Tract Dissections by Boolean Union Studios


Today's Candidate:


The Truth for Youth - School Violence

Bibles Not Bullets

The Truth for Youth
© Revival Fires International - 2002

Uploaded December 15th, 2010



Bet you didn't know Bibles and bullets were mutually exclusive. In this tract, The Truth for Youth promulgates a very simple solution for all school violence: "legally smuggling" Bibles into school. How one can can legally smuggle anything is never addressed, nor is any explanation of how this would in any way help.


Panel Index
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | Conclusion



Panel 1
Jessica:

The implication that all school shooters are possessed and hear voices is rather irresponsible in my opinion. Moral guardians always like to blame things like school violence on video games and rock music, but sometimes it's just the result of someone being put under too much pressure and no way to cope. There isn't always an easily identifiable boogeyman to vilify.

 

Andrew:

Remarkable that Tommy is approaching him on the basis of a one day acquaintance. “Hey, we bumped into each other on the bus! Put down that gun!”

 

Jessica:

Wearing that stupid shirt, I would have to fight the urge to shoot him, too.

 

   

Panel 2 Jessica:

"No one's going to hurt you, Dennis. Except these guys..."

 

Andrew:

God wants to help you, Dennis, he really does, but what do you expect? It’s not like he’s supposed to be all powerful, or everywhere at once, right?”

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 3 Jessica:

Here comes the comics pathetic excuse for an antagonist. Witski has a point though. Facing down a guy with a gun is a pretty stupid thing to do, and can cause a terrible liability for the school.

 

Andrew:

Yeah, here we have the caveat from the makers of this comic. “See what Tommy just did? See how we portrayed it as a brave, Christ-like action worthy of emulation? Never, ever do it.”

What the hell is with Mr Witski’s posture in that first panel? Did the artist suffer a localized stroke or something? And even more than his “I can’t draw people well” aesthetic, what’s up with his behavior. There’s just been a shooting. Kids are probably dead or dying (or at least they were in panel 1- what happened to them?) and he’s concerned about Tommy Hellfighter here?

 

   
   
   

Panel 4 Jessica:

"Brave and bold..." and totally irresponsible.

 

Andrew:

Oh, there’s the dead or dying kids. Why do I get the feeling everyone in this panel should be in a profound state of shock, or at least searching for clean underwear? Instead they’re babbling about what Tommy did. God, he’s like a Christian Mary Sue.

 

   
   

Panel 5

Andrew:

“Guns are one thing… I face down a dozen armed robbers every day. But taking a Bible into a place where, you know, it’s perfectly ok to have one? Now that separates the men from the boys- or is that the sheep from the goats?”

 

Jessica:

"Legally smuggling" seems a bit like "Pretty ugly" or "Jumbo shrimp" or "Religious tolerance."

This kid is such a smug-ass prick.

 

Andrew:

I love this “legally smuggling” thing, too. It’s like saying I “legally shoplifted” some tomatoes because I took them, then paid the clerk.

Actually, my old American Heritage dictionary has two definitions of smuggling. 1. To import or export without paying lawful customs charges or duties. 2. To bring in or take out illicitly or by stealth. I guess they are going by the second definition here, but it still has a goofy “kids playing spy” thing to it. Does Revival Fires think that makes it sound cool? “Be a rebel, become a pawn of the church!”

 


Panel 6 Andrew:

Now Tommy’s just acting as a shill for his corporate parents.
Actually, this raises a question. If “The Truth For Youth” exists inside the “Truth For Youth” universe, then does that mean Tommy could find a copy of this very comic, and read it? Infinite recursion, bitches!

 

Jessica:

Witski's just a floating head with a hand protruding from his chin in the second panel. Talk about demonizing. Soon they'll have him manifesting as Shub-Niggurath.

 

   
   

Panel 7 Jessica:

Yep! Bibles and bullets! Mutually exclusive!

 

Andrew:

Because if there’s one thing we know about religion, it’s that it prevents violence. This is so undeniably true that Tommy needs no evidence to proclaim it. After all, this is about “Faith-a faith-a faith-a!

