The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Pastor Apologizes For Hate-filled Halloween Hand-out

By Leah Nelson on November 2, 2011 - 4:28 pm, Posted in Extremist Propaganda

The pastor of an Ohio church that, for Halloween, gave children an anti-atheist cartoon “Gospel tract” published by a radical Christian hate group, has issued a public apology and denunciation of the cartoon’s “extreme methodology.”

The tract, titled “Mean Momma,” is the work of Chick Publications, an evangelical ministry that the Southern Poverty Law Center has long listed as a hate group due to its militant, vitriolic propaganda war against anyone who doesn’t adhere to its particular brand of Christianity.

“Mean Momma” illustrates the story of the fictional Petunia Parker, a grouchy atheist who rejects the hospitality of her neighbors, curses God, and tells her children that “it’s okay to live any way you want.” One by one, the children die – one in a car crash, one from suicide, and one in a tornado that also wrecks the house – until Petunia repents of her evil ways, accepts Christ, and is saved.

Responding to a deluge of negative comments on the church’s Facebook page, Pastor Kenny Cousar of Northview Baptist Church in Hillsboro, Ohio, wrote on Oct. 29, “Annually, our church has a ministry of passing out Gospel tracts with our candy to children as an outreach to our communities. Unfortunately, we did not realize that one of our tracts was not appropriate. That is our fault for not paying attention to the tract in the first place. Our church does not endorse this type of extreme methodology that was represented in this particular tract, and we can assure you that we will not let this happen again. In our zeal to get the Gospel out, we were careless; but our church is a loving church that loves souls and wants to do all we can in our community to help as well as spread and share the Gospel message of Christ.”

Atheists aren’t Chick Publications’ only target. The California-based ministry, founded almost 50 years ago by Jack Chick – who still writes and illustrates much of its material – is also anti-Muslim, anti-gay, and anti-Mormon. Perhaps the greatest target of its wrath is the Catholic Church, which it calls a “false religious system” that worships a “blasphemous wafer god.”

Chick Publications’ other material is equally extreme. An anti-gay cartoon titled “Uninvited” is the fictional tale of a Christian nurse on an AIDS ward who converts her patients – all of whom are gay – by telling them that she could have become a lesbian after being raped as a child but turned to Jesus instead. “The gay community fulfill Christ’s prophecy by terrifying politicians, strong-arming the media, and creating little sodomites in our school systems,” the nurse says in one panel of the cartoon. “They want the world to become like Sodom. It will, under the coming antichrist, but what a price to pay.”

After admitting that they, too, were molested as children, some of the gay men in “Uninvited” reject homosexuality, accept Jesus, and are saved. Those who refuse the Christian nurse’s message die “in their sins” and go to hell.

Chick Publications also draws on the work of other extremists. A 2008 article on Islam from Battle Cry, Chick Publications’ newsletter, quotes Robert Spencer, co-founder of the anti-Muslim hate group Stop Islamization of America. Elsewhere, an article purporting to show that evolution is a hoax cites the theories of Dr. Kent Hovind – a.k.a. “Dr. Dino” – a veteran anti-evolution activist and tax protestor who ran a bizarre creationist theme park called Dinosaur Adventure Land and presided over Creation Science Ministries, which sold books and other merchandise. In 2007, Hovind was sentenced to 10 years in prison on 58 counts of tax fraud, including failure to pay $845,000 in employee-related taxes and threatening investigators.

It is unclear whether the other tracts Northview Baptist Church passed out for Halloween are also generated by Chick Publications. The church did not return a call for comment.

  • John

    Why do liberals lash out in anger and call everyone who disagrees with them haters. They are actually intolerant people criticizing those they label intolerant!

  • Roger Smith

    Totally abhorrent and unconscionably hateful. How can Anyone who claims to love God be so full of venom. It seems that a man named Jesus once said, “Let he who is w/o sin cast the first stone.” Any takers? Didn’t think so.

  • Fedos

    Pickwick,

    “So how did this tract get into your church to start? Did it magically appear?”

    These tracts are usually bought in bulk with several titles included. Depending on where the church bought them, it’s possible that this was the only Chick tract in the lot. Of course, we’ll never know since the church didn’t respond to the SPLC’s request for comments.

