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It’s been a doozie!

I saw my buddy, Cain, while I was East in the Land of Nod. I was frightened out by this hellacious spaghetti monster so I headed off to Damascus where I was struck blind by a light and I met a nice angel. I got a ride to Jerusalem by a mysterious bird whose name sounded presidential. After came a huge rain, forty days and nights! I got washed out to sea where I was swallowed by a huge fish, not a whale, but a fish. I spent three stinking nights in its belly when it finally puked me up on the beach (after the waters from the flood receded, of course). My angel later showed up again with some gold plates with a language only I could translate, upon which the angel flew the plates back up to Heaven.

That’s where I’ve been all this time.

Now those plates, well, they’ve given me the key to all that is good and evil. They are a source of wisdom and make me an arbiter of justice. I’m setting up our temple to share it all with the world. All of mankind will one day recognize me a the legitimate heir in a long line of prophets. And Thursday will be our new holy day as Friday, Saturday and Sunday are taken. Since it is your duty to help me spread the word we except you to pitch in your share of cash when I pass the plate around.

You follow me?

If you won’t then you can burn in Hell with the rest of the infidels and sinners. As for my followers? I’m more than sure we’ll be able to find some who will drink my Kool-Aid.

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Damned indecision... Should I take the one on the right or the one on the left?

Damned indecision... Should I take the one on the right or the one on the left?

I think I could really make some money on this information but for the sake of others I think I will just let everyone know now and ahead of time.  That is if you really want to know?

Do you want to know what the real and true date of the Apocalypse is?

Well, you might be interested to know that I have an inside track on this one that no one can argue with..

The Apocalypse will start at exactly 1010 hrs on January 19th, 2010… It works out to 1010011010 which is the binary 666.

Get ready for the big one!

Get ready for the big one!

So you can see, it is absolutely mathematically certain to occur on the date above. You can’t argue with logic and math, now can you? All other predictions, well, how should I say? They can be damned!

(I just had to add that one – tee hee!)

I hope you are busy preparing yourself!  You need to get down to the grocery store a few days in advance.  Check that first aid kit, fire extinguisher and water purifier. Dig yourself a bomb shelter – whatever you need to do start getting it done.  This could get nasty.  Kinda like Katrina all over again but this time it will be ALL OVER (no pun intended…)  I hear it would be even worse than giving George W. Bush a third term.  Make sure to tell your friendly neighborhood Bible thumper while you are at it.  It will give them all the more reason to pray for you.

I had to think about the title for a while on this posting.  I was very tempted to call it:
Thomas Richards and his incredibly shrinking credibility…
Thomas Richards of SpirituallySmart.com

Thomas Richards, the dupe behind SpirituallySmart.com

Thomas Richards of Spiritually Smart, whom I have questioned in past posts as having been intellectually stupid on his support of an idiotic conspiracty theory, has recently changed his tune on our good old neighborhood cult leader Bernie Hoffman, er…, Tony Alamo, who is facing a plethora of federal charges back in Arkansas mostly stemming from issues revolving around child molestation allegations.  Thomas Richards put the “I ain’t the one to blame” back peddaling in his statement when he used an interesting, almost non-committal choice of words:  “…it seems I was wrong…

It seems you were wrong…? Only seems that you were wrong?

Well, Thomas, it more than seems that you were wrong.  In fact, you’ve been looking cheesy on this one, and many others, for a while.

Bernard LaZar Hoffman, AKA "Tony Alamo", AKA "The Accused"

Bernard LaZar Hoffman, AKA "Tony Alamo", AKA "The Accused"

Unfortunately, Mr. Richards tends to favor making such errors in logic and common sense when it comes to the fringe of whacky religious groups and conspiracy theories.  Just have a look at his website or YouTube channel and you can see that if there is a pothole full of goofballs in his path he’s sure going to fall in.  The crazier the conspiracies are are the more our boy Thomas tends to gravitate to them.  But Tommy isn’t satisfied to simply hover around like a moth magnetized by a burning light bulb though.  No, Thomas Richards thinks it is somehow his job to bring people closer to the mindsets of these morons like Tony Alamo and Alberto Rivera.  It is sad, to tell the truth, at how whacked out and cuckoo Thomas Richards likes his gurus.

