The Crisis


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» October 17, 2023
Not Another Religious Tract Dissection by Boolean Union Studios

The Crisis (CRIS)

The Crisis - Tract #067 (CRIS)
Art by Jack Chick - © 1985 Chick Publications

A Jehovah's Witness accepts Christ just in time to save his girl's life.

First Published: March 10, 2023


  Jessica   Anna   Boudreaux  







Page Index
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

o Introduction

JessicaJessica After a long, unfortunate hiatus we are proud to present this, the first new dissection in well over five years. I'd like to welcome my new commentary partners, Anna and Boudreaux. We certainly hope that you enjoy.
AnnaAnna I must profess my enthusiasm at being given this chance to dissect a tract, along with shades of curiosity. I had never encountered these before, and if my information is correct, it will be a most intriguing experience.

Based on the blurb line, I have a feeling it’s going to be involving aspects of belief for Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) that are contradictory to most other Christian denominations. I’ve never been exposed to them much personally, and if my feelings are right, then I’m glad I didn’t. Don’t think the results would be pretty (for them) if I were…


o Cover / Page 1

Cover / Page 1
JessicaJessica That deep, vibrant red certainly is eye-catching. Reminds me of the special dye job on Satan they ordered for some runs of the tract Angels?.
AnnaAnna The first panel and it’s already about a key difference of JWs in relation to most other Christian denominations. Guess they got provoked that a blood transfusion is happening in their sight, failed their Will saving throw and gained frenzy. Their allies are going to get killed unless they can cast Calm Emotions.

That would be a most terrible tragedy, no? Maybe my dream will become reality…


o Page 2

Page 2
BoudreauxBoudreaux Not some of Chick’s better artwork. The nurse on the right in particular has an odd position, like she is about to fall over. Maybe a reaction to being in a Chick tract.
JessicaJessica She does seem to have a pretty bizarre center of gravity, all right. Still, she's far better off than the balding doctor to the left. That poor guy doesn't have any legs at all!
AnnaAnna What about the EMT with the speech bubble? I call double shock - he's in a Chick tract and his one line got used by a Ben Stiller movie.


o Page 3

Page 3
JessicaJessica I actually had to look into this because the whole set up just feels wrong. Given that America seems to frequently lean in the direction of preserving an individual's religious freedom over actually doing what is sane, I figured that the comic was accurate in stating that a parent who is a Jehovah's Witness has the power to bind the hands of medical professionals to provide necessary care to their children. I am neither a doctor nor a lawyer (I just play them occasionally on TV) but after a brief bit of internet sleuthing, it actually seems that the law often does fall on the side of the medical staff to do what is necessary to preserve the lives and wellbeing of their patients… even if in opposition to the wishes of their legal guardians. And courts have historically ordered that they do so in cases just like this one. As one paper on the subject so succinctly put it: "the freedom to believe is absolute; the right to act on that belief is not." and "Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow that they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children..."
AnnaAnna Suppose they honor their request and the child dies. Then you get distraught parents who will try and sue the doctors for medical malpractice resulting in the death of a minor and emotional suffering and damages caused by the death. If you don’t honor the request and the child lives, then they sue you anyway because you didn’t respect their beliefs, causing emotional suffering and damages with accusations of discrimination.

No wonder medico-legal premiums are so high. Damned if you do, Damned if you don't.


o Page 4

Page 4
AnnaAnna If the “right thing” means letting your daughter die because you follow some (mis)interpretations of certain Bible verses that only your particular denomination follows, then you totally did the right thing, Doug. 
    - Cost of replacing your daughter’s clothes following the accident? $20.
    - Medical bills for a trip to the ER because your daughter is dying? $20,000.
    - Letting your daughter die in an attempt to be devout? A Gold Star sticker.
 For everything else, there’s Mastercard.
JessicaJessica I don't find it in the least bit surprising that certain Christians would prioritize doing what they consider to be devout over doing something that would preserve life, even that of their own children. I mean… just look at the story of Abraham and Isaac.


