Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bran Covered Jack

The problem with writing in my second language is that I sometimes find it very hard to say exactly what I mean.  Afrikaans is a very visceral, descriptive language that lends itself very well to idiom.  Sadly this means it usually loses a lot when you try to translate it to a more boring language like English.  For instance we have this saying that goes:  "Meng jou met die semels dan vreet die varke jou" which if translated directly reads: "If you mix yourself with bran, the pigs will eat you" - which makes little to no sense.  Bran after all is a wholesome, colon-friendly product and I'm not sure pigs are particularly into it.  "Semels" on the other hand would more accurately be not bran but rather the waste product you get after milling wheat or corn, the stuff not really fit for human consumption that's best fed to animals.  The meaning of the idiom here is that if you hang out with a bad crowd you'll eventually become indistinguishable from the rest of them.  So to translate it properly I guess I'd have to change it to "If you roll around in carrion you'll end up surrounded by vultures".  With that out of the way, lets talk about someone who really exemplifies my new idiom - Jack T. Chick.

If you look at his earliest works they portray only very standard, straightforward message of Christian evangelism - get right with Jesus before  you die or you will go to Hell.  If he had stuck to these, chances are most people wouldn't even know the name Jack Chick.  What made him really famous however was the fact that he eventually began wrapping the gospel message in the most batshit crazy conspiracy theories known to man.  Why did this happen?  I would hazard a guess that perhaps it happened because he started spending time with the most batshit insane members of the Christian fringe you could hope to find.  Here are some of the folks who helped Jack become the man he is today:

Alberto Rivera.  If you know any of his work, you know that Jack Chick hates Catholics more than the Westboro Baptists hate the gays and Katy Perry combined.  From what I've learned in his comics and tracts, the Catholic church was responsible for creating Islam, Communism, Freemasonry, the Nazis, the Mormons, the Mafia and just FYI the entire Holocaust was basically a new Catholic Inquisition against the Jews!  Apparently, the Catholics have been working for Satan for millennia trying to destroy all real Christians (Protestants) and the only true Bible (King James 1611, duh!).  In fact, when the Antichrist eventually shows up, it's going to be none other than the Pope!  Now these are some pretty wild claims so you would assume he has some very solid evidence to back it up.  Instead what he has is the word of one man, Alberto Rivera.  Alberto claims to have been a Jesuit priest who had access to lots of secret Vatican inside info.  Eventually all these horrible truths, coupled with the fact that Catholic dogma contradicted the Bible led him to reject Catholicism.  The Jesuits then locked him up and tortured him in an asylum in Spain trying to force him back to the fold but eventually he escaped and spent the rest of his life fighting to expose the Vatican.  The thing is, unlike Chick, the Christian magazines Cornerstone and Christianity Today looked into his story and found a few small discrepancies.  For one thing the Catholic church denies that he was ever a  Jesuit priest or a bishop and the 3 doctorates he supposedly held turned out to be from a Colorado diploma mill.  They even found an employment form showing him married and with two children in the US while he was supposed to be a celibate priest in Spain.  Furthermore they found that "Rivera had a 'history of legal entanglements' including fraud, credit card theft, and writing bad checks. Warrants had been issued for his arrest in New Jersey and Florida, and he was wanted by the Spanish police for 'swindles and cheats'; while in the USA in 1967, he claimed to be collecting money for a Spanish college, which never received this money." (Source). 

John Todd.  John Todd a.k.a "John Todd Collins", "Lance Collins" and "Christopher Kollyns" was the man responsible for alerting Chick to the dangers of the occult.  Chick published three comic books (not tracts, comics) explaining how secret Satanist Druid Illuminati agents control the world, all based on what he learned from John Todd.  Did you know that all Rock music - even Christian Rock - is actually satanic and when you listen to it you bring demons into your house to make you less of a good Christian?  Same goes for Dungeons & Dragons, Horoscopes and Star Wars - all plots to turn Christians into Satanists!!  Again, a tiny bit of background checking raises serious doubts about his claims.  Most of his claims are either impossible to verify or downright false.  What we do know is that he was married several times, alternated religions between charismatic Christianity and Wicca several times though it seemed that for him religion was merely a means to get close to teenage girls.  Wherever he went, complaints seemed to surface regarding inappropriate sexual behaviour towards underage girls.  He spent a few months in jail for forcing oral sex on a young girl and years later was convicted on several rape charges and sentenced to 30 years in jail.  He eventually died in a mental health facility.  The sheer insanity of his life is hard to capture in a paragraph so I would strongly recommend this summary of his life here and here or for a briefer rundown, his Wiki page.