  • Julia

    I don’t think I will ever understand any person hating and causing prejudice towards others in the name of God.

  • Erika

    I could be wrong, but I believe that the original version of the anti-abortion Chick Tract “Who Murdered Clarice?” was also rather less than condemning of fathers who rape their daughters. My understanding is that the tract was rewritten to remove the reference that the baby was a product of incest – but of course, the young rape victim who has an abortion still gets condemned to Hell while the rapist goes to Heaven.

    I think that many of the comments here including my earlier ones show how difficult it is to really see Chick Publications as a hate group. Because someone could not come up with a better satire of ultrafundamentalist Christians if you tried, its difficult to remember that Jack T. Chick is actually being serious and people actually believe what he is saying.

    And really, anyone who doubts that Chick Publications is a hate group, should take a look at how stereotypical the Chick Tracts aimed at ethnic audiences are. Oh my!

  • tyrone mixon

    I’m 45 years old and I can remember Chick tracts as a child. I remember them going on about how evil the Pope was and how it never left me. I had no clue these people were still in business.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Chick did hire another artist who does the more realistic comics(and the art for his book). His name escapes me, but Chick did not credit the guy for a long time.

  • Chuck

    Ruslan, I remember the “Lisa” tract…it was apparently so offensive/controversial that Chick Publications no longer offers it! (And rightfully so, given how horribly flawed its message is)

  • DeTHMoNK

    Sanctity of marriage? Where’s that? The Christian Right Wing cries that every chance it gets, has stupid demonstrations (Westboro Baptist) saying that only a man and a woman should be allowed to marry, and Kim Kardashian weds Kris Humphries, the marriage lasts 72 days and then they divorce. Where’s the sanctity in that? Marriage is a commitment between two mature individuals, gay or straight, and shouldn’t be taken lightly regardless of sexual identity. Kim and Kris did it for the publicity and the potential money they’d make on their idiotic video.

    Sorry to change the subject on you guys…Jack Chick’s comics are a farce unto themselves and makes for a good laugh. Anything that comes out of that guy’s piehole is not to be taken serious. We here in the U.S.A. will always have our own crazy nut-job extremists like they have over in the Middle East. Chick is probably the milder of the bunch. As long as he keeps publishing..we can keep an eye on him. It’s the individuals that go around in secret are the ones you have to watch out for:

    http://www.deathandtaxes.com/?p=16

  • Sam Molloy

    There was , years ago, an anti Gay Chick tract where the main character was truly a well drawn, attractive young man. This was not drawn in their usual semi humorous style. Years later, I saw exactly the same artwork, that I believe was by the same artist, in an antiAids, safe sex tract. If that artist is reading this, come out come out wherever you are.

  • http://chainthedogma.blogspot.com/ Perry Bulwer

    Speaking of conservatives and Nazis:

    Oxford University last night launched an investigation into claims that Tory students sang a ‘despicable’ song celebrating Nazi massacres during meetings.

    Members of the university’s Conservative Association were alleged to have given renditions of the song that revels in the killing of Jews during ‘port and policy’ nights.

    One member of the Conservative Association, who declined to be named, told the Oxford Student newspaper: ‘Lots of people were singing it that night, and indeed on many other nights, and the general attitude is that that was OK.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....quiry.html

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Many people collect Chick tracts because they are funny. Chick also published a book you can read online which is really hilarious, known as Marriage Mess. In one wacky scene, the good Christian family member informs the husband that it is his duty to routinely have sex with his wife. In another, the husband complains about the president when reading the morning paper. The Christian family member informs him that our leaders are “God’s anointed”, and that we should pray for them. Now you’re probably asking, “Even HITLER?” Yes, even Hitler. If you lived in Germany between 1933-45, you should have been praying for Hitler, according to Jack Chick. So remember that, Chick followers, before you start cursing our “Muslim, Socialist, Communist” president!

    It’s all right here on his site: http://www.chick.com/reading/books/150/150cont.asp

    This side has the out-of-print comic “Lisa” on it. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Jack_Chick

    Prepare to be horrified.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Sooo…. I guess RRoberts isn’t coming back with examples of ” hate filled liberals who post comments here as a hate group?”

