Friday, March 5, 2010

Jack is back!

A priest in Tennessee has discovered Jack Chick tracts:

Father Jay Flaherty, of Holy Cross Catholic Church, said he first learned about the pamphlets when one of his youth brought one to him.

"There's two of them that really upset me because I knew it would upset the children," Father Flaherty said. "One's called the 'Death Cookie,' which claims that our communion is from the devil."

The other pamphlet, titled "Last Rites," shows cartoon drawings of a Roman Catholic man who isn't saved because he didn't accept Christ.
I think Fr. Flaherty goes just a wee bit overboard later in the article in suggesting that distributing Chick tracts might lead to another Columbine. His bishop makes a much better statement:

In a statement release Friday by the Diocese of Knoxville, Bishop Richard F. Stika called the pamphlets "reprehensible acts of prejudice and hatred of a few souls."

"The rationale one Baptist pastor gave in support of distributing these reprehensible, discriminatory, and bigoted tracts was that he was trying to point out the primary difference his church has with Catholics: the belief that a person does not and cannot work his or her way to salvation," Bishop Stika said in the statement. "Unfortunately, this pastor does not have a correct understanding of what the Catholic faith teaches in this regard."

New info--

I found another news article which gives more information about the situation. I hadn't realized these pamphlets had been passed out at a local public high school. I think the article indicates that it was students from this Baptist church passing them out. Some choice quotes from the article.

Despite admitting he knew little about the Catholic Faith, Conner Heighs Baptist Pastor Jonathan Hatcher felt confident that publisher Chick Publications was spreading the gospel . . .

Pastor Hatcher says he's not trying to target Catholics specifically, just the belief that the eucharist will save one's soul.

In fact, he says he doesn't even really know much about the Catholic faith.

"I'm obviously not schooled in the Catholic religion, I've not read the Catholic canons. I study the King James Bible and that's what I preach from, what I study from," Pastor Hatcher said.

When asked if he's concerned about passing out literature targetting a religion about which he admits he doesn't know much, Pastor Hatcher says he trusts the publishers of the material.

"The people who distribute these tracts, or put them on the market, say they are schooled in it," Pastor Hatcher said. "Our goal is not to spread not to start violence, not to spread hatred, but to share the Gospel."

Yes, let us trust Jack Chick on the subject of Catholicism.

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Unashamed said...

I'd never seen these Jack Chick tracts before until about a year ago. I was getting gasoline one day and noticed somebody had stuck a bunch of tracts in amongst the gas pumps. I was sort of curious, at first I thought they might be Jehovah's Witness stuff so I took a quick look but even the Watchtower is not that offensive! I was absolutely appalled, so I went from pump to pump and gathered them up and threw them in the trash where they belong.

What it says to me is that their arguments are not able to stand on their own merits and that they must resort to cheap sensationalism to manipulate their audience. Sad.

Moonshadow said...

Good for you, Unashamed. That was the right thing to do.

However, I can't imagine these tracts inciting violence against rank & file Catholics. Perhaps the Father was concerned about his own neck since he could be perceived, by Baptists, as the one most guilty of offending God.

Remember, Baptists love us rank & file Catholics and not the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

Kelly said...

My husband was actually rather pleased to find one at a gas pump last year. His first real live Chick Tract! He brought it home to show me and then we tossed it.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Is this the same incident as reported by I did not have a chance to read the article, but it sounds very uncharitable. I do not think it is the Christian thing to do. When I read the article I will let you know.

Sue Bee said...

Did you see the combox? A lot of HARSH words being exchanged in Pigeon Forge. Can't imagine that happening if the Baptists had been handing out Gospel tracts.

Kelly said...

I didn't get the link from Fox, so I don't know if it is being reported there. I don't see how this made the local news, much less the national. Baptist hands out tracts, Catholic gets offended?? That's not news.

I wonder if the priest first called up the pastor and asked him politely to refrain from using those particular tracts. I think tossing around Columbine is just tactless. It really isn't that big of a deal.

I also think it is a lost opportunity for education. Why not invite the local Baptist churches over for an evening potluck and give a brief talk on what Catholics really believe. Everyone getting angry at each other is not going to help anyone.

Sue, I completely agree. I've said before, that if Candy, or anyone, wants to convert people then just focus on the Gospel. If Catholics really don't believe in the Gospel message, then trust that they will see it is not compatible with their church. But if, as Elena and I say, that we believe the same things, then we won't be offended.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Okay, yes it the same incident reported by

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Mocking a person about their religion is not a compassionate thing to do. Warning about sin, yes, but mocking, no.

Mocking was NEVER Jesus' way! Everyone is FREE to choose who they want to worship. God is not into cohercion and mocking accusations!