Kent Hovind.  When Chick felt the need for a science adviser to help him illustrate the war godless scientists are waging on the clear and obvious literal truth of Genesis he turned to Dr Kent Hovind aka "Dr Dino".  Whenever Chick mentions anything about evolution, just know that Hovind was his source.  Unlike the others I've mentioned so far, Hovind didn't fabricate his past.  He does however fabricate some of the worst, laughably false, most facepalm inducing attacks on science that you are ever likely to find.  He is so terrible that he is even shunned by the rest of the Young Earth Creationist community!  You have to be a new kind of terrible for Answers in Genesis to publicly distance themselves from you - and Kent Hovind is.  He claims to have many years experience teaching science in high school.  What he does not mention is that he only taught "science" at unaccredited church schools.  His doctorate is likewise from an unaccredited diploma mill (just like all his qualifications) and is not in any scientific field either, it's in Christian Education.  He is currently serving a 10 year prison sentence for tax evasion.  (Source)

Rebecca Brown.  With the departure of John Todd (though Chick did support and defend Todd to the last) Jack was in need of a new source for fresh occult info.  Lucky for him, help was at hand in the form of Dr Rebecca Brown - medical doctor by day, demonslayer by night.  I already discussed her rather unorthodox views in a previous post on Dirty Sexy Demonology so for more info do check it out.  The post was satirical but I didn't make up anything she actually teaches, you will find everything I mentioned in her books!  Thanks to her, Chick had up to date info on how demonic Halloween was and got to stay current on all the latest plots by witches and satanists to infiltrate and destroy Christian churches.  In gratitude he got her books published and so released her patented Curse Theology on the public.  Now unlike everyone else on this list, her credentials are actually real, she really did go to med school.  However she's not technically a doctor anymore (and not just because she's a full time demon hunter and witch smeller now).  "In 1984, Brown's medical license was revoked by the issuing state of Indiana. The licensing board ruled that on numerous occasions she had "knowingly and intentionally misdiagnosed her patients", blaming their illnesses on "demons, devils, and evil spirits." A board-appointed psychiatrist diagnosed her as suffering from "acute personality disorders including demonic delusions and/or paranoid schizophrenia" and observed her injecting herself with unknown substances. The board also found that she had over-medicated her patients and administered improper treatments, as well as failed to properly document their treatment." (Source.)  For a more detailed discussion I would recommend these: Part 1Part 2.

With friends like these, is it any surprise Chick tracts are as insane as they are?


GumbyTheCat said...

Nicely done informative post.

It's really sad that demented pathetic losers like Chick and the others mentioned in your post hold so much sway over the thought processes of so many people. It really is an indication that religion is either a form of mental illness, or people with mental illness tend to gravitate to religion.

One of the wackiest fundies in my debate forum circuit is a dyed-in-the-wool Chickian. Not only is her theology based largely on his "teachings", she spends thousands of dollars each year on his tracts and relentlessly passes them out. She is one of the most disturbed Christians I have ever encountered. For example, she believes God has steel fangs, and that people who are thrown into hell are assigned their own personal "torture worm" that will gnaw on them for eternity. Why eternity? Because that pesky ol' worm dieth not, ya know. Nuckin' futs.

I've sometimes toyed with the idea of a blog series under the sarcastic label "Heroes of Christianity", these morons would definitely make the list!

By the way, no one would know English is your second language if you didn't mention it. You talk it very goodly!

Eugene said...

Thanks, I did have the privilege of going to a dual medium school so at least I've had a lot of practice with English!

I wouldn't say that religion is a mental illness. I was watching an interview with Micheal Shermer pitching his new book - The Believing Brain - and he did make a pretty good case that due to our evolutionary history, belief is pretty much hardwired into our brains. Having said that, the lady you're describing clearly has some screws loose!

As I see it, the problem is that religion can become a gateway to gullibility. Once you get practiced in believing things are true with absolutely no evidence required, it just becomes easier to swallow increasingly ludicrous stories.