Each to his own I guess.

Alberto Rivera, Religious Fraud

Alberto Rivera, Religious Fraud

But Thomas Richards tried to appear to do the honorable thing by publicly admitting that it “seems” he made a mistake, you say?  I would love to give Thomas Richards lots of kudos for admitting this mistake, this gross error in judgment, but when I read back over his many web postings and YouTube videos, many with himself being the sole narrator, and am forced to ponder at how Thomas Richards defended these creeps for so long I really get the distinct feeling that the proverbial shit has hit the fan, the inevitable has set in, and our boy is only trying to distance himself from the splattered stench.  When taking into consideration the fact that Thomas Richards whole heartedly supported this goon Tony Alamo for so long and that he has the same steadfast support for the religious fraudster Alberto Rivera who’s main testimony concocting the Vatican Islam Conspiracy is published in a comic book that has been thoroughly and utterly discredited by, you guessed it, research into history, well, ya gotta just wonder where Thomas Richards’ head is.  I for one don’t have to wonder so much about where Thomas Richards’ head is because I have seen the muck he’s been spewing out over and over.

Want a hint?

Okay, here’s a big hint…!

Have you found your head finally, Thomas Richards?

Have you found your head finally, Thomas Richards?

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What an odd question, I know…

Some time back a friend asked me this question over a few beers.  “Don’t answer it now!” he told me, “Just think about it for a while.”  I have to be honest about it.  I didn’t think about this question for some time.  Until last week that is.

I had some free time to reflect about things for a few days as the family was away visiting more family.  I found myself in front of a clean notebook with three pens:  one black, one red and one blue.  I thought to myself that such a question comparing organized religion to organized crime would be a given – organized religion would win out.  So I wrote down on one column all of the positives of organized religion.  Then on the other side of the page something quite strange happened.  I told myself that I would brainstorm all of the positives of organized crime, and guess what?  I came up with as many good points to organized crime as bad points.  So then I decided that I would do the opposite and write down all of the bad points of organized crime on one side of the paper and see if I could match the bad points of organized religion on the other side of the paper.  And I could.

Before this creates a moral vacuum or a philosophical conundrum I just want to be clear.  I am not trying to state that organized religion is bad and that organized crime is good.  In fact, I am not saying that I have become neutral on either subject.  I am just saying that all the evidence gleaned from this exercise just supported the notion that there is no black and white.

So now I ask you for your own answers.  Which is worse (or better)?  Organized religion or organized crime? What say you?

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I believe in free speech and free self expression.  People have a right to believe in what they want to believe in.  But at the same time, in a libertarian way of looking at things, it is always wrong to try to force your beliefs on someone else.  You don’t have too far to look to see that the world is full of this today.

My first book, Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness, was written not to achieve any kind of best seller status and to make me famous.  It was written basically because there are scoundrels out there who create false histories all of the time and try to pass this off as a “hidden” truth.  A truth that the “powers that be” want suppressed.  They decorate their story in so many “facts” that there is no way you can sort through it all unless of course you do what I did and sit down and hash out the story line by line.  Then you see it is all a big lie.  But these window dressing stories tend to be far too big for average people to investigate.  We aren’t all history professors and most of us don’t have the time to go into all of the assertions and assumptions that these scoundrels make.  When the scoundrels are secular figures like David Icke with his reptilian theories then it is easier to brush this off and get on back to work.

But this isn’t always the case.

