Druids, the devil, and the hope for salvation: piecing together Jack Chick’s ‘The Broken Cross’ Thiago Vahia Malliagros The Skeptic

Jack Chick, as I outlined in my previous article, is a right-wing radical Christian who makes cheap comics telling how you will burn in hell if you don’t worship Jesus the right way. His worldview is made very clear in his work, not least in the comic The Broken Cross, which starts with John Todd, the former grand druid priest. Todd was a well-known name of the 70s and 80s in the conspiratorial world and often appeared as one that mixed Witches and the Illuminati – claiming that secret groups are exerting influence on the culture of the world to advance evil.

Todd will be more relevant in a future Jack Chick comic, but in The Broken Cross, his purpose is simple: he allows Chick to bring the Devil into the conspiratory universe of the comics. Before Todd, it was only the communists keeping the world from Jesus; Todd’s introduction brings Satan and his minions with him. The Illuminati also make their debut, but as a bit-part player – the principal evils of this comic are Satanists and Witches.

The comic starts with a runaway girl getting a ride from some people revealed to be secret Satanists who kidnap her and sacrifice her to the devil. Then, the rest of the comic is about the Satanists and Witches who control the town and the protagonist’s actions to thwart them. There is some exciting stuff, like the reference that the fake Priest uses a “Common Bible” – a clue that because the priest is not operating (according to Chick) the accurate word of god, The King James Version, he must be fake.

This comic references the Bible several times, so I decided to track the bible verses presented. The search took a long time as it took a lot of work to track down dozens of bible verses and then try to understand them. What I discovered by tracking it down revealed a bunch of exciting information I will discuss soon, but at the moment, the focus is Chick’s relation to the devil.

Satan is the driving force of history for Jack Chick, as he is the one that is behind all major events, so all occurrences of the bible, Adam and Eve, and the Great Flood are all because of him, fighting to gain control. God is just reacting to the Devil’s doings, all part of a giant game that both sides are playing for humanity. This version of Christianity is not wrong, as it’s possible to make this argument by reading the bible that way.

The problem with this narrative, however, is that it gives Satan too much power: he becomes a being that manages to corrupt entire nations, distort the word of god, kill Jesus and tempt humanity at every moment.

To fix this, Jack Chick writes that when the times come, Satan will bow down to Jesus and call him Lord. So the devil is fighting a losing battle, and what he can do is send as many people to the lake of fire as possible. Jack Chick never explicitly puts it in those terms, but by his logic, this is the narrative.

The problem of the power of Satan is not a problem unique to Chick; other versions of Christianity that place too much focus on the Devil also face the same theological problem.

Besides his heavy focus on the devil, Jack Chick makes other departures from the bible in developing his theology and worldview. For instance, there is a character in the bible called Nimrod. He appears in Genesis as a mighty hunter, and there is also a passage in Micah that references the land that he owns. That is the total of Nimrod’s appearance in the bible, yet Chick decides to inflate his role and importance:

The reader may realise this reference is not to a bible verse – it is instead a reference to a book called The Two Babylons by Hislop. Jack Chick wanted to give Nimrod increased importance and did so based on a non-biblical source. The Two Babylons form the core pillar of his beliefs; not the KJV bible that motivates him so much, but Hislop’s pamphlets. It claims that the Roman Catholic Church is Satanic and the fruit of a thousand-year conspiracy that has infected all other religions worldwide. This source is a hypocritical belief of Chick as he explicitly claims that the only book a Christian needs is the bible, KJV, which doesn’t discuss any of those beliefs.

Returning to The Broken Cross, in the small city with the occult problem, the protagonists stumble over a corpse with no blood upon entering the town, a signal of the occult according to them. They also meet a child whose dog is stolen for satanic sacrifice, the library town has had all its occult books removed, and the local priest doesn’t believe in Christ and uses the sacrilegious “Common Bible”. As the story progresses, the protagonists find a homeless man eating a human finger in the middle of the road and encounter a young “witch” named Jody. This meeting is the moment Jack Chick chooses to show how easy it is to be a Christian – even when there is an implication that Jody has made human sacrifices:

Jody, the witch, prays with the protagonist, accepts Jesus Christ in her heart, and is immediately saved. But the plot is not done with her yet: due to her conversion, Satanists kidnap her, requiring intervention by the protagonists, who use the power of Christ over demons to free her, and the comic ends.

What is essential here is to take a closer look at the salvation of Jody. As Jack Chick has shown and affirmed, it is supposedly straightforward to become a Christian.

According to this ending that appears in dozens of his tracts, a Christian must accept he is a sin, repent, believe in Jesus Christ’s death and pray. Are then the converted saved and ready to go to heaven? No, as a Christian, you are attacked on all sides by an enemy that never tires, never stops, and will always be tempting you, the devil and his minions. Then you need to save all those around you as quickly as possible, or God will throw them in a fire of fire to burn in all eternity. It certainly doesn’t sound easy.

It doesn’t stop there; dozens of secret societies and groups corrupt every facet of ordinary life. The public school? Witches are there. What about music? If it’s rock, it’s Satanic and will lead the listener to sin and go to hell. A trip to the museum with the family? If it includes anything about dinosaurs or pre-historic human remains, it is an atheist Satanic plot to destroy religion. Going to Church is also not easy as no faithful Christian can go to the Roman Catholic Church denominations, as they are a Satanic ploy, nor any Protestant denomination that doesn’t talk about how the Pope is evil on earth.

Plus, God can take everybody around you in the Rapture at any moment, and if you or anyone you loved didn’t believe what he wanted, you would suffer eternally in the end. If anyone starts to make society or life better, they are a ploy of the devil, and you shouldn’t trust him or do anything. The world is condemned to destruction by God, and there is nothing that anybody can do to stop it.

A Christian by Jack Chick is a paranoid doomer constantly afraid of making a misstep that will corrupt their soul and of anything new as it will probably be designed to corrupt the soul. If they follow a strict life, God will be merciful and spare them eternal suffering; the problem for Chick is not dying; it is living.

There is still more I could have said of this Comic, but more subjects will appear; Jack Chick will rewrite the “Devil” lore in Volume 9. Then in volume 10, John Tood returns; he will return to the witches and fill out their narrative more.

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Right-wing radical Christian propagandist Jack Chick struggles with the paradox of his all-powerful Satan figure in The Broken Cross.
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