Daughter of Wisdom said...

It's things like these that cause me to not want to identify with any particular church. Things like these can cripple my minstry!

Moonshadow said...

Yes, Fox News reported it last night. They love playing up religious contention especially among Christians. Last I saw, the Baptist minister agreed to not distribute this particular tract anymore.

I was at a retreat this morning led by an SSJ. Of course, there was some questionable technique and method used (i.e., yoga, Tai-chi) but I've come to expect that. There was also some very good stuff, (i.e., lectio divina, etc.)

But Sr. Gerri said about 40 years ago, she used to take young adults into Western KY to help poor people and even though she wore her habit in those days generally, she didn't dare wear it among rural Kentuckians. Sisters who wore their habits got stoned by the locals. This is only 40 years ago. (Although I remember being warned ten years about certain conservative neighborhoods in Jerusalem too.)

So, this is progress?

Moonshadow said...

I really did want to follow up with her and be sure that I heard her correctly, etc., etc. Because it sounded rather incredible. I suppose it may not have been systematic but random, like lynching (excuse me, please) or other hate crimes. Of course, it's worse when one considers she was there to help.

Kelly said...

I guess it depends on whether she meant actual stoning to the death, or someone throwing a rock at her. Throwing a rock is in the realm of possibility, but forty years ago is 1970, right? Definitely no stoning!

Unashamed said...

I'm curious and hope you don't mind me asking: how prevalent is anti-catholic sentiment in your day to day life? In Canada I don't really notice the anti-Catholic sentiment, at least not here in our community. That kind of thing is usually directed at conservative Christians in general, not towards one particular denomination. When I first encountered anti-Catholic sentiment on the internet I was kind of shocked. I'm used to theological debate, but I wasn't prepared for the blatant bigotry I've seen. IRL I sometimes get teased about being "Catholic lite" but no real prejudice. How about you ladies - does this happen a lot to you outside of the internet?

Moonshadow said...

I took it to mean throwing rocks at, to drive away, both in W. KY and in conservative Jerusalem neighborhoods.

As for anti-Catholic bigotry, like any other bigotry, I experience it more often from people of the previous generation. My in-laws, for instance, don't have a kind word to say about the Catholics they know.

I agree that everything on the Internet is blown out of proportion or exaggerated. I think it's the nature of the medium: too many voices. In real life, you can't get anyone to confess to holding anti-Catholic opinions.

Kelly said...

I'm curious and hope you don't mind me asking: how prevalent is anti-catholic sentiment in your day to day life?

Well, in elementary school, my best friend was a dresses only Baptist. She would sometimes say things like "My preacher says Catholics aren't Christians because you worship idols." I could never figure out what she was talking about, so we would both shrug and go on playing.

In high school, I worked at the local non-denomination Christian camp one summer. Once a man noticed my crucifix and said "What are you doing here? If you're Catholic, you don't belong!" He started to challenge me on Catholic beliefs, but was hushed up by everyone around him. We put a lot of stock into being polite around here.

While I was away at college, our church was vandalized, but that could have been drunk kids.

Since I've moved back to this area, I've seen that Catholics are specifically excluded from one of the local homeschooling groups (along with Mormons, etc.). Another allows Catholics, but I was warned by some other moms that their children had been told by other children during one of the meetings that they were going to hell because they were Catholic and weren't saved. I decided to avoid the group based on that secondhand account.

That's the extent of my personal experiences.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

So sorry to hear what happenned to you Kelly! But what is the appropriate way to handle situations in which people have differing beliefs? Should we shun them for fear their doctrines might rub off on us? Or should be treat them with love and respect in spite of differences?

I come in contact with people of various religions every day! I have to deal with Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, plus all the different flavors of Christianity. I choose however to look at the whole person and what that person is all about, rather just than limiting the relationship to their religion. If they invite me to one of their religious meetings I gracefully decline, without letting that interfere with the relationship.

Here in Florida we are more tolerant of religious diversity. If we know something is offensive to another because of their religious beliefs we respect that and do not do it. I know when my Jehovah Witness friend comes over to visit to not offer her a Christian book to read!

As I have written before, time and time again, diversity of beliefs has always been a reality in the Christian church from even the earliest times. God allows diversity of beliefs to test us to see whether we are children of the Truth and Light or not (1 Corinthians 11:19).

Diversity of beliefs is nothing new in Christianity (or Judaism for that matter).


Unashamed said...

Thanks Kelly, for sharing your experiences. I've been reflecting on this and it brought an incident from years ago to mind...