In many of these cases the purpetrators are non other than the ministers in churches.  Most of these guys pass on this bunk because it’s been passed on to them by people they have trusted.  They are like the rest of the community.  Not social scientists and not history professors.  But where these stories start are almost always in the imaginations of people who’s intent is not so good.  They tend to be megalomaniacal and use these stories to pull their flocks in further.  In the case of Alberto Rivera he was just on to the next gig.  Then you get the likes of the empire builders like Tony Alamo.  And these guys have a lot to answer for with the trash they put out, trying to mix it with religion to lead people off track.  As their tenticles spread out they surround themselves with apologists and dissiminators such as Jack Chick and Thomas Richards who act more like attack dogs and in my opinion are just as dishonest, even though they have been dupted themselves.

I have been working on a report on how to spot these guys.  I may post it on my website or I may make it into and e-book or e-mag.  It won’t be near long enough to be another book project as it doesn’t need to be but it will be an easy enough document to follow so that it will be simple to spot who the crazies are out there.   It will be out soon.  And I promise to make this as informative as possible.

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kurt-kuersteiner1

Kurt Kuersteiner

I have gotten to know Kurt Kuersteiner a bit over the past few years.  I first met him when I was interviewing him for my first published book Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness: The Truth about the Vatican and the Birth of Islam. Kurt is a very interesting character if you ask me and he is well known in the “Jack Chick” circles.  Kurt is the author of an exceptionally well done anthology of Chick Publication works The Unofficial Guide to the Art of Jack T. Chick: Chick Tracts, Crusader Comics, And Battle Cry Newspapers and he directed the documentary God’s Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick, which I found engrossing.  I have copies of both the book and the film.  Kurt is an adjunct Communications professor in Tallahassee Florida, where he also publishes entertainment trading cards for Monsterwax.

gods-cartoonist6Kurt and I approach Jack Chick in very different ways. Personally I don’t care what he puts in his tracts about sin in and of itself – it is when Chick tries to glaze over historical fact to promote his own point of view that I get bent out of shape with him. Kurt, on this other hand, sees Jack Chick as a cultural phenomenon that deserves respect for his work and his accomplishments. Or at least this is my understanding of Kurt’s point of view. You can see for yourself what he has to say.

What is it that you like most about the Chick Publication tracts and what got you to research your book?


the-art-of-jack-chick3 It is inspiring to me to see a writer try to get his message to the masses, and without the help of any corporations or political party or even organized church, he is able out-publish everyone else! What is especially interesting is that his message is so politically incorrect, and if anything, the corporations, political parties, and (the majority of) organized churches have tried to marginalize him. Yet there is his, an underground cartoonist with his vision, who engineered a crusade that catapulted his work around the world and made him the most published author alive today. Chick has printed over 800 million tracts and is still going strong. That is a testament to creativity, determination, faith in the product, and the American dream. It proves that unconnected individuals can still succeed in this country if they work long enough and hard enough.

Personally, which do you like better, the Jack Chick style or the Fred Carter style?


carter-the-letter1 I especially love Fred Carter’s art. It’s beautiful. He’s one of the best comic artists around and he’s very versatile. Too bad he’s ignored by both ends of the comic book business because the corporate side can’t hire or exploit his talents, and most of the customer side thinks he’s a square since he’s a fundamentalist. Even if most people disagree with his beliefs, they should still recognize his artistic talent and respect his willingness to give up so much in order to promote his faith. Interestingly enough, most my artist friends prefer Chick’s art, because his style is so distinctive and retro. Together, the two artists make quite a team!

Do you think that it is possible to be a fan of Jack Chick and disagree with what he is trying to get across? Is it possible, for instance, to be a secular art collector who appreciates the work but remains untouched or unchanged by the message?

To the first part of your question, the answer is definitely “yes”. I know all sorts of gays, Catholics, Jews, Rock and Roll fans, Witches and even self proclaimed Satanists who love collecting Chick’s tracts. Some feel it’s a guilty pleasure and others rationalize that his conspiracy theories are so extreme, that they only encourage the opposite view. Several of these Chick critics/ collectors wrote reviews for my book, so I know he has fans who love his product but hate his message.