 

   
   

Panel 8 Andrew:

Yessiree, back when GOVERNMENT SANCTIONED RELIGION OF A PARTICULAR DENOMINATION, TOO BAD IF YOU BELIEVED SOMETHING ELSE was in school, we sure didn’t have any problems.

Also, students have always been free to pray.

 

 

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 9 Jessica:

But... BUT... I thought bringing bibles to school was illegal!!! Which is more important? Your personal rights or feeding your persecution complex?

 

Andrew:

Oh, these people know it’s not illegal, or even likely to get much of a reaction, but they don’t care. They. Just. Do. Not. Care.


The idea really seems to be to make kids feel like the real rule breakers are the bad mofos who belly up to the ALTAR every Saturday, Sunday, and certain other random days of the week. ‘Cause you know who the original rebel was? The big J.C. Yeah, you heard me. No conformists in this church!

 

   
   
   

Panel 10 Andrew:

Oh come on, like Mr. Witski doesn’t know the rules? Jeez, there was a Bible club in my high school, plus Fellowship of Christian Athletes, there were probably dozens of teachers who were religious enough to actually run them, and all the students were constantly hearing messages about how to join up. Does Tommy go to school in some Godless Paradise? If so, can I go there?

 

 

 

   
   
   

Panel 11 Jessica:

"Many teachers believe this 'nonsense' too." Looks like what we have here is a severe case of the inmates running the asylum.

 

Andrew:

Poor Mr. Witski. I can imagine an alternate comic where he’s the sole voice of reason against the religious hypocrisy that’s distorting education in America, particularly in the sciences. Biology? EVILution is just a theory! Astronomy? Copernicus was a fraud! Etc. Watch Witski take a brave stand against Bible-thumping teachers and enabling coward principals! Unfortunately for Witski, and for us, that comic does not exist, and instead we get this one.

 

   
   

Panel 12 Jessica:

I know this Witski guy is just another atheist strawman the author has cooked up, but I don't get what his problem is. His hatred of Tommy is completely irrational. Could we have a real TWO dimensional antagonist in one of these for once?

 

Andrew:

And here it comes. For those would-be rebels who are nevertheless concerned about being caught, yes, there is no law against any of this stuff, it’s totally legal, you aren’t doing anything remotely out of the ordinary by reading Bibles in school. Oh, you thought there was a law? Now, who is it that spreads that kind of misinformation? Is it the schools? The government? American Atheists? No, actually it’s… people like Tim Todd.

 

Jessica:

Yeah! It's, like, TOTALLY against the law to have a bible in school! They shoot you on sight!!! ZOMG!!!

So if it's legal, how can you actually smuggle them again? I'm sorry, I just don't get it.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 13 Jessica:

The bible was TOTALLY a textbook, you guys! I'm being totally for cereal! And the founding fathers were TOTES Christians! The bible was a textbook! And the Malleus Maleficarum was a legal document!!!

WHY WON'T ANYONE LISTEN TO MEEEEE!!!!

 

Andrew:

That implies like the Bible was used like a Chemistry book or whatever. No, those folks just plain studied the Bible. Because if there’s anything we know about early Americans, they were not in any way violent and well armed. That’s why they turned the other cheek when the British demanded more tax money, and why we now live in the proud country of Canada. Wait, this isn’t Canada? Well, so much for that.

We need to get Minnie in here from Hairy Polarity. She’ll show you dumb kids what out-of-date slang REALLY sounds like.

Did you know that when our U.S. Constitution was written, slavery was legal! Kewl! Slavery is awesome! It says so in the Bible!

 

   
   
   

Panel 14 Jessica:

And you can HAVE Bible Study Time AND Prayer Time at your school, providing students organize and run it, it's done before or after the school day and you don't interfere with other people's learning. It really isn't that hard of a concept.

 

Andrew:

We still have the wholly unproven concept that Bibles stop violence. Pop Quiz! Charlton Heston, celebrator of guns. Was he an atheist, or big-ol’ Christian? (Hint: he was in the Ten Commandments and Ben Hur.) Perhaps Bible and bullets can coexist more comfortably than one might expect from this comic.

