Most people living in America have come into contact with a Chick tract at some point in their lives. Maybe you found it in a phone booth, tucked into your mailbox or worst of all put in your sack by the uptight lady at the end of the block during Trick or Treating. These small flip books, with titles like “Are Roman Catholics Christian?” and “The Curse of Baphomet,” tend to catch the eye and involve the reader. However, reading these tracts reveals that the author, kindly put, is quite a fundamentalist in his beliefs. That author is Jack Chick, a man that most readers of these tracts know little to nothing about due to his reclusive nature.
If you go to the publication’s website, Chick.com, you can find a fairly detailed biography of Jack T. Chick. As a boy he was often reprimanded for drawing instead of studying and in high school it was his “foul language,” that kept other Christians from witnessing to him. The website’s own words. Chick received an artistic scholarship, but did a tour in the army before he finished college. Also according to this biographical account, Jack Chick at some point fell to his knees and received god. After this incident Chick became determined to combine his faith and his artistic talents to bring faith to others. Eventually this desire morphed into creating religious tracts in the form of the modern Chick tracts. That’s the short-short version.
Freedom of speech aside, Chick tracts are often times difficult to believe for a variety of reasons. Leaving out that the characters in them seem to never have heard of Christianity, these comics are filled with paranoia, conspiracy theories and sometimes outright fabrications about supposed facts in the world. For instance tracts about rock music and role playing games that were made during the Satanic Panic pictured fans of this entertainment as morally corrupt devil worshippers who were either tricked into losing their souls or who had simply abandoned god for power and fun.
Of course images like that could be left up to interpretation due to the art form of Chick comics. Text on the other hand is more revealing. Chick tracts have accused the Catholic Church in print (in actual text mind you) of creating the new age movement and Mormons to deceive the true followers of god, of funding Nazi Germany’s final solution and for starting the Red Revolution and communism. These tracts have also accused free masons (once again in print and quoted) of being devil worshippers bent on acquiring their own power. For some reason it did appear that even the illustrated free masons were surprised by this revelation.
Chick tracts may not be factually correct, but many people view them as harmless at best and an annoyance at worst. However, as with any form of propaganda, the question of facts versus faith is a tough one to decide. And with more than 750,000,000 tracts in circulation (according to Chick.com) many governments have banned the comic books. Just saying.
“Chick Tracts: The Origin and Refutation,” by Anonymous at Catholic
“Hatred for Jesus’s Sake,” by Anonymous at Masonic Info