Fundamentalists leaving Chick tracts at cash registers

I work part-time at a grocery store, and I come across people leaving these Chick tracts at our cash registers. My friend was ringing this woman out, and she said, “This is for you.” It was about putting quitting a former life and starting a new one in Jesus. My question is: what is the goal of giving strangers these tracts? Is it a subtle way to tell the person that they need Jesus? To be honest, I think it’s kind of rude and insensitive to do so especially to a random stranger, especially a teenager, but it doesn’t surprise me. Has anyone else experienced this?

It’s a method of witnessing, that’s not inherently bad. Handing out tracts can be helpful, as I have known Protestants to be converted by them (and some Catholics converted to Protestantism by them). It would be good if Catholics could adopt and adapt the time-honored American tradition of tract-witnessing for the Church. Tracts can also be an aid to memory, a sort of cheat sheet, when witnessing, the same as one carries a Bible to preach the Gospel.

Chick tracts, however, tend to be rabidly anti-Catholic (like “the death cracker”), and, I think, are King James Only. I’ve still seen some decent information from Chick Publications (as long as the information doesn’t deal with Catholicism), as much as they are hated amongst Catholics. (I’ve also seen some very bad information in them, such as dispensational premillenial pretribulation rapturism, and various other popular Independent Baptist/Fundamentalist hobby-horses.)

They demonstrate a missionary zeal that is admirable, even if their scholarship is not. Any life in Christ - even one in imperfect communion with the Church - is preferable to no life in Christ, yes?

Handing them out to people who are already conservative Christian (e.g. the “five fundamentals”), or even Christian (Nicene Creed), is more gray in morality, though. I can see where they are coming from, as some truly believe that the HolyCatholic Church is the “whore of Babylon”, etc. - it doesn’t make anti-Catholicism correct, but can be an extenuating circumstance in holding it. As I heard one preach, putting up pictures of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Pope titled “Dumb and Dumber”. It’s certainly not excusable, but is founded in false knowledge - not in malice - in my experience dealing with Independent Baptists.

I believe that’s where the founder of Catholic Answers got his idea to start writing, was to respond to Chick tracts being handed out outside of his church.

Back when I was a member of a non-denominational mega-church, a bunch of us in the youth group (this was MANY years ago…) were finishing dinner at a restaurant when one of the members pulled out a Chick tract to leave for the waitress. We were all shocked and annoyed and told him in no uncertain terms to put that thing away. Even among Protestants, these tracts are considered very rude and distasteful.

Having said that, I’m sure I am probably guilty of using them myself in my over-zealous “Jesus people” days before I had a clue…

I’ve not been handed one but have seen them tucked into menus and/or condiment racks at restaurants (where the menus are left at the tables)

I don’t really consider the act rude - even though the content is grossly wrong. If we want to have true freedom of religion and free speech in this country then we need to be able to deal graciously with such things.

If you are offered one at a register, just take it and as soon as the person has left, drop it in the waste bin.

Peace
James

I was very amused when I went to see Pope Benedict in Yankee Stadium in 2008 (which was quite an experience in itself). There was some in-your-face anti-Catholicism right outside. Someone thrust a pamphlet at me when I was walking on the sidewalk outside. I looked down and saw it was a Chick tract, and seconds later looked up for the fellow to give it back to him. Somehow he had disappeared already. When he saw me looking at it, he ran away very quickly. I thought this very funny, and just put the tract in the trash. He was passing them to the Catholics going up the sidewalk to see the Pope!

Those who leave Chick tracts are using a form of witnessing, slightly more subtle than the JWs who go door to door and leave their publications.

When I was a regular using public transportation, I would find the Chick tracts behind me, in the seats, all over the bus. It wasn’t received very well at all. Riders complained and the driver was reprimanded for practicing religion on his route.

If the store you work in okays the tracts being left next to each cashier, there’s nothing you can do about it, really. But if someone in the checkout lane hands you one, you have the right to refuse or politely accept it and dispose of it later.

In my humble opinion, the best place for a Chick tract is in the trash.

:thumbsup::thumbsup:

I’ve heard this sentiment expressed by many a protestant that I have talked with.
This is a very good thing to hear.

