funny stories, religion

Partial repost: Unsuccessfully making fun of Jack T. Chick with Pensacola Christian College alums…

A few days ago, I reposted a couple of book reviews about author Frank Schaeffer. As I was looking up those reviews on the old version of my blog, I noticed that I included Schaeffer in a post I wrote about cartoon religious tract artist Jack T. Chick. It so happens that Fundie Fridays also recently did a video about Jack Chick.

I enjoyed this video. I went through a Jack Chick phase myself about twenty years ago.

There is something fresh I’d like to write about this morning, but I’m not quite ready to put it into words yet. I think I need to talk to Bill a bit more before I’m ready to compose. But Jack Chick is always a fun topic and it IS Sunday, so here’s a partial repost of an article I wrote in February 2016.

When I was a graduate student, I had a surprising amount of free time on my hands.  Though I did not have as much free time in those days as I do now, as The Overeducated Housewife, I did have plenty of time for messing around.  I bought my very first personal computer in 1999.  I felt I needed to have it, even though the University of South Carolina had computer labs.  It was a good investment, especially since it ultimately led me to Bill.  Of course, I’ve already written that shocking story (which I will probably repost on 9/11).

Today, I want to write about the Christian evangelical comic book artist Jack T. Chick and how I came to learn of his existence.  I had never heard of him until 1999 or so, when I bought that first Gateway machine for $999.  I spent hours on the Internet, looking at everything that was available in cyberspace.  At one point, I landed on The Student Voice, a site for former students at Pensacola Christian College.  The site used to be http://www.pensacolachristiancollege.com, but it’s now defunct.  The school sued to get the URL released to them, but they lost. It looks like the guy who had the domain finally released it and now if you go to http://www.pensacolachristiancollege.com, you end up on the school’s official Web site.  I see a lot of the stuff that used to be on The Student Voice has been taken down.  That’s a real pity, though it’s still worth looking around if you’re interested in how weird PCC really is.  Here’s an article written by someone who experienced PCC and didn’t like it.

Apparently, the people who run PCC are extremely uptight folks.  They are very quick to give students the boot for not measuring up to standards.  If you choose to attend this college, you will be paying to be treated like you’re on house arrest.  Pensacola is near beaches.  PCC students are allowed to go to the beach, but they have to go to gender segregated ones… or, at least they did back in the early 00s.  Students were not allowed to be in mixed company and had to travel in groups.  They had to scan off campus and were only allowed to go to certain places.  They were only allowed to see G rated films.  And ladies, you can forget about wearing pants.  Indeed, women have to wear dresses and skirts of an appropriate length along with pantyhose.  Imagine how pleasant that is in Florida heat!  And guys are to wear ties, which are not allowed to be removed until the afternoon.

Man almighty, if I ever thought the rules were strict at Bob Jones University, BYU, or Liberty University, they were nothing compared to PCC.  Men and women had to use different stairwells and sidewalks and avoid touching or staring at each other for too long (making “eye babies”).  At night, everyone had to draw their blinds in a particular way to prevent peeping.  Books, magazines, and the Internet were strictly regulated and filtered.  Anything remotely suggestive was censored.  If you got sick, you had to check yourself into the infirmary.  And almost every student was required to live on campus, where, if they broke the rules, they could be grounded (campused).

I’m not sure if the rules are as strict today as they were twenty years ago, but back then, they were almost unbelievably strict.  What was really crazy in my view is that the students were all legal adults paying for this experience.  And the degrees they were paying for weren’t even accredited.  It’s my understanding that PCC now has some sort of accreditation designated for Christian schools, but I don’t think it’s the kind that is universally respected.  I, of course, found the whole thing fascinating and used to hang out on the Student Voice’s messageboard to get the dirt.  The stories were crazy and positively addictive.

Anyway, not being a particularly devout Christian, I had never heard of Christian tract artist Jack T. Chick.  Chick makes Bible tracts that many Christians pass out to others, leave in lieu of tips at restaurants, or litter with in parks and public restrooms.  They can be entertaining to read, even if some of the messages within them are hateful.  Basically, according to Chick, everyone who doesn’t live their lives in accordance with Biblical principles is going to go straight to Hell.

The PCC crowd had heard plenty about Jack T. Chick.  Some of them had handed out his tracts to innocent people.  Once I found out about Chick, I felt the insatiable need to find out more about him, so I continued my sleuthing and eventually came across a Web site called Weird Crap.  A guy named Psycho Dave had created several  parodies of Jack Chick’s tracts.  Most of the parodies are hilarious, even if they are also quite sacrilegious.  If you have an irreverent sense of humor and are not offended by blasphemy or extremely off color humor or language, I recommend having a look, especially after comparing them with Chick’s originals.  If you are at all sensitive about such humor, I recommend simply taking my word for it.  Also, be aware that the site is a bit wonky because it hasn’t been updated in ages.  Your patience will likely be required.

Psycho Dave wrote that he got a ration of shit from Jack Chick after he created his parodies.  He got phone calls and emails demanding that he take down his parodies because they were copyrighted.  I can’t help but get a huge kick out of the fact that the people at Weird Crap had loads of fun poking fun at Chick.  Their Web site kept me entertained for hours when I was in grad school and not able to chat with Bill.  And, as you can see, despite Chick’s saber shaking and harassment, Psycho Dave’s parodies are still online.  He says he’s ready to pass the Web site on to someone else, though.

A Chick tract in Dutch I found in Amsterdam.

