Jack T. Chick

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Jack T. Chick
Born (1924-04-13) April 13, 1924 (age 90)
Boyle Heights, Los Angeles[1]
Nationality American
Occupation Publisher, comic book creator, writer
Known for Chick tracts
Religion Independent Baptist
Website
http://chick.com

Jack Thomas Chick (born April 13, 1924) is an American publisher, writer, and comic book artist of evangelical fundamentalist Christian tracts and comic books.[2] His comics have been described by Los Angeles magazine as "equal parts hate literature and fire-and-brimstone sermonizing".[3]

Chick's company, Chick Publications, claims to have sold over 750 million tracts,[4] comics tracts and comic books, videos, books, and posters designed to promote Protestant evangelism from a Christian fundamentalist perspective or point of view. Many of these are controversial, as they accuse Roman Catholics, Freemasons, Muslims, and many other groups of murder and conspiracies,[5] while Chick maintains his views are simply politically incorrect.[6]

Chick's views have been spread worldwide, mostly through the tracts and now online. They have been translated into more than 100 languages.[7] As evidenced from his writings and publications, Chick is an Independent Baptist who follows a premillennial dispensationalist view of the end times. He is a believer in the King James Only movement, which posits that every English translation of the Bible more recent than 1611 promotes heresy or immorality.[8]

Biography[edit]

Chick was born in Boyle Heights, California. His family later moved to Alhambra, where Chick was active in the high school drama club.[9] Chick's official biography notes that he was not religious in high school and was in fact avoided by Christian students, who believed "he was the last guy on earth who would ever accept Jesus Christ".[10] After his graduation, he continued his drama education at the Pasadena Playhouse School of Theater on a two-year scholarship.[9][10]

In February 1943, Chick was drafted as a private into the U.S. Army.[11] He served for three years in the Pacific theater of World War II, serving in New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines, and Japan.[10] Chick credits his time overseas for inspiring him to translate his tracts into many different languages and said he has "a special burden for missions and missionaries".[10]

After the war, he returned to the Pasadena Playhouse and met his wife while working on a production there. Lola Lynn Priddle (1926–1998), a Canadian immigrant, came from a very religious family, and Chick's official biography describes her as "instrumental in his salvation".[10][12] Priddle and her parents introduced Chick to the Charles E. Fuller radio show, the Old Fashioned Revival Hour, and Chick relates that he was converted while listening to an episode of this show.[10] They married in 1948 and had one child, Carol, who died in 2001.[13] In February 1998, Lola Lynn died, and Chick remarried.[clarification needed][2][9][10]

In a 2005 issue of his company's newsletter, Battle Cry, Chick reported that he had suffered a life-threatening health emergency at some point in the previous two years, between 2003 and 2005. He gave further details of the circumstances: "My flu turned into pneumonia, my blood sugar dropped to 20 (I am diabetic)... I was going into a coma. My wife called 911 and while they were on the way, I had a heart attack. A day or so later I had to undergo a triple bypass."[14]

Very little is known about Chick; he has given only one known professional interview since 1975.[15] The lack of available public information about him has created some speculation that he was a pen name for unnamed author(s) or ghostwriters.[9] Several audio cassettes of his preaching distributed to his subscribers purport to contain his voice. While he has never released a photo of himself for publication, purported photos of Chick have been published by others.[16]

Career[edit]

From 1953-1955 Chick drew a single panel cartoon (authored by P. S. Clayton) entitled "Times Have Changed?" which thematically predates both the "B.C." comic strip and The Flintstones animated cartoon. These were syndicated by the Mirror Enterprises Co. in Los Angeles area newspapers.

