Wrong Side of the Chick Tracts

I saw this over at Pandagon:

Its a music video rendition of a particularly repugnant Jack Chick tract by the outstanding Alice Donut. I also think it is remarkable, but not for the same reasons Amanda does. For me it raises questions of identity and exclusion. The short of the story is this. A 5 year old girl named Lisa lives with her father and mother. Her mother is an alcoholic, and her father a child rapist. Soon their neighbor finds out, and successfully blackmails his way into the father’s crimes. Upon a visit to the doctor, the mother finds out the daughter has contracted stds, and rushes home to confront the father. He then makes a rush for a bridge, is confronted by a fundamentalist who demands “just pray!”. He does, and shortly (15 minutes later) returns to his home to convert his wife. The two of them then promise to “never hurt Lisa again”. (In the video, at least, Lisa responds with skepticism.)

The overall storyline carries an obvious statement: Convert and be saved no matter what your sins. But beneath that more is being said. Presumably Lisa’s father and mother are not Christian, and this plays a role in their lack of morality. Ditto the neighbor. What is interesting is that narratives like this support a moral self identity for fundamentalists, at the exclusion of non believers. This line of reasoning is common among the anti-evolution/science crowd, and often shows up in debates between believers and atheists. They repeatedly ask “where does morality come from without God?”.

The story is always about those who are unfaithful gaining faith (and hence morality). The Chick tract simply reinforces that supposed bond between faith and ethics, suggesting the two are inseparable. While this may not effect how fundamentalist Christians view the law, it profoundly effects how they view their own actions, and how they view non fundamentalist Christians. If faith and ethics are joined, then how can the faithful be unethical? Is it any wonder fundamentalists are blindsided when one of their trusted leaders turns out to be taking criminal advantage of them?

It also explains some of the fear and identity politics involved in pushing towards theocracy, and opposing secular ideals and laws. If you believed lack of faith is by definition unethical, wouldn’t you do everything you could to fight it?

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