  • Arlene G in Phoenix

    Better yet, here is a website with the infamous email “A Day in the Life of Joe Conservative” – with the reality of 30 years of conservative policies and the destruction it has wrought on our nation.

    Check it out, and then let’s recirculate it again!

    http://www.mnwelldir.org/docs/editorial/Joe.htm

  • Arlene G in Phoenix

    Back in my ignorant days, I actually loved those little tracts by Chick Publications. Since an education and enlightenment, I no longer believe any of those principles and dogma that those tracts encompass, but I will say this: When will we, who are progressive, come up with a little tract of similar dire warning, to pass on the real threat of what it will mean if the right-wing wins over our political, economic, and civil systems? If we continue with corporate feudalism, institute a theocracy, and base law on “bible” law? How about some cartoon booklets to pass out, in a similar vein, but showing what will happen (and has happened in states like Germany during the Nazi takeover).

  • http://chainthedogma.blogspot.com/ Perry Bulwer

    Ruslan, I mentioned previously that the founder of the Children of God was inspired by Chick. He used comics to indoctrinate the children of his cult. Check out this blurb from a site by survivors of that group.

    *****
    Heaven’s Girl was a series of fictional writings and illustrations from the late 1980s compiled in book-form and written for children in The Family International, aka Children of God. The lead character, Marie Claire, was based on David Berg’s granddaughter, Merry “Mene” Berg. The story was supposed to take place during the “Great Tribulation”, prophecied by Berg to begin in 1989. Merry would have been in her mid teens at that time. This was taught to children as being the “true future”.

    The book, Heaven’s Girl, depicts a young, very scantily clad “Endtime prophetess” with supernatural powers. She was touted as a role model for children, and her exploits include giving sex freely to soldiers that were gang-raping her, and exchanging sex for favors.

    In the excerpt below she is gang-raped by soldiers before being fed to lions and uses her rape as an opportunity to show “God’s Love”

    http://www.xfamily.org/index.p.....Family_Art

    http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/Heaven%27s_Girl

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Alright, now that the right-wingers have once again ran away from a challenge to back up their claims, I’ll weigh in on Chick tracts. The best Chick tract is one called “Lisa”(IIRC), which was actually pulled from production. See Rationalwiki’s article on Jack Chick and you should be able to find it.

    Basically this father is molesting his daughter, and his family doctor, a Christian, informs the father that he knows what’s going on. He “witnesses” to the father, who confesses his sins and converts to True Christianity. Now let that sink in for a moment. The good Christian doctor, who knew the father was molesting his daughters, didn’t contact the police. In fact he never does. The dad converts and we’re expected to believe that he just stops molesting them. Yup.

    Anyway, if Chick tracts teach us anything, it’s that hell is full of extraordinarily intelligent and generous people who are being punished for not accepting Chick’s wacky beliefs, whereas heaven is loaded with murderers, rapists, and other scum who converted at the 11th hour just like in his tracts.

    Oh yeah, Chick also believes magic is real.

  • Ian

    My neighbor’s cat is constantly harassing my boyfirend’s dog. When is the SPLC going to label that bag of fleas a hate group?!!!!!!!!!11111oneoneone

    Seriously, people, if anything conservatives should be grateful that so few of their groups are labeled hate groups, considering how common their attacks on gay people, Latinos, and religious minorities are.

    But on topic, Jack Chick’s tracts are some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever read. I have a weird sense of humor, though, so I may just be me. “Angels?” is my all-time favorite.

  • Linnea

    This would be almost be amusing if it weren’t a symptom of something much nastier.

    I also have a very hard time believing that this church didn’t look at the tracts they were handing out. IMO, they knew exactly what they were handing out, and when called out, tried to backpedal and claim ignorance.

    And yes, Ruslan, I’ve noticed the same thing you have. It’s curious that people are so quick to defend the right-wing (against a mountain of solid evidence) but accuse liberal or moderate groups of hate when all they’re doing is pointing out facts.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    In regards to William and RRoberts, have you ever noticed how often someone barges in here and screams:

    “OH YEAH?! WHAT ABOUT ALL THE HATEFUL THINGS THEM LIBRULS SAY? WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE LEFT-WING TERRORISTS?”