 

   
   

Panel 15 Jessica:

The constant "This is legal everybody!" has a sort of "The lady doth protest too much" sort of feel to it. I get the feeling that just below the surface nothing would please this kid more than for him and his buddies to pick up assault rifles and march on Washington demanding that America be reconstituted as a Theocratic Dictatorship.

 

Andrew:

Freedoms we don’t use are freedoms that we’ll lose! Why, not a day goes by that I make sure people know that troops can’t be quartered in my house without my permission. Gotta remind people about it, or one day, bam! There’ll be a bunch of Redcoats in my kitchen! Also, every day I commit a crime just so I can plead the fifth. Use it or lose it!

 

   
   
   

Panel 16 Andrew:

“Let’s go get ‘em!” Jews, Muslims, Atheists and Agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus, and Pagans, you are officially on notice. Pack your bags and get out.

The fourth wall is pretty much totally gone now. Psst! Hey kids, if evil Mr. Witski sues you, Truth For Youth will totally bail you out. Cuz this whole Bible thing is waaaaay transgressive.

 

Jessica:

There ya go! Encourage legal problems for your school. God bless this kid.

 

   
   

Panel 17
Andrew:

Remember! Our battle isn’t against a fictional character named Mr. Witski! It’s about a fictional character named Satan! You know he’s real because it said so in a book!

 

Jessica:

I sincerely feel that there comes a point when single-minded fanaticism has to be classified as a mental illness. This kid is dangerous, with a capital "D."

 

   
   

Conclusion
Andrew:

This is a weird comic. It promises to be about how to stop school violence, which might actually be kind of interesting, but the whole “crazed lunatic killing people” thing is over and done with in about four pages, and NO ONE MENTIONS IT EVER AGAIN. Just like at Columbine! Instead, we immediately launch into an argument with every Bible-thumper’s favorite opponent, the straw-man atheist. Tim Todd’s already got the answer for school violence- more Bibles. The thinking goes one of two ways- either “this has never been done and it’s so obvious and transgressive” or “we used to do it like this, and since I can’t think of any school shootings from back in the 1800s, it must have been the Bibles that did it.” Because correlation equals causality. Of course, not many people (I won’t say nobody, because there are crazy people in this world) would argue that “just because early Americans did it, we should do it too” about most things- early Americans kept slaves, stoned women accused of witchcraft, murdered Indians for no reason, were barely literate, and drank like fish. Clearly there’s a lot about their culture that we don’t try to emulate today, but people write in a giant loophole for the Bible. “Look at the decline of American culture since then! It must be because we took away the Bibles!” (Notwithstanding that didn’t, you know, actually happen.) By that standard, American progress and prosperity has gone down the tubes ever since the temperance movement/ since they banned slavery/ gave women the right to vote/ promoted literacy/ pretty much anything that happened between 1776 and today. My vote is on the transistor!

The other problem with the argument is the obvious problem that Bibles haven’t been banned from schools. The main thing that came out of the school prayer cases was that teachers couldn’t lead prayers, because that amounted to government-sanctioned religion and a violation of the first amendment. Nobody said students couldn’t pray, or teachers couldn’t pray- just that teachers couldn’t make students pray. And hey, evangelicals- what if your kid’s teacher is, say, a Mormon? (I could make it hard and say “a Sikh”, or “Baha’i” but I’ll go easy.) You believe exactly what he/she believes? Even that stuff about Satan and Jesus being brothers? You want them making your little splinter-sect kids following along? Can anyone possibly come up with a prayer that works for all religions? But of course the people who write these kinds of comics know the answer to that- everyone must believe the way they do.

As a last note, I think one of the most amusing elements of this comic is its attempt to make being a Christian busybody seem like breakin’ the law. I guess that’s part of the “talking to youth in their own language” thing these comics try to do. Because there’s nothing as bad-ass and mold-breaking in America as being a Christian- you know, in the way a religion that’s been synonymous with Western Culture for a millennium and a half can be in any way transgressive. Shaft and Sweet Sweetback only wish they could be as hardcore as a couple of freshly scrubbed Christian kids.

 

 

 

   
   

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Last Modified: December 22, 2013

 

 

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