are just BEYOND crazy!

I bring all of this up for one reason...I recently stumbled across a rather hilarious send-up of the Chick Tracts that used their format to Proselytize....for Cthulhu!

So there you have it! The important information you need for the coming of the elder gods! Hey, it's not as crazy as half the stuff in those Chick publications!!!