When you ask if it is possible to remain untouched by his message, of that I am less sure. I suspect the more people collect his work and appreciate his talent, the harder it becomes for them to hate everything he represents. In other words, it tends to soften them to Chick and his message over time. They may still remain a gay Satanist Rock and Roller, but when their pals come around with a truck and baseball bats and want to go crack some Christian heads (to use a Chick analogy), they become less inclined to join the fun. It’s much easier to hate a group when you don’t actually know anyone in that group, yet everyone who reads Chick can’t help but get to know him after a while.

I look at the tracts and the comics as totally different kettles of fish because I think more often the tracts are aimed at a specific “sins” or “lifestyles” whereas the comics tend to tell “untold” histories or present conspiracies to the reader. Most of these subjects are quite controversial. How much research into these subjects do you feel that Jack Chick would have done before producing the tracts and comics?

The tracts are different from the comics, as you point out, but the comics tend to split up into two different groups as well.

The comic books remind me a lot of the TV show The X-files, but instead of agent Mulder and Scully, you get Tim Clark and James Carter, aka “The Crusaders”. Remember how there were two different types of X-files episodes? The first type was the conventional monster-of-the-week (M.O.T.W) tale, where Scully and Mulder track down the vampire or Mutant on the loose. With the Crusaders, that monster is Satan in the guise of some evil villain or cultural vice.

The earlier X-files M.O.T.W. stories were the episodes that got the public hooked, because they had the most action and eye candy. The same goes for The Crusaders. The first eleven comics have Tim and James dodging bullets, racing cars, and escaping other violent entrapments (thanks to the power of prayer) and always saving the day (or non-believer) by the end.

Later on, the X-files created a different formula, the conspiracy episode, which featured less action but put more emphasis on mystery and intrigue. So did The Crusaders. The basic difference was that while Agent Mulder and Scully got information from Deep Throat (a former insider) who tattled about the ongoing UFO conspiracy, The Crusaders listened to Alberto (who was said to be an former Jesuit) explain the vast Vatican conspiracy. The general public was less impressed when both series got deeper and deeper into the conspiracy plots, but the hardcore fans loved it.

Ironically, Deep Throat was shot in Mulder’s presence for revealing the truth in the X-files. And someone actually shot at Alberto Rivera in Chick’s presence (in a drive by situation) in real life. Year’s later, Alberto died of colon cancer, but he blamed it on a special poison given to him by an undercover Catholic. (I think I hear the X-files synthesizer playing now!)

Regarding Chick’s research: Chick’s background was in acting. He graduated the Pasadena Playhouse just after fighting in WW2. He likes drama so sensational plots are a natural attraction to him. That being said, he also feels constrained to tell the truth as he sees it. He believes in a living God who intervenes in our daily lives, which many Christians also believe. Where he differs is that he also believes in a real Satan, and that the devil ALSO intervenes in our daily lives. (Many Christians say they believe in the Bible but don’t actually think the devil is real.) This is why Chick is so suspicious of conspiracies, because it only stands to reason that the Prince of Lies would use conspiracies to promote evil, corrupt popular culture, and turn people away from the true Word of God (The Bible).

halparody

Chick reads his King James Bible, and sees how modern translations keep watering it down with newer and looser language, until they get to the point where certain churches want marry gays, and another wants to make Mary a “co-redeemer”. Chick sees these beliefs as blasphemies and proof of a Satanic plot to undermine Christianity from within. Now some may believe its just a coincidence that our culture, our government, our schools, and even many churches are working together to lead society further and further away from traditional Biblical values, but Chick and his supporters find that too hard to swallow. They recognize these changes as being orchestrated by activists, factions, unions, and special interest groups who have a progressive agenda. Chick and fellow fundamentalists believe that agenda is evil and inspired by Satan to turn the world against God. (You can choose not to believe it, but you can’t say that it doesn’t make sense.)

