Everyone's favorite Christian fundamentalist tract writer, Jack Chick, has a new tract, Crazy Wolf. This tract is apparently aimed at Native Americans and attempts to show how their traditional religious beliefs are really demon worship.
The tract starts with two stereotypical Native Americans talking about how one of their own, Mary, has accepted the "White God" and how they are unhappy with her. One of them, Margaret, is particularly unhappy because Mary tried to evangelize to Margaret's young daughter Sarah. I guess Jack Chick can't quite understand why someone might be justifiably upset if someone tried to interfere with one's kids’ religious upbringings.
Margaret then discusses how they tried to get a medicine man to put a curse on Mary, but "some strange power" prevented the medicine man's curse from working. So, they decided to ask the assistance of a powerful witch named Crazy Wolf.
Notice that every individual so far in this tract has an English name except for the old, evil witch. I guess it's just a sign of how baddass he is that he as stereotypic name, or something like that. At least his name isn't "Injun Joe."
Of course, Crazy Wolf tries to use his Devil-granted powers to shapechange into a massive wolf to eat Mary. He fails because of Mary and her pastor's prayers. An angel materializes which beats up Crazy Wolf. Mary then further prays that Crazy Wolf will accept Jesus as his personal lord and savior.
We all know this part of the routine: Injun Joe, sorry, Crazy Wolf, talks to Mary and accepts Jesus as his personal lord and savior. Crazy Wolf declares that "my real name is Billie Wolf." Apparently, he has a good name, but it only gets used once he's saved. Then, as happens in so many Jack Chick tracts, he dies a violent death, as Margaret shoots him with a shotgun in revenge for failing to kill Mary.
Crazy Wolf goes to heaven and is told that "You just made it by the skin of your teeth! You believed on(sic) Me and that saved you. Billie Wolf, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Margaret of course goes to hell to burn for eternity.
This tract raises some interesting issues about Chick's theology. For example, as with some prior tracts, demonic forces are not only real, but very powerful. There's an almost henotheistic aspect to the story. Henotheism is the belief that many deities exist while only worshipping one. Chick’s Jesus becomes relevant primarily after death or during the apocalypse. In Chick’s pantheon, there are many deities but Jesus, the deity of death and destruction, reigns supreme.
Implied in this narrative is the teaching that prayer for a soul can actively lead to salvation. This is confusing. The entire point of Chick’s theology is that all that matters is whether an individual has accepted Jesus or not. If God and prayer can alter that decision, then the even minimal theological explanation of why everyone is not saved breaks down. It becomes within God’s power to alter whether or not individuals are saved. This renders the primary evangelical apologetic of such a deity non-feasible. In particular, damnation is usually defended by arguing that God cannot force people to accept Jesus as their savior. Yet here we see God apparently doing exactly that.
The importance of names is also worth noting. Aside from the not so subtle racism associated with Chick’s name choices, this is part of a general pattern in Chick's theology. What one calls something matters. Thus, for example, in previous tracts aimed at Islam, Chick argues that Allah is not just another word for God. This brings up an issue: Consider the following hypothetical: Someone is explained the entire evangelical belief system but with the words "Satan" and "Jesus Christ" swapped throughout. Then that person accepts Satan as personal lord and savior, does Chick think that that person is saved or not? If names matter then presumably Chick would believe that such an individual is not saved.
The tract of course ends with the usual warning that only Jesus saves. But the wording is worth noting: "Trusting religion, idols, ceremonies, nature gods or the Virgin Mary to save you is only chasing the wind!" That last phrase is not normally in these tracts. I suspect that to Chick "chasing the wind" sounded like an Injun phrase. This fits Chick's Jesus using the phrase "skin of your teeth" which is much less formal than how Chick's faceless, glowing Jesus normally talks.
So what is the overall lesson of this tract? The take away message seems to be that Native Americans are primitive savages but they get cool magical powers. And as long as you accept Jesus eventually, you get to play with the powers for a long time.
Note: Between drafting and posting this review I ran across another review that is worth reading.
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