After converting to Christianity, Chick wanted to evangelize others, but was too shy to talk to people directly about religion.[9] Chick heard from missionary Bob Hammond, who had broadcast in Asia on the Voice of America, that the Communist Party of China had gained significant influence among ordinary Chinese in the 1950s through the distribution of small comic books.[10] Chick also began working with a prison ministry and created a flip chart of illustrations to use with his presentation. He hit upon the idea of creating witnessing tracts, which could be given to people directly or indirectly.[9]

While working for the AstroScience Corporation in El Monte, California, he self-published his first tract, Why No Revival?, with a loan from his credit union in 1960 and wrote his second tract, A Demon's Nightmare, shortly afterward.[10][13] He decided to create more tracts and began "using his kitchen table as an office and art studio."[10] Christian bookstores were reluctant to accept the tracts, but they were popular among missionaries and churches.[10]

Chick Publications was officially established in 1970 in Rancho Cucamonga, California.[13] Initially, Jack Chick wrote and illustrated all of the comics himself, but in 1972 he hired another artist to illustrate many of the tracts.[9] Fred Carter illustrated tracts anonymously until 1980, when he was identified in an issue of Chick's newsletter Battle Cry.[2] Carter also painted the oil paintings seen in The Light of the World, a film Chick produced that relates the Christian gospel.[17] The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History included several Chick tracts in an exhibit on American pop culture.[10]

Chick Publications[edit]

Main article: Chick tract
A scene in Hell from the 1972 Chick tract "A Demon's Nightmare".[18]

Chick Publications has released over twenty-three full-color "Chick comics" since its founding. They are full-size comic books and most were first published between 1974 and 1985. The first eleven form the Crusader comics series, which follows the stories of two fundamentalist Christians and addresses topics such as the occult, Bible prophecy, and the theory of evolution.[19] Six comics present the testimony of anti-Catholic activist Alberto Rivera, who claimed that, as a Jesuit priest, he had become privy to many secrets about the Roman Catholic Church. Among Rivera's claims: He credits Catholicism with founding the Islamic religion,[20] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,[21] as well as the Jehovah's Witnesses;[22] starting the Holocaust;[23][24][25] founding Communism, Nazism, and the Ku Klux Klan; starting the World Wars;[23] masterminding the 1917 Russian Revolution, the Great Depression and the assassinations of U.S. Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy.[23] There are also three independent comics, one telling stories from the King James Version of the Bible (Chick is pro-King James Onlyism), one relaying the claims of Charles Chiniquy regarding Catholicism, and one detailing Chick's opinions on Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[19]

Chick Publications also distributes "Chick tracts", small comic tracts with religious messages. Most can be viewed in their entirety on the company's web site. The most popular Chick tract, "This Was Your Life", has been translated into around 100 languages,[7] and many other tracts are available in widely spoken languages such as Arabic,[26] German,[27] Spanish,[28] and Tagalog.[29]

Chick's tracts cover subjects such as abortion, homosexuality, non-Protestant Christianity, the occult, rock music, left-wing politics, popular culture, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, antisemitism, and the theory of evolution, generally in a very negative and conspiratorial light.[30] Chick believes many of the world's problems are deliberately caused by the Roman Catholic Church.[23]

Several of Chick's tracts have been translated into more obscure languages as Blue Hmong,[31] Huichol,[32] Ngiemboon,[33] Tshiluba,[34] and the artificial language of Esperanto.[35]

Chick also claims that Satan and demons promote the occult through mystical and New Age beliefs,[36] rock music (including Christian rock),[37] Wicca,[38][39] and fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons[40][41] to deceive people and send them to Hell. Chick is opposed to abortion[42][43] and preaches against pre-marital sex.[43][44] He believes strongly that homosexuality is sinful,[45][46] and makes reference to the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah in tracts pertaining to homosexuality.[47] He also is a Zionist, and claims that the Catholic Church is Israel's worst enemy.[48] He also opposes attempts to resolve the Israeli–Arab conflict until Israel gets significantly larger than its current size, and also blames American support of those attempts for natural disasters that have struck America.[49]