Like any good lawyer, Chick sets out to research and gather information that supports his position. He’s not interested in proving the other side’s case, so he only includes info that supports the fundamentalist view. He’s used different sources in the past, and some of them are quite controversial and shaky. However, David Daniels, the man who currently helps Chick write tracts (and numerous books), is a good researcher who knows how to document his sources. Daniels has a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological University and is well trained in the Bible and linguistics. So basically, it appears that Chick is responding to criticism that his claims have poor sources by bringing people like Daniels on board. Whether that helps him win more of his cases in the court of public opinion remains to be seen.

Do you have a favorite tract or comic (or both)? If so, which ones and why?

My favorite tracts are Wounded Children (about homosexuality), Angels? (about Rock and Roll), Satan’s Master (about witchcraft), Lisa (about child molestation), and Dark Dungeons (about role playing gamers). The main reason those are my faves tend is a combination of the sensational plots, the cool art, and, I confess, the fact that they are all out of print and rare.

spellbound

My favorite Chick comic is Spellbound. It’s an action packed tale revolving around John Todd’s testimony about the Rock and Roll industry being run by the Illuminati. (Alberto later co-opted this claim by saying the Vatican controlled the Illuminati.) Spellbound has a pretty down beat ending too, with only a Pyrrhic victory, since one of two main characters is murdered before he can convert, and the news media compare the Christians to Nazis when they burn the Satanic Rock and Roll records.

john-todd1On a happier note, John Todd’s character (Lance Collins) is saved from being shot in a drive by attempt, something that John Todd claimed happened to him in real life (but Chick did NOT witness that situation). These sure aren’t your average comic books!

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Tony Alamo is at it again.  Talk about a guy who just can’t stay out of the news, and for all of the wrong reasons…

Recently one of Tony Alamo’s shills, Thomas Richards, declared me to be a Jesuit coadjutor.  I wonder what he has to say about the fact that ole Tony has his bum in a bind again?  Over the weekend I visited the Tony Alamo’s ministerial website and listened to the recording of him asking children and young adults whether or not he ever molested them.  Then Tony’s wife gives her blast about how this is all the work of the evil Vatican.  (Don’t get Thomas Richards wound up…)  Then Tony rambled on about how God tells him what he should eat and what shoes to wear.  And how well connected he was in Hollywood and how he was a professional bodybuilder and how all the movie studios wanted to make films of his kid…

Oh, I almost forgot, he also called his accusers homosexuals and paedophiles.  Not to say that these accusers are or aren’t homosexuals and paedophiles but I guess it would make Tony feel better that his accusers weren’t straight like him.

So I kinda thought to myself, “Wow!  The young ones that Tony picked out to record their testimonies all said ‘no, we weren’t molested!  Tony Alamo is the best man in the world.’  That’s it.  The Tony has spoken, I believe it and that settles it!”

Not.

Tony, if you are guilty then may you rot in hell.  If you are innocent, well, here’s some advice:  It is probably time you started to watch out who your running buddies are.  If these folks accusing you are so God awful then how did they get close to you?  Isn’t it kind of like Jerry Falwell knowing that there was a cartoon of him committing incest with his mother in Hustler magazine?  Surely it wasn’t a Christian who alerted him to this?!?

Maybe since I am from the same part of Arkansas as where the Tony Alamo Ministry has its campus and since I am such an obvious Jesuit coadjutor (according to Thomas Richards) and since the Vatican is behind all of this (according to Mrs. Alamo), then maybe I was the one who was working behind the scenes to bring Tony’s downfall?  Nah!

But wouldn’t it be nice?

Footnote:
Last Friday, my high school football team, the Prescott Curly Wolves made a visit to Foulk, Arkansas.  This wasn’t to visit Tony Alamo’s ministry though.  It was to beat the pants off the local football team.

Prescott Curly Wolves  60
Foulke Panthers 12

Go Wolves!

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