Curious - what was your friend’s reaction to this? Did you guys have further conversation on the matter?

Peace
James

I think methods like this only confirm the “worst” in the eyes of non-believers (Christians are in your face whackos) and just becomes one more obstacle for evangelization

I used to do it. :cool:
Not Chick tracts, but others.
The best way I have learned is to have your own tracts available (yes there are Catholic apologetic tracts) and say “I’ll take yours if you take mine”.
:wink:

I call them “Chicken” tracts. It’s because the person distributing them is too “chicken” to discuss the issues in it directly.

I also call them “Chicken” tracts because their creator hides himself from the public in a chicken type/cowardly way.

They are usually left in some covert manner when people aren’t looking, i.e menu’s, tips for waiters, etc., too chicken to do it up front, and handle a conversation.

I just put them in the recycle bin. Hopefully, the paper will be recycled into a missalette… :smiley:

I don’t consider them rude. I think Catholics should view it as an act of concern and kindness, even if it is misguided.

If only more people were as daring in trying to evangelize. Seriously, you may think I’ve gone mad saying that, but anyone handing out that those tracts is being brave. They are trying to do the right thing. At the very least give them kudos for that.

You don’t have to get sassy at them because they made a mistake in discernment. Easy enough for anyone to do, and people do it all the time… just like making fun of people who hand out chick tracts is a lack of discernment on the issue of charity. Its also a lack of discernment on the issue of sinful pride. Do you think its funny that someone who is searching for Christ has got it backwards and may find themselves in hell one day because of it? Do you think God didn’t see that snide sense emanating from your soul?

:thumbsup::thumbsup:

Chick tracts used to really puzzle me, because they are so unconvincing to the groups that they appeared to be aimed at. The Dungeons and Dragons ones are ridiculous to people who play it, the Catholic ones are ridiculous to practicing Catholics, I have no doubt this is true of all the specialist tracts, and I really don’t see (for example) the one that’s supposedly aimed at ‘truckers’ being actually that convincing to a trucker.

Then I had a blinding moment of obviousness: Ch

Chick tracts used to really puzzle me, because they are so unconvincing to the groups that they appeared to be aimed at. The Dungeons and Dragons ones are ridiculous to people who play it, the Catholic ones are ridiculous to practicing Catholics, I have no doubt this is true of all the specialist tracts, and I really don’t see (for example) the one that’s supposedly aimed at ‘truckers’ being actually that convincing to a trucker.

Then I had a blinding moment of obviousness: Chick tracts are not actually written to convince the people they’re handed to; Chick tracts are written to sound convincing to the people who buy them.

Very interesting insights…:thumbsup:

Peace
James

The best way I have learned is to have your own tracts available (yes there are Catholic apologetic tracts) and say “I’ll take yours if you take mine”.
:wink:

Now that is a great idea. Would be interesting to see how many would take a Catholic tract.

You have to figure that if they did take it it would be for the same purpose that you take theirs. To drop it in the nearest trash can.
Sad - but true…

Peace
James

I imagine it does one of two things, either it makes a person hate Christianity (that is the perception of Christianity as being fundamentalism portrayed by Jack chick and other Fundamentalists) or makes them love a terribly misinformed and ignorant Christianity. There is nothing subtle in these pamphlepts and thats simply how they are designed, there is nothing subtle in suggesting the roman catholic church invented Nazism, Islam and Communism which Jack chick blatently has in one of his comics.

If only they were as brave as you describe. Most of the times you don’t see them as they leave the tracts on buses, trains, on counters, car windows, etc. There is nothing brave with leaving literature “undercover”.

The only person I have seen publicly giving these out in my area (Boston/Cambridge, MA) looks and smells like he came out a dumpster and when he approaches people they run as much from the smell as from the message!

I will repeat my opinion from my first post that I believe these people simply confirm the already negative opinion many people have of Christians, and just add one more level of difficulty in trying t do authentic evangelization!

He just put it away a little bit shaken. The most vocal protester was the prettiest girl in the group (“righteous fox” as we called them) which was sufficient for immediate compliance. Case close, no further discussion ensued.

He was a bit of a nerd and was probably trying to show us how zealous he was, but got a good education that day (hmmm, this is probably an accurate description of me as well back then…).

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