Chick's views have been criticized by some of the groups he targets, including neopagans and Catholic organizations. Wiccan author Kerr Cuhulain describes Chick and his theories as "anti-feminist" and "anti-pagan", notes that a Chick Publications comic book was the source of a Rapid City, South Dakota, police detective's presentation on the history of Satanism given in 1989, and describes him as "easily the least reputable source of reliable information on religious groups".[50]

Many Catholic and Protestant organizations consider Chick to be intensely anti-Catholic, based on his various claims about the Roman Catholic Church.[51] Chick responds to these accusations by saying he is opposed to the Roman Catholic Church as a sociopolitical organization but not to its individual members. On his "Roman Catholicism FAQ", Chick says he began publishing his theories about the Roman Catholic Church because "he loves Catholics and wants them to be saved through faith in Jesus".[52] Catholic Answers calls Chick "savagely anti-Catholic",[53] describes Chick's claims about the Catholic Church as "bizarre"[51] and "often grotesque in their arguments",[54] and calls for the tracts to be pulled from the market and corrected.[51] In the early 1980s, Chick's stance on Catholicism led some Christian bookstores to stop stocking his tracts, and he withdrew from the Christian Booksellers Association after the association considered expelling him.[55] Christianity Today described Jack Chick as an example of "the world of ordinary, nonlearned evangelicals", for whom "atavistic anti-Catholicism remains as colorful and unmistakable as ever".[56] Michael Ian Borer, a sociology professor of Furman University at the time, showed Chick's strong anti-Catholic themes in a 2007 American Sociological Association presentation[57] and in a peer-reviewed article the next year in Religion and American Culture.[58]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.christiancomicsinternational.org/chick_pioneer.html
  2. ^ a b c Akin, Jimmy (March 2004). "Meet Jack Chick". This Rock (Catholic Answers). Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  3. ^ Ito, Robert (May 2003). "Fear Factor: Jack Chick is the world's most published author – and one of the strangest". Los Angeles: 56, 58. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  4. ^ Chick publications website header.
  5. ^ Raeburn, Daniel (1998). "The Holy Book of Chick". The Imp. 
  6. ^ "Over the years, Jack Chick has written some stories that were so hot, that touched such politically incorrect issues, that often people were afraid to pass them out on the streets." Hot Topics at chick.com
  7. ^ a b "Tract Languages". Non English Tract Look Up. Chick Publications. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  8. ^ http://www.chick.com/bc/2012/kjv_onlyism.asp
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Ito, Robert (July 6, 2003). "To Hell With You". The Independent on Sunday. [dead link]
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Biography of Jack Chick". Chick Publications. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  11. ^ "Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 – 1946 (Enlistment Records)". World War II Army Enlistment Records. National Archives and Records Administration. September 30, 2002. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  12. ^ Ancestry.com, Detroit Border Crossings and Passenger and Crew Lists, 1905–1957 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.
  13. ^ a b c Baber, La Rue V. (2003). "Spreading the "Light"". The Daily Bulletin. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  14. ^ Chick, Jack (September–October 2005). "A Message from Jack Chick". Battle Cry. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  15. ^ Davis, Scoobie (October 31, 2006). "The Jack T. Chick Documentary". Scoobie Davis Online. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  16. ^ Akin, Jimmy (February 16, 2007). "The Face of Chick?". JimmyAkin.org. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  17. ^ "The Light of the World: A Film by Jack T Chick". Chick Publications. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  18. ^ Chick, Jack (January 1, 1972). "A Demon's Nightmare". Retrieved 2011-08-06. You mean that mankind is lost? That I'm-I'm going to Hell?" "Of course you jerk! Even we know that! 