    Yet when asked for proof, they disappear like ninjas.

  • EarleyDaysYet

    @William: “Now kindergardeners will be encouraged by gender counselors to pick each day whether they want to be a boy or a girl and which bathroom they want to use at that moment. Looks like they are also moving beyond homosexuality in the training of the children (i.e. transgender, etc.)”

    Wow. Just… wow. You really think this is happening? Anywhere? There is a fundamental difference between “teaching kids not to discriminate against others” and “promoting gender confusion” – the mere fact that you’re conflating the two tells me a lot about your sources of information.

  • Allen

    “Hate-filled liberals” is an oxymoron. Just look at all the shooters who snap and go on liberal-hunting rampages because they were influenced by conservative commentators; where are those who are doing the same from the other side? Fact is, liberals’ best weapon is reason, and conservative arguments can’t stand or stand up to rational thinking-points, so they eventually snap and take that last resort; violence.

  • kbrown225

    When I was a boy i Birmingham Alabama we used to get those tracts slipped in with our Halloween candy. I am not sure if they were the same one’s as the “Chick Tracts” but they were hilarious in a sort of macarbe way.

    I remember one where the devil was sitting in hell talking about how happy he was at the popularity of the “Dark Shawdows” television soap opera (obviously Satan was a producer of the show) and the show was spreading his message. Some were pretty evil and mean-spirited.

    It is interesting to note that the religious zealots have not given up on the “scary little comic book” aspect of proselytizing.

  • Erika

    RRoberts, since it looks like you were responding to me, please tell me what about my comment was “hateful?”

    Everything I listed came directly from Chick Tracts – what does it tell you about Conservatives that they consider it to be “hateful” and “intolerant” to have a liberal accurately portray what a Conservative says?

    And sweetie, since you are apparently slow, I actually luv Jack T. Chick and his Chick Tracts. If you have any knowledge of what Jesus of Nazareth actually taught and any sense of humor at all, you can see that Jack T. Chick is actually like a living version of one of his characters. While Jack T. Chick constantly looks for ways that Satan will fool people into following him rather than God, he fails to see that he has been fooled – probably by a way too cute to be scary cartoon Devil holding a pitchfork who disguised himself as a ultra fundamentalist Christian – into using his talents to spread hatred against, well pretty much everyone.

  • Marina

    Marina said.

    William, the education in the schools about gays is necessary to educate ignorants like you that teaches intolerance to children.

  • http://huffingtonpost.com/marcella-mroczkowski MDMro

    It’s false equivalence to liken homophobia to liberal criticism of homophobia. Homophobia seeks at the very least to treat gays and lesbians as second class citizens if not to eliminate or chase them underground completely.A liberal critic of an anti-homosexual Christian cult is not seeking to treat them as second class citizens, unless you engage in the specious argument that preventing you from injuring others’ rights is injuring your rights.

  • Michael

    Jeff, we will agree to disagree, with one small note: Jews do NOT tell anyone that they need to convert to Judaism in order to get into heaven. As a matter of fact, not only do Jews not try to convert people, but if they find out that someone is considering converting, they continually ask the person if s/he is sure in her/his “heart of hearts” that this is what s/he wants to do. Other belief systems don’t do this.

  • Pickwick

    “Unfortunately, we did not realize that one of our tracts was not appropriate.”

    So how did this tract get into your church to start? Did it magically appear? Did one of your subordinates slip it into the tract rack? Someone in that church knew exactly what that tract was before a single copy ever went out the door. Pastor, you need to shepherd your flock!

  • jokr8790

    ” We apologize for handing out poison along with our Halloween candy. We assure you we’ll disguise it better next time.”

  • Jeff

    Michael – lets agree to disagree, agreeably. Anyone can believe what they want, and can through free speech proclaim that. It doesn’t mean it is “hate”. It may be “extreme”, but not hate.

