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Jack Chick - research and info

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Who is Jack Chick and why does he hate the Catholic church?

by SueW

Jack Chick was a somewhat unsuccessful publisher of Christian tracts (college kids called them "Chicklet's") and then he met with "Alberto Rivera" and discovered anti-Catholicism and became a million dollar publisher, moving into a swanky new building etc. Yes, it IS all about money... anti Catholicism pays well and has been a lucrative pastime in the United States for over 100 years! 

Jack Chick is still around - and still publishing tracts - he has published over 200 now. (in 2010). Despite Jack Chick's somewhat questionable past, some cling to his comics including church like Seven Day Adventists (who have long taught the Pope is the anti Christ) and some Traditionalist "Sedes Vacante" Catholics who teach that the Church died in the 1960's after Vatican II (I would wonder how they deal with the "on this rock" passage i.e. Matt 16:16 but then, often people who teach anti Catholicism are not real familiar with the Bible except for selected passages out of context.).

Chick was thrown out of the Christian booksellers association in the early 1980's and also in the late 1980's or early 1990's, was one of the only individuals in history to be expelled from the Southern Baptist Convention.  Not much is known about his past. He apparently was born in the 1920's and attended High School in the 1940's.  A Los Angeles Times article stated that Jack Chick had been a professional cartoonist and that Chick informed them that he had never been to seminary or had Bible training. It was assumed that Chick had drawn the comic book tracts himself however, recently he has admitted that an African American cartoonist named Fred Carter actually did most of the art. Fred's style is more realistic than Chick's say some observers. Carter appears in a documentary about Chick and his tracts but was not given credit for his cartoons in the Chick tracts because he was shy and preferred to remain anonymous, so claimed Chick et al.  In 1999, Chick who had not granted even Christians an interview, agreed to personally meet Dwayne Walker, who makes "adult" videos with the intent of possibly hiring him to film some of Chick's stories. Chick later decided against using Walker to produce his films.  In that interview, Chick admitted he hadn't been to church in years and that TBN (Trinity Broadcasting - the Evangelical TV network) had also censured him.  In the late 1990's, Chick had had some personal problems including ill health including a heart attack. He mentioned in one of his publications in 2005 that he'd had coronary bypass surgery.  Also his daughter suffered  a catastrophic illness and is now, a wheelchair user. Chick's wife, Lynn, died in 1998 and Chick has since, remarried. Jack Chick is still very reclusive and does not grant interviews.  Catholic convert and apologist, Jimmy Akin has met Chick personally and actually managed to interview him in 2004, a fete not accomplished by many others. Akin was apparently attending a premier of Chick's movie which is about his views of Catholicism and Christianity in general.  Chick was friendly to Jimmy even after finding out Akin was from Catholic Answers and although there appear to be no photos of Jack Chick, Jimmy Akin drew him as a nice looking elderly man with glasses.  However, as far as information, Jack Chick apparently drew the line when Jimmy Akin asked him if a tour of Chick publishing could be arranged.

Alberto Rivera was the main character in several of Jack Chick's comics. Rivera, claiming to be an ex Catholic priest who was se/xually abused etc etc, turned out to have never BEEN a priest at all.  An article in  "Christianity Today" (March 13, 1981), a mainstream Protestant Magazine was the first to expose Rivera for a fraud.  At the time he claimed to be suffering with the Jesuits in Spain, he was in fact living in the Canary Islands with a woman he was not married too, fleeing felony charges (credit card fraud and passing bad checks). Rivera and his significant other had 3 children, one of whom, Juan, died early in life.   According to "Christianity Today", Rivera was a native of the Canary Islands  After he came to the US, he worked in several churches collecting funds under false pretense, passing bad checks and participating in credit card fraud.  He apparently did some public speaking engagements after "Alberto" was published, but seemed to change his story often and even contradict the details of his life as it was stated in the famous "Alberto" Chick Comic Book.

The "Christianity Today" reporter tried to arrange an interview with Alberto but was not able to connect. He wrote:

>>>>"Rivera, who now lives in California, was asked for an interview to discuss the discrepancies in his tale, but he posed so many restrictions before he would agree, that a legitimate interview was not possible."<<<<

Rivera did tell the reporter that his police record was because he was forced to commit crimes for the Catholic church and that anything negative said about him after his "conversion" was "fabrications by conspirators."

Alberto Rivera was actually video-ed by a Seven Day Adventist (SDA) evangelist (who supposedly died under "mysterious circumstances" according to an SDA website). Rivera appears on film as a cleancut charming looking man - he had a rather thick accent.

Rivera died in 1997 and of course, Chick and his followers claimed the Catholic church had killed him.  His death certificate listed co-rectal cancer as the cause of death and when this was brought up to Chick et al, Chick said Rivera had told him that the Jesuits had fed him some kind of poison which would make him get cancer, long term.  According to a Catholic priest who only identified himself as "Father Rob", Rivera is buried in an unmarked grave.

Chinoquey, another Chick favorite had been a Catholic priest but his book, THE PRIEST, THE WOMAN, THE CONFESSIONAL was really about HIMSELF.  He had been defrocked by the Catholic church in Canada after sexually molesting women in the confessional.  He came to the United States and tried to switch to Episcopalian however, they wouldn't have him either so he ended up in the Methodists as a minister without a church, making his main income from his anti-Catholic writings.

2010: Since this article was written, Catholic Answers has done a very complete report on Jack Chick and his comics and tracts which is very worth reading. Apparently, several sources have investigated Jack Chick and his group and have revealed many interesting things.  This excellent report can be found at:

http://www.catholic.com/library/sr_chick_tracts.asp

Catholic (apologetic) links can be found at:

Catholic apologetics

Usually ministers who use the Jack Chick material are well meaning but really do not know any better.  Best to do is to print out articles from one of the above sites or this article and show it to them.   I have found that most individuals when shown the truth will change their approach although it sometimes takes a 2x4 over the head to get their attention.

NOTE: The Sunday Visitor newspaper offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who could prove just ONE of Jack Chick's claims.  This was presented in a full page ad over a period of years.  No one ever claimed the reward!

References

1. Catholic answers article  This is a very complete scholarly article by noted Catholic apologists

2. Catholic League article  This is an article by William Donahue

3. The Wiki on Jack Chick

4. Interview with Jack Chick by Jimmy Akin

5. a site called "monsterwax" on aol. The original link no longer exists but they appear to have an updated website however it's extremely anti Christian and other than "Jack Chick" parodies, appears to have taken the article I got some of the above information from, down.

Note: "Monsterwax" may have more than a casual connection to Jack Chick - this preview of a documentary about Chick is being marketed by Monsterwax. The documentary includes interviews with many of the main players in Chick's cartel, like Fred Carter, Alberto Rivera's widow and more but does not include footage of Jack Chick who told the film makers he was afraid to appear on camera.  It does have archival footage of Chick however and can be had for $14.95.

5. http://www.walkertown.com/jack.html (this link is down)  Walkertown was the "Adult" video producer who obtained one of the earliest interviews with Jack Chick

Our Sunday Visitor (March 15, 1981)
Christianity Today (March 13, 1981)
 

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