  19. ^ a b "Crusader Comics". Comics List. Chick Publications. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  20. ^ Chick, Jack (1985). The Storyteller. Chick Publications. p. 8. 
  21. ^ Chick, Jack (1984). The Visitors. Chick Publications. p. 17. 
  22. ^ Chick, Jack (1985). The Crisis. Chick Publications. pp. 11–12. 
  23. ^ a b c d Chick, Jack (1982). The Godfathers. Chick Publications. 
  24. ^ Chick, Jack (2003). "Man in Black". Chick Publications, 2003. Retrieved on 2011-11-04 from http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/5023/5023_01.asp.
  25. ^ Chick, Jack (1984). Holocaust. Chick Publications. pp. 5–10. 
  26. ^ "Stock Arabic Titles". Non English Tract Look Up. Chick Publications. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  27. ^ German "Stock German Titles". Non English Tract Look Up. Chick Publications. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  28. ^ "Stock Spanish Titles". Non English Tract Look Up. Chick Publications. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  29. ^ "Stock Tagalog Titles". Non English Tract Look Up. Chick Publications. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  30. ^ "English Tract List". Chick Publications. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  31. ^ "Complete list of Chick cartoon gospel tracts". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  32. ^ "Complete list of Chick cartoon gospel tracts". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  33. ^ "Complete list of Chick cartoon gospel tracts". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  34. ^ "Complete list of Chick cartoon gospel tracts". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  35. ^ "Complete list of Chick cartoon gospel tracts". Chick.com. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  36. ^ Chick, Jack (2000). Bewitched. Chick Publications. pp. 5–7. 
  37. ^ Chick, Jack (1989). Angels?. Chick Publications. pp. 5–7. 
  38. ^ Chick, Jack (2002). The Nervous Witch. Chick Publications. pp. 9–13. 
  39. ^ Chick, Jack (1987). The Poor Little Witch. Chick Publications. 
  40. ^ Chick, Jack (1984). Dark Dungeons. Chick Publications. 
  41. ^ Chick, Jack (2004). The Devil's Night. Chick Publications. pp. 5–13. 
  42. ^ Chick, Jack (2000). Who Murdered Clarice?. Chick Publications. 
  43. ^ a b Chick, Jack (1995). Baby Talk. Chick Publications. 
  44. ^ Chick, Jack (1992). That Crazy Guy!. Chick Publications. 
  45. ^ Chick, Jack (1985). The Gay Blade. Chick Publications. 
  46. ^ Chick, Jack (2004). Birds and the Bees. Chick Publications. 
  47. ^ Chick, Jack (1991). Doom Town. Chick Publications. 
  48. ^ Chick, Jack (1998). Love the Jewish People. Chick Publications. 
  49. ^ Chick, Jack (2008). Somebody Angry?. Chick Publications. 
  50. ^ Cuhulain, Kerr (August 26, 2002). "Jack Chick: Tracts for Every Occasion". Pagan Protection Center. p. 4. 
  51. ^ a b c "The Nightmare World of Jack T. Chick". Catholic Answers. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  52. ^ Chick, Jack. "Roman Catholicism FAQ". Chick Publications. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  53. ^ Newkirk, Terrye. "Who's @fr@id of the Big Bad Web?: A Guide for Catholic Newbies". Catholic Answers. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  54. ^ Keating, Karl. "Burden of History". Up Front. Catholic Answers. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  55. ^ "Booksellers' Group May Expel Chick". Christianity Today. October 23, 1981. p. 62. 
  56. ^ Mark, Noll; Carolyn Nystrom (July 1, 2005). "Is the Reformation Over? (Registration and payment required for online access)". Christianity Today. 
  57. ^ Borer, Michael (2007). "Drawing Religious Battle Lines: The "Culture Wars Work" of Jack Chick’s Anti-Catholic Cartoons" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, New York City City, August 11, 2007
  58. ^ Borer, Michael Ian; Murphree, Adam (Winter 2008). "Framing Catholicism: Jack Chick's Anti-Catholic Cartoons and the Flexible Boundaries of the Culture Wars". Religion and American Culture 18 (1): 95–112. doi:10.1525/rac.2008.18.1.95. 

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