This would have been 10 or 11 years ago, when my son was in grade 4. We were vacationing in Northern Ontario and the small town that we were staying in had a Roman Catholic church, so on Sunday we went to Mass. This must have been my son's first time to a Catholic church because when we entered he saw the big crucifix at the front, and he remarked, "Oh, they have Jesus here too.". I remember being a bit surprised by his remark and affirming that, yes, Christ was present, but beyond that I didn't really think too much of it. The kids found the liturgy familiar and it was just a regular Sunday but in a different church. But now I'm wondering...where did he get the idea that Jesus wasn't present in the Catholic church?

I can't help but wonder if he picked it up from school (our kids attended a private Lutheran school). Now I assure you that the Lutheran church does NOT teach that Catholics aren't Christians. We teach that where ever the Gospel is preached and the Sacraments are administered, there is the true church. But the school does teach about the Reformation and how and why it happened. There is always some discussion regarding the theological differences and I can't help but wonder if the kids might have picked up the wrong impression.
Anyways, I guess I need to examine my assumption that anti-Catholic sentiment isn't prevalent in this community. Maybe it is not blatant, but more subtle. This has been a bit of an eye opener.

I hope you know, though, that I speak out when someone says that Catholics aren't Christians/saved. I always have. You all know that we have our theological differences (and that I defend the orthodox Lutheran position vigorously *smile*) but I consider you my Sisters in Christ. I hope my question didn't offend you. That was not my intention at all.

Barbara C. said...

My first experience with anti-Catholic rhetoric was my maternal grandmother (Baptist). We were frequently told we were going to hell for being dad was an alcoholic for having a beer in the fridge...etc. I didn't really understand it at the time; I think I realized even then that she used religion to try to manipulate and harass my mother.

The next I really heard was in college (where Kelly and I went). A Southern Baptist friend explained that he had been taught that Catholics "weren't Christians" and "worshiped Mary and the saints". It all seemed so ludicrous; I couldn't believe anyone really thought that (that wasn't a crazy witch like my grandmother). It really helped me to understand the finer points of my own faith better as I tried to articulate it to him.

Up here, outside Chicago, it's not really an issue. There is soooo much religious diversity. On any given day we are libel to interact with a variety of Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims (as well as atheist/agnostic) on a daily basis.

It's more about things on television: priests are always immoral (villain) or unorthodox (hero); devout Catholics who abstain from artificial birth control are whackos; forget seeing a pro-life Catholic (or any other faith) portrayed positively.

Kelly said...

Sorry, I forgot to get back on this.

I'm not offended at all, Unashamed. I wouldn't say that any of my experiences were traumatic. I know that most people are offended by what they think Catholics believe, not by what we really believe. Now that I am better educated about my faith, I like it when people bring up their concerns because it gives me an opportunity to correct their misinformation.

Kelly said...

I added new info to the post, with another news article on the Chick pamphlet.

Sue Bee said...

A few years ago an IFB Church was meeting in my youngest son's school - less than a block from my house. The members canvassed our neighborhood with informational flyers about when they were meeting for worship, who the pastor was, some core beliefs, contact information - the usual church flyer stuff. They also left a Gospel of John booklet, King James Version (of course). It was little, maybe 3 inches tall. I really liked it and carried it around in my purse for awhile thinking I might need it to witness to someone or perhaps to give away.

Their outreach left me with a positive opinion of their church, their members and their pastor.

As the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey...

Moonshadow said...

Their outreach left me with a positive opinion of their church, their members and their pastor.

Some years ago, I was critical on my blog about an independent church which was meeting on Sundays in the public middle school. A member of the church came across it and engaged me in dialogue, then the pastor signed on and you can read the exchange if you have a strong stomach. I actually became physically ill during the discussion but I came to understand about Christians who think sacraments are "a work" and about trusting in sacraments for salvation.

So it wasn't a complete waste.

I'm usually pretty gutsy about visiting new churches but I've never taken the trouble to visit this one. The service times don't work for me, honestly. But I got a suspicion that I couldn't shake that this church was "suitcased." Let me explain what I mean.

When I was a kid, my best friend would hold a carnival every summer to raise money for Jerry's kids with muscular dystrophy. She sent away for a "kit" which included flyers and tickets and ideas for games and prizes. I get the feeling that some churches today work on this same model and this particular church in my town seemed affliated with Ray Comfort et. al. whether officially or not.

There's another church plant nearby that I'm following the progress of. I've attended Bible study at the "parent" or "sponsor" church for a number of years. Right now they meet in a movie theater on Sunday mornings and I attended once. Now I follow them on Facebook. This church plant also follows a specific "program" or agenda for initiating their ministry.

Catholics do these things too. I guess we just involve fewer laypeople in the process.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

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