o Page 5

Page 5
JessicaJessica There is an entire trope throughout Chick's catalog of these characters that "used to be one" when it comes to whatever the offending ideology du jour is in a particular tract. Chaplain Barnes here doesn't actually claim to be an ex-JW, but rather to have just studied their beliefs. From the perspective of an outside party, I think both of their belief systems are equally ridiculous, and they appear to just be arguing (almost literally) about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. A girl is dying, people. Pull your heads out of your asses!
BoudreauxBoudreaux I really doubt that the doctor can make that prediction with the accuracy of a bomb’s ticking clock. One would imagine ‘very soon’ would be more realistic.
JessicaJessica Granted. Again, there are a number of factors at play here (and again, not a doctor) but if you're dealing with a case of Stage III or Stage IV hypovolemic shock necessitating something as significant as a blood transfusion, the patient is likely going to die within 24 hours of the injury. Things like the patient's age, the presence of traumatic brain injury or penetrating trauma, the source/speed of most of the blood loss, volume replacement using non-blood products such as saline or lactated ringers, etc. will all affect the chances and duration of the patient's mortality. This sort of situation is a ticking clock, but certainly not one with a second (or even a minute) hand on it.
AnnaAnna If she's dead in 30 minutes without said transfusion/s (which would mean she might have gotten hit by someone driving a vehicle out of Mad Max), the conversation in the second panel wouldn't happen until they had already stopped the bleeding, stabilised her and administered several units of products. Negating the whole instigating scenario with the chaplain, and also taking out the right section in this panel.

Oh stone, how I enjoy your ability to hit two birds at once.


o Page 6

Page 6
BoudreauxBoudreaux While rejecting the Trinity, the JW believe that Jesus is both more than man, and necessary for salvation. I will never understand why people fight (and die) over doctrinal differences like these.
JessicaJessica As absurd as this whole "Three-in-One Trinity" B.S. actually is (pop one of these on your Christmas cards this year), is it really that consequential whether Jesus is saving you, God is saving you, or they're the same person? Barnes is trying to undermine Doug's faith in his particular sect by poking holes in the minutiae of its dogma. But how do you think he'd respond if someone were to try to do the same to his (like us for example)?
AnnaAnna Perhaps by arranging a “hands-on” visit from some hired goons. Or Crusaders on Retainers, if you prefer a more thematic flavour.


o Page 7

Page 7
JessicaJessica Just wouldn't be a Chick tract without the obligatory talking windows. Almost as ubiquitous as his suffering Christs or quoting John 3:16.
AnnaAnna Judges and Courts (to my knowledge) can be contacted via certain methods out of hours if needed for emergency search warrants and other emergency legal issues (such as in cases of child endangerment). I imagine a court order to save the life of a young girl from her parents comes under an emergency.

You willfully choosing to be negligent is a different matter and is going to come back to bite you if the parents take you to court over medical malpractice and damages due to emotional suffering caused by the death of their child. I know Doug’s behaviour so far doesn’t seem like he’d be emotionally suffering if his daughter died, but I’m assuming he’d put on crocodile tears for the sake of the Court to get a bigger payout if he wins. Might as well get a big payday to go along with that Gold Star you earned before, right?
JessicaJessica Exactly what profanity are they supposed to be censoring there?

"This is one damn of a time…"

"This is one fuck of a time…"

One "hell" of a time seems pretty mild to warrant something like this, but I think it's the most likely option given the context.
AnnaAnna Depends if you count each symbol as its own letter, which would be seven. But then the combinations get even more nonsensical.

"This is one frigger of a time…"

"This is one bastard of a time…"
BoudreauxBoudreaux Chick tends to not use that level of refinement, he uses a random number of symbols to stand in for a generic curse word.


o Page 8

Page 8
AnnaAnna How exactly did you never see that? We find out later in the tract (Page 12) that you and Donna are ex-Roman Catholics. Roman Catholics follow the Trinity in which God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are three coequal, coeternal, consubstantial divine persons. So you read the Bible translations favoured by Roman Catholics, then seemingly decided to become Jehovah’s Witnesses, read their edited translation of the Bible and somehow just accepted that they were 100% correct without questioning why they made the edits they did?

