On Tuesday, Nov. 13, as I was washing my hands in the women’s restroom of Tarver Library, my eyes happened upon a pamphlet entitled “The Death Cookie” that was conveniently placed by the paper towels.
Intrigued, I picked it up, read a few pages, and with a sinking heart, put it back down on the counter in shock.
In all of my years at Mercer, up until this point, I had never read any material that has so blatantly scorned my Catholic faith.
In “The Death Cookie,” the author, Jack Chick, describes how a man consorts with the Devil who tells him that he shall be his “Papa,” in reference to the Pope. It goes on to say that he should trick his followers into thinking that a cookie, in reference to the Eucharist, contains the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, when in reality it doesn’t and will condemn them to hell.
In the latter pages of the tract, Chick suggests that the only way to be saved is “to leave that occult system before He [God] destroys it,” and then he proceeds to outline four steps to salvation:
1. admit that they are sinners,
2. be willing to turn from sin (repent),
3. believe that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead, and
4. invite Jesus into their lives as their personal Savior.
In concluding his tract, Chick asks his readers to pray the following prayer to strengthen their commitment to God by the rejection of Catholicism before checking “yes” or “no” as to whether they will choose to be faithful Christians.
The prayer is as follows:
Dear God, thank you for showing me what You think about Catholicism. I also reject it! I accept Christ’s sacrifice as perfect and complete. Please forgive me in Jesus’ name. I invite Jesus Christ to come into my life and I place my trust in Him alone for my salvation. Thank you for giving me eternal life right now.
Heather Ziemba, a member of Mercer Catholic Newman says, “This tract represents a gross misunderstanding of Catholic theology. The ignorance on every page is incredibly offensive.”
My fellow Christians, as we are all brothers and sisters in Christ who are made in the image and likeness of God, are called to love one another and as an extension of that love, show one another respect.
An illustration of this love and respect can be echoed in the words of Peter Scholtes who wrote “They’ll Know We are Christians by Our Love”: “We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord and we pray that all unity may one day be restored. We will work with each other; we will work side by side and we’ll guard each one’s dignity…and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
In secular terms, we are called to recognize our common humanity that demands of us to respect others’ beliefs in the same way that we would want others to respect and not antagonize our beliefs.
There are other avenues for discussing religious or other differences aside from distributing literature that is antagonistic – namely through one-on-one and group discussions.
It is my hope that “The Death Cookie” and any of Chick’s other nine anti-Catholic tracts will not be found on campus in the future.