I made the mistake of sharing the parodies with the folks on the PCC board.  I got quite the dressing down for that because even though a lot of them seemed to think Jack Chick is an asshole and they were a bit on the rebellious side, they didn’t like how Psycho Dave made fun of their holy book. I got chastised for being blasphemous.  Aside from that, they were pretty accepting of me, even though one person said I reminded them of Janine Garofalo (really?!).  I guess to them, I really was super liberal.  I’m definitely even more liberal now than I was back then.  

I can credit PCC folks for introducing me to the writer Frank Schaeffer, who was himself raised by famous Christian evangelists in Switzerland.  Schaeffer has written several very entertaining novels as well as a few non fiction books that I’ve enjoyed.  His son, John, joined the Marines against his parents’ wishes.  Schaeffer had never been exposed to the military and was against John’s enlistment, but later educated himself and wrote a few excellent books about different aspects of the military experience, including his experience as the father of a Marine.  When Bill came home from Iraq, I passed on Schaeffer’s novel Baby Jack to him.  That book really resonated with Bill on many levels and I probably never would have known about it if the PCC folks hadn’t turned me on to Frank Schaeffer’s writing.  So I offer them thanks for that.  And, I also see from Amazon.com, that I’ve missed a couple of Schaeffer’s latest books.  He’s very prolific and, if you write to him, he will write back.

Mood music for this post. It’s profane, so don’t listen to it if cursing offends you. I can play this on the guitar.

I don’t really hang out with PCC folks anymore, though I am still a member of their relocated forum.  Every year on my birthday, I get an automated birthday greeting from them and I remember how much fun I had learning about the wacky world of PCC and fundie Christians.   I only wish I could find a similarly entertaining community so I could pry myself off of Facebook. 

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The “Word of God”…

Yesterday, while I was listening to the extreme winds and more episodes of Under Arrest, I noticed an email I received from the “Word of God” mailing list. I sat there and pondered it for a moment, then wondered how in the hell I wound up on such a list. I posted the status on Facebook, which got a bunch of laughing reactions from my friends, many of whom know me personally. My friends know I’m not exactly a God fearing person. Maybe that will be to my detriment. Who knows?

I have mentioned previously that I am not quite an atheist. I do believe in some form of higher power. I’m not quite sure what it is. Maybe it’s just a form of higher consciousness. It could be more of a psychological thing than a religious thing. But I don’t go to church, and haven’t in many years. I don’t read the Bible. I never did read much of it, even when I did go to church. I see the value in church, but mainly as a social outlet. I’d go for the music and companionship… and maybe, if the minister is intelligent and a good speaker, I’d go for the message. But I’m really not religious.

So how in the hell did I end up on the Word of God mailing list? They were sending me Bible verses with a link to a Web site. I noticed at the bottom of the email, there was a disclaimer calling it an “advertisement”. That made me hit the unsubscribe button. If I were religious, I’d say that religion has no place as a business entity. In fact, the monetary aspect of religion is probably what turns me off of it. If there is a God, and God is this great, magnificent, omnipotent being, then there should be no need for money to have a relationship with God.

I almost wonder if someone subscribed me to that mailing list like someone might send porn to another person as a prank. But then, usually with an email address, one must actively click a link to make the subscription stick. That requirement, no doubt, cuts down on the pranksters. It’s harder to stop someone from doing that with snail mail. If I were a really nasty person, I might sign up my enemies to some kind of exotic porn magazine that comes to their house. That wouldn’t go over well, particularly if they were religious… or maybe it would? Josh Duggar is supposedly a “Christian”, but he was busted for cheating on his wife with exotic dancers and molesting five girls, four of whom were his own sisters. The Christ I was introduced to would never condone such actions, but then, I have noticed that a lot of Christians are the type to live by the “do as I say, not as I do” mantra.

Speaking of the Duggars… I remember when their show first came on the air. Michelle Duggar gushed about their “JOY” philosophy. Jesus first. Others second. Yourself last. But I’ve watched them since, oh, 2004 or so, and they’ve gone from being relatively “humble” (or as humble as Boob can be) to becoming downright wealthy. They’ve made their money using a medium that they used to swear was evil… the television set. Nowadays, TV has been usurped by the Internet, and the Duggars are all over that, too. Many of the adult Duggars are partnering with companies to help them sell their stuff, rather than getting trained in legitimate professions. Oh, okay, so Derick Dillard is in law school now, so he can give a “voice to the voiceless”. I’m assuming he’s going to be fighting for “pro life” initiatives and taking away rights for people who aren’t like him. Again… that doesn’t jibe with the Jesus Christ I learned about when I was a churchgoer many years ago.

The older I get, the more I think people should just plain be more accepting and peace loving. It’s easy to think that, but hard to live it. I admit, I get angry about things and I want justice. When I see something that doesn’t ring true or make sense, I question it… probably much to the annoyance of other people. It used to annoy my dad when I’d argue with him about things, although I come by that tendency honestly. My family, particularly among the males within it, is chock full of opinionated people who will argue to the death. I no longer have a desire to argue to the death, but I also don’t want to waste my time on bullshit. And sorry, but I think a lot of religion is about 99% bullshit. Much of what you can find in a religion, you can find in other places. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect other people’s rights to worship, but I don’t have much respect for nonsense or simply believing in something because it’s been written in an old book somewhere… particularly when the old book is full of contradictions.

Anyway… the sun is out now, and I’m thinking I need to walk my dogs before I end up in a wheelchair. For some reason, I’ve been waking up with excruciating hip and lower back pain lately. I probably need to exercise. So I’ll end here with a song… I’ve shared it before on my old blog, but I like to recycle.

If you listen to some Christians, they’ll warn you…

I’ve shared this one, too… but it works today.

It probably is…
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