When you joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses, was there a guy telling you that the answer to your questions lies right in a glowy red spot on a metal cigar looking thing?
JessicaJessica Naw, you need to look at this from Chick's point of view. According to his beliefs (delusions) all Roman Catholics worship Mary rather than Jesus, who is reduced to little more than a footnote in their theology. The rest of us in the real world (especially Catholics) know this isn't the case, but you still would have been hard pressed to convince Chick of this while he was still breathing.


o Page 9

Page 9
JessicaJessica I know Chick is trying to demonize (HAW HAW) the JW's here, but I find it quite telling that he's attempting to do so by showing that they have a habit of disfellowshipping heretical brethren. How exactly do you think Chick's particular flavor of non-denominational Southern Baptist rhetoric would counsel dealing with, say, a gay child (or even just an atheist one)?
AnnaAnna So many answers to that question. Think I'll lock in conversion therapy and beatings for 200.
JessicaJessica "The kid" is dying, dipshit. You aren't taking her anywhere. If she's in such critical condition that she's in desperate need of a transfusion, do you really think the hospital is going to let you just cart her away in your Clark Griswold station wagon there?
AnnaAnna This scenario reminds me of articles I had heard about people refusing blood transfusions from people for all sorts of reasons (including those with COVID vaccines in recent times). They often like to request to know the vaccine status of the individual/s that the blood is coming from, which would likely be a HIPAA (medical privacy) violation, even if the hospital in question actually knew the vaccination status of the individual who donated the blood unit/s they are about to use.


o Page 10

Page 10
AnnaAnna The joys of Talking Windows™. Even in the panel with the headshot of Chaplain Barnes, the speech bubble ends on the window. So after Page 8, he stood there with his mouth open and the Talking Window™ had to carry the conversation on his behalf.
JessicaJessica I don't know if the prevalence of the Talking Windows in these tracts are due to Chick understanding the constant "talking head" Shot / Reverse Shot looking bad the longer it goes on, or if he just gets tired of drawing faces after a while.

Yeah, dude. We know the quotations are from the New World Translation… you just told us twice. We get it!
AnnaAnna But how will he get his dead horse to work if he doesn’t pummel it?


o Page 11

Page 11
BoudreauxBoudreaux And here we have the very plausible situation of people who are so invested in their own creed that they spend much of their time going door to door, being convinced by a few dropped verses.
AnnaAnna Why does this surprise you, Donna? You have a track record for reading anti-Witness material as stated by a Talking Window™ in Page 8 and the pair of you are ex-Roman Catholics (Page 12). I stand by my theory the pair of you were neuralysed when you became Jehovah’s Witnesses.


o Page 12

Page 12
BoudreauxBoudreaux No Chick tract would be complete without a spiel on the KJV being the Only True Bible.
AnnaAnna One issue that seems to be glanced over by this is that at the time it was written, some words had different meanings than they do today. For example, Revelations 17:6 details the admiration of the Whore of Babylon. I doubt most people would be admiring the Whore of Babylon since it's there as part of the End of the World. Back when KJV was translated, however, admiration actually meant what astonishment means today.

This doesn’t even begin to address the references to unicorns (rather than wild oxen or aurochs, which would probably be more accurate) present in KJV due to translation errors.
JessicaJessica There are some ding-a-lings like Kent Hovind and Ken Ham who think the weird cryptids described in the more esoteric versions of the Bible (such as Behemoth, Leviathan, or Ziz) are just vague descriptions of dinosaurs who caught a ride on the Ark of Noah and have since gone extinct. These people have no use for logic.


o Page 13

Page 13
BoudreauxBoudreaux I like the horrified reaction of the couple here. I suspect the average Christian of most denominations would not perceive Catholicism to be the existential threat Chick always makes it out to be.
AnnaAnna Why does this scare them? They were Catholics before. If the average Christian of most denominations doesn’t perceive Catholicism as an existential crisis, I doubt ex-Catholics are going to perceive it as one.
JessicaJessica I suppose the question is why they traded in Roman Catholicism for the Jehovah's Witnesses in the first place. I would highly doubt it would be because the Catholics were too dogmatic or preoccupied with ritual.


o Page 14

Page 14
AnnaAnna Rubbish disposal in 1985 must have been very cutting edge if you can simply dispose of your rubbish into a pocket void that fits onto a hospital food trolley.

Oh hey there, Talking Windows™. I was wondering when you would show up.
JessicaJessica Really don't think you want to go down the path of attacking the accuracy of other people's catechism, Jack. Throwing stones in that glass house will probably end up proving rather treacherous for you.


o Page 15

Page 15
BoudreauxBoudreaux Chick is right about failed predictions within the JW. There were actually quite a number of them. Although Chick conveniently forgets about Matthew 16:28:

Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
JessicaJessica This tract was published long before HIPAA became law, but I still find it highly improbable that this nurse would tell these strangers where this child is being treated… especially if she's currently in the ICU and can't receive visitors. I was of the impression she was actively undergoing surgery anyway, so wouldn't this all be moot anyway?
AnnaAnna Something about the way the bird on the tree is drawn makes me think it’s become self-aware, realised it’s in a Chick Tract and has become despondent. I’d be the same if I were a character in one of these things to be honest.


o Page 16

Page 16
AnnaAnna Where to start, Donna?

