Sunday, November 4, 2007

Catholic League: For Religious and Civil Rights

Interesting article by the Catholic League about anti-Catholicism on the web- featuring two sites heavily featured by Candy Brauer at her "Keeping the Home" blog.

Catholic League: For Religious and Civil Rights: "n mind-numbing detail are a host of traditional anti-Catholic cites. From rural churches and personal websites, to sites for fundamentalist publishing houses, the traditional anti-Catholicism that was said to have died with the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960 thrives on the Internet. A major website is for the Jack Chick Company.16 Jack Chick was one of the first to realize in the post-Kennedy years that old-fashioned anti-Catholicism could still make a buck. He released a series of traditional anti-Catholic 'comic books' in the 1970s, the most popular being Alberto. Alberto is the story of a man who claims to have been a Jesuit priest who worked under assignment from the Vatican. Murder and assassination – as well as the usual priestly licentiousness -- are common tools for the Holy See, according to the Chick comic book. Chick followed this up with a few other comics, though none as successful as the original Alberto. Chick, who publishes today out of California, also produces a range of small black-and-white tracts that viciously attack Catholic practices and beliefs. Perhaps the most tasteless among the tasteless is the 'Death Cookie,' that portrays the Eucharist as a Satanic-inspired ritual rooted in pagan beliefs. Chick also has reproduced classic anti-Catholic works such as 'Father' Chiniquy’s 'Fifty Years in the Church of Rome"

Chick’s website is primarily a tool for selling his materials. As his advertising is routinely rejected as offensive in mainstream Christian periodicals, he has limited vehicles in which to reach an audience. He proclaims – as do most of the church-based anti-Catholic Internet sites – that his only goal is the conversion of Catholics to "bible-based" beliefs. But Chick does not bother to engage in honest dialogue, or honest argument, over Catholic beliefs. Rather, the Chick website, like so many others, peddles bombastic charges against the Church as knowingly teaching false doctrine and purposely sending souls to hell. This is ugly stuff.

At jesus-is-lord website18 vicious anti-Catholicism flourishes. Convents are referred to as "torture chambers" and 19th-century anti-Catholic polemics are excerpted. "Ex-priest" William Hogan, who claims to have been ordained in Ireland, writes of an abortion and the murder of the young nun-mother by "lascivious, beastly priests of the Whore." Alleged ex-priests like Hogan made a good living after the Civil War in the United States. They were usually tent preachers who came to town under the sponsorship of a local Protestant congregation. A few, like Chiniquy, might have actually been priests, usually with a bumpy past with Church authorities, rather than the sincere converts they claimed to be. It was a good way to make a living, as these "revivals" would draw good-sized crowds and the "free will offerings" where usually generous. Like pornographic websites today that use Catholic imagery (sacramentals, or women dressed as nuns or in Catholic school girl uniforms), the promise to the crowd was usually a touch of scandal and sex as they promised to reveal what goes on in the confessional or behind the doors of convents. Even as late as the first quarter of the 20th Century, revivals by "ex-priests" were common in the Midwest and the South.19

Jesus-is-lord reproduces "The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional" by Chiniquy as well as "Thirty Years in Hell" by ex-priest Bernard Fresenberg (1904 date of publication) "who today stands at the Vatican’s door, with the torch of Protestant wisdom, and denounces Popery with a tongue livid with the power of a living God." Jesus-is-lord provides the "Anti-Christ Slideshow" that stars "the popes of Rome and the great whore of revelation XVII the Roman Catholic Religion." The slideshow promises "blasphemy, torture, licentiousness, damnation, whoredom" and "the power of the devil." Also included on the website is a Washington Post wire story on the debunked Kansas City Star story of an alleged epidemic of AIDS in the priesthood proving, according to the website, that the Catholic priesthood is the "repository of perverts." The Kansas City Star should be happy that someone has treated their stories seriously. The counter for hits on Jesus-is-lord for about a two-year period shows that 1,172,583 visitors have logged onto the website.20

As most parents understand, virtually any child can access pornographic images with two or three clicks of a mouse on the Internet. It is just as simple to access anti-Catholic pages. Internet Websites such as Jack Chick’s rarely have a positive presentation of their own faith. Primarily, these sites castigate other believers, particularly Catholics. At Harbor Lighthouse21 produced by the Ankerberg Theological Institute in Nashville, Tennessee, a wealth of anti-Catholic material is readily available. In a posted article entitled "The Spiritual Battle for Truth" – which can be downloaded for $2 – Michael Grendon, who claims to be a former Catholic, writes: "Satan has been profoundly successful in deceiving multitudes in the name of Christ because his servants appear as ministers of righteousness. They wear high priestly garments and religious collars and carry boastful titles such as ‘most reverend,’ ‘right reverend,’ ‘his excellency’ and ‘Holy Father.’"


unknown anon said...

The "Jesus is Lord" site promotes geocentrism (!), though the "Jesus is Savior" site does not (at least I haven't found it yet. Lots of material and horrible layout to wade through, though).

(And as a note on accuracy, the Protestant pastor's name is spelled Mike Gendron.)

sara said...

I don't know if it's because of where I live or because most of the people I know are Catholic but, honestly, I don't know anyone IRL who takes Chick Pub seriously. Baptist, Lutheran, AoG, non-denom - I have fellowshipped with all of these and more and they are mostly reasonable, intelligent Christians who don't give that kind of nonsense a second look. But out here in cyberland it's a different story.

I worked in a Christian bookstore as a teen in the late 1980's and we did carry those tracts. The owner hid them all the way in the back. In hindsight, I wish he hadn't carried them at all.

IRL, I only know one person who gave the tracts any credence at all and that was only because he had come to salvation through one of the more benign tracts. (It was one that didn't even have words in it.) And he was quick to say that most of the others were junk.

Sal said...

I'm not sure that Candy and Tracy of Jesus-is-Lord understand how much they damage their credibility by publishing or linking to this material.

The company you keep is important.

Maggii said...

yes..I really think if one has to resort to sensational sites like 'chick tracts" or that Jesus is Lord site to make your arguements...then you really don't have a leg to stand on...IMO...those sites spread untruths and out right lies....and if you can't get your point across without lies well maybe you don't HAVE a point to begin with....