    Every religion believes what you identified. If you are Muslim, you must follow the teachings of Muhammed. If you are Catholic, you must abide by the sacraments and confess. If you are Church of Christ, you must be baptized. If you are Baptist, you must be born again. You name the religion and they “espouse” a way to get to Heaven, God, Allah, whatever that excludes every other religion. That does not make them a hate group.

    The hate is when the group, religion, person starts espousing violence towards others with their message. I do not see that in most religions of today and not in this article.

    My point is to call it what it is. Both extremism and hate may be wrong. But it doesn’t mean they are interchangeable. Just like murder and rape are both wrong but you wouldn’t call a “rapist” a “murderer”. You call it what it is. In this case, my opinion, SPLC is calling religious extremism a hate group. There is a difference.

  • Michael

    Jeff, when groups or tracts like these say the only way you can get into heaven is to apostatize from your belief system and follow their version of Jesus (or Joseph Smith or whatever), that takes it from being a religious tract into being a destructive cult tract by saying that it’s “my way to G-D or your doomed for ever,” which is what the Chick tracts do and what this “pastor” supported.

    William, if you consider that the heterosexual agenda is foist upon homosexuals every say, how can you say that gays fighting back is wrong? Let me ask you: when did YOU decide you were straight?

  • Jeff

    Question – If a church preaches something they believe to be true, why is it “hate”? To label a chuch who believes someone will go to Hell for a particuliar act isn’t hate – it may be extremist, but not hate. Hate is a church that preaches violence.

    I am familair with Chick Publications – I have read most of their material at one time or another. They are extreme, but not hateful. Just because someone may not believe as they do does not mean they are a “hate group”. I don’t agree with liberals but it doesn’t mean I hate them. Even if I wrote a book outlining why I disagree with them and state their ideas are going to destroy America – doesn’t mean I hate them. If I wrote a book stating we should behead all liberals, that would be hate. Their is a difference in “hate group” and “religious extremism”. Call it what it is.

  • http://chainthedogma.blogspot.com/ Perry Bulwer

    “The Chick tracts are also anti-Jewish.”

    I first heard about Chick in the 80s when the cult I was in at the time, Family International, aka Children of God, used some of his material to promote the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion as part of that cult’s virulent hatred of Jews. I just posted yesterday a blog article on Chain the Dogma about that cult on the issue of biblical mass murder and genocide. It includes a link to a detailed study of that group’s anti-Semitism.

  • William

    It does appear that the homosexual agenda, unike their original claim that they just wanted to be left alone and that they weren’t bothering “straight” married people and their families has morphed into a full onslaught on children who attend public schools. Now kindergardeners will be encouraged by gender counselors to pick each day whether they want to be a boy or a girl and which bathroom they want to use at that moment. Looks like they are also moving beyond homosexuality in the training of the children (i.e. transgender, etc.)

  • Miguel

    RRoberts, you really have no clue, do you? Or are you just trolling?

  • Michael

    The Chick tracts are also anti-Jewish.

    That said, apology NOT accepted, Mr. Cougar. You should NOT have used the Celtic New Year as a means to try to spread the word of your destructive cult on children.

  • senzuri

    RRoberts’ response is essentially “I know you are but what am I?” That kind of kindergarten-level intellect is completely typical of right-wingers like him.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Please provide some examples, RRoberts.

  • Brian W

    I’ve never seen any evidence of “hate filled liberals” who post comments here.

    It’s quite obvious that you just simply don’t agree with what you’ve seen, hence your response. You should articulate why you feel the way you do.

  • RRoberts

    When is SPLC going to label the hate filled liberals who post comments here as a hate group?

  • Erika

    Why would a church that thinks that Jack T. Chick tracts are appropriate for children be participating in a Halloween celebration in the first place? Didn’t they pay attention to all of his warnings about how Halloween is the Devil’s Holiday and that Halloween celebrations will inevitably lead to reading Bibles other than the King James Version, believing in evolution, playing Dungeons and Dragons, listening to Heavy Metal Music, drug use, human sacrifice, deviant sex, and finally Hell? They are obviously going to end up in the last panel burning in hell with a cartoon devil poking a pitchfork into them “yelling I was fooled.”