You knew about the false prophecies made by Watchtower, know that it actually happened because you read it before (albeit once), were Roman Catholic and yet still decided to swap and become Jehovah's Witness.

I'm beginning to think this exchange cropped up very frequently when the pair of you were dealing with the Jehovah's Witnesses. It'd explain why you two decided to swap from Catholicism.


o Page 17

Page 17
BoudreauxBoudreaux Nobody expects the Spanish Inq - er, the JW Elders! While the Elders do indeed make calls like these, this depiction seems a bit over the top.
AnnaAnna Cracking your knuckles/clenching your fist as you talk about putting “... an end to that nonsense” regarding Doug and Chaplain Barnes talking totally doesn’t raise red flags about your intentions being violent.

Incidentially, I’m able to transmute mercury into gold using my Philosophers' Stone.


o Page 18

Page 18
BoudreauxBoudreaux I reluctantly have to agree with Chick on this one. To take an ancient dietary law and extend it to prohibit a medical procedure the Bible authors could not have conceived of, makes no logical sense.
JessicaJessica It's almost like many of the things in the Bible are up for interpretation and may not have any useful bearing on modern life… ya know?
BoudreauxBoudreaux If there is a silver lining to this huge cloud, it is that the JW help to bring blood substitutes to market by serving as willing test subjects. Still, it doesn't make up for the suffering.
AnnaAnna What do windows have to talk about, other than the consistency of bird droppings?

Apparently, in Chick’s universe, they love to talk about theology.


o Page 19

Page 19
JessicaJessica And Barnes makes a liar out of me, after all. Turns out he did use to be a filthy, dirty JW himself.
BoudreauxBoudreaux A correction, the Watchtower is given away (like Chick’s tracts usually are). And the right panel reminds me of this famous scene.
JessicaJessica Given just how intimidating these two clowns are, it reminds me more of this version instead.


o Page 20

Page 20
AnnaAnna Love the nonchalant shrug the Security Guard gives. Reminds me of Toad from Super Mario Bros. “Sorry gentlemen, your target is in another hospital”.

And while I have the stage:

Hello Talking Windows™, my old friend.
I’ve come to talk with you again…


o Page 21

Page 21
BoudreauxBoudreaux And we see Chick’s number one credo, by faith alone. Ignoring all the times where Jesus says works are important.
AnnaAnna An example from the “Only True Bible” that Chick loves so much where they talk about faith AND works. Or how about the choice to leave out verse 10 from the chapter quoted by Chick, which when taken in context of verses 8-9 as quoted, actually suggests that we are created by Christ to do good works in addition to having faith?

This is what happens when you cherry-pick select quotes to prove a certain point and forget about the other statements inside your reference.


o Page 22

Page 22
AnnaAnna You got Doug, Donna, Chaplain Barnes, the JW stand-in and the nurse with their eyes are sewn shut, while Dr. Nelson is over here with the Black Eyes of Evil. I admire Doctor Nelson’s work if he’s able to magically sew their eyes shut from one panel to the next and make them be happy about it.

Might have a business proposition for him with a friend or two of mine…


o Conclusion

BoudreauxBoudreaux We missed the usual obligatory Chick panel of people thrown into the lake of fire. While the JW have many areas where they can be reasonably criticized (along with Chick), like homophobia, doctrinal rigidity and creationism, at least they reject the obscenity of eternal torture if you don’t say the right magic words. In Chick’s world view, if the little girl had died, she would be tortured forever even though she was (presumably) just following the faith of her parents.
AnnaAnna They seem fine with excommunicating people for situations that are not entirely in their control, particularly in a life/death situation. I am guessing they’ve sort of dialed back the rigidity of their practices in recent years, but having the choice for the family being either ‘let your children die or be excommunicated for being a heretic’ doesn’t seem appealing, nor does it cast them in a good light.

That said, this was a most enjoyable experience - I look forward to cataloguing and dissecting more of these. I can always use the practice…


o Further Reading