Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

3/13/2010 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (

This latest anti-Catholic controversy contains a prophetic message for us .It is time to defend the Catholic Christian faith.

The Death Cookie
©1988 by Jack T. Chick LLC

The Death Cookie ©1988 by Jack T. Chick LLC


By Michael Terheyden

Catholic Online (

3/13/2010 (5 years ago)

Published in U.S.

KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - Jonathan Hatcher, the pastor at Conner Heights Baptist Church in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee stumbled upon a bee hive and made national news when a booklet being passed out by members from his church was given to a Catholic high-school girl.

This girl was a member of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Pigeon Forge. The contents of the booklet apparently upset her, and she brought it to her pastor, Father Jay Flaherty. Father Flaherty told Fox News that he was afraid the booklet could lead to violence. "It´s a very dangerous world we live in," he said.

The title of the booklet is the "Death Cookie." The word "cookie" is a crude reference to the Eucharist. The booklet is a Chick publication. In the 1970's, Jack Chick concluded that Roman Catholics were not scriptural or Christian, and he decided to attack the Church through his publications.

The "Death Cookie" begins with a man who wants wealth and power and asks a demonic figure, presumably Satan, how he can control the people. Satan tells the man to convince the people that he has the power to throw them into hell. Then he tells the man to appear holy, to tell the people that he is their papa. This is a clear reference to the Pope. Finally, Satan tells the man to enlist helpers whom the people believe have magical powers and can make God appear in a "cookie."

The booklet also claims that "The creation of the wafer god was the greatest religious con job in world history." The "Death Cookie" is pathetic and a blatant example of mindless anti-Catholicism. It is amazing that anyone would consider this booklet to be more than what it is, Anti-Catholic bigotry.

According to local news sources, pastor Hatcher initially defended the booklet. He said that he intended to continue passing it out even though he admitted that he did not know much about Catholicism. In defense of his ignorance, he said that he trusted Chick Publications.

But in a March 5, 2010, article, Joshua Miller at Fox News reported that pastor Hatcher later said he would no longer pass out the booklets. Unfortunately, the pastor still did not get it because he also said he was still going to pass out other booklets from the same publisher.

This controversy brought forth a public statement from the Bishop of the Diocese of Knoxville, Richard F. Stika. Bishop Stika condemned the publication outright. He said, "The leaflets produced by Chick Publications and distributed locally are hateful, discriminatory, and full of prejudice and bigotry."

Most of the content in Bishop Stika's statement was of an ecumenical nature. He used this controversy as a teachable moment. He said that the doctrine of the Real Presence asserts that Jesus is literally and wholly present—body and blood, soul and divinity--in the Eucharist. But he also touched on other topics as well.

For instance, he explained the Catholic Church's teaching on justification. He mentioned the importance of Sacred Scripture to Catholics, and he gave a short explanation on good works. He also gave us an inspiring example of a local Catholic agency that takes the Gospel message of love and good works seriously.

He said, "Catholic Charities of East Tennessee delivers 17 services through 24 programs throughout the region. This agency´s services are provided regardless of religious affiliation, race, or ability to pay: fewer than 5 percent of the more than 20,000 clients served annually are Catholic."

He also touched on one of the most profound and beautiful ideas of Christian anthropology: the idea that man and woman are created in the image of God. Bishop Stika informed us that this understanding of human beings is essential "for the formation of a correct vision of society." He gave the culture of life as an example of a correct vision.

Bishop Stika also conveyed deep respect, love and solidarity with the Baptist community of East Tennessee and all Protestant denominations and all members of non-Christian faiths, with whom we share certain beliefs.

He showed us that while our differences are real, they need not be divisive. Catholics and Protestants are brothers and sisters in Christ. This unity, or solidarity if you prefer, is also real; and it is evident when we pray together and unite around a common cause. One such cause is the promotion of a culture of life.

Although the Bishop´s statement inspires Christian charity and solidarity, this is not all we can gain from this controversy. There is something more. I believe that this controversy contains a prophetic message for us, and we would do well to flesh it out.

Father Flaherty is correct; the world is dangerous, but not only in the way that he means. Christianity is under attack. This attack is coming from secularism and the many popular "isms" of our time: subjectivism, moral relativism, atheism, materialism (the philosophy), socialism, fascism, feminism, and neo-paganism (the collapse of reason and the rise of superstition and magic).

Wanting the controversy to go away, pastor Hatcher told Fox news, "It is like a sore. The more you pick at it, the longer it´s going to take to heal." The pastor is correct, but the controversy is not the only thing that can be compared to a sore.

The Reformation was in the 1500´s; we live in 2010. Five hundred years later and we have still not healed, but the battle of our time is not Catholic verses Protestant. It is secularism versus Christianity. Pastors like Jonathan Hatcher and publications like Chick need to get with the times and quit picking at the sore.

In this respect, Bishop Stika is with the times. His statement reminds us that Christians living today may have been born into a broken family, but we need not remain divided and weak. Despite our differences, we can stand together in solidarity and defend ourselves against those who want to destroy us.

This is the prophetic message contained in this small-town controversy: United we stand; divided we fall. Jesus put it this way: ". . . Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste. Any house torn by dissension falls" (Lk 11:17).


Michael Terheyden is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. He is Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. He is greatly blessed to share his Catholic faith with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More U.S.

'No more baby parts': How will Congress deal with the alarming Planned Parenthood shooting? Watch

Image of


A shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado that left three people dead last week is only expected to inflame passions of both sides of the political spectrum - as well as giving lawmakers, returning from their holiday break, ... continue reading

EUCHARISTIC MIRACLE IN UTAH? You won't believe what happened to the Body of Christ when it was placed in water (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of


A miraculous bleeding communion wafer has presented itself at a Utah Church. Followers from the St. Francis Xavier Church in Kearns, Salt Lake City have claimed the sacrament bled for three days after it was placed in water following communion. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

The shocking amount of control El Chapo's drug cartel has across the United States Watch

Image of Mexican drug lord,


Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán leads the Sinaloa drug cartel, which the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports has the most influence of all gangs in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The DEA released an unclassified report that indicates the ... continue reading

MIRACLES DO HAPPEN: Days-old baby girl buried alive pulled to safety in California Watch

Image of Following the child's muffled cries, police eventually found the girl in a crevice along the biking path. Wrapped in a blanket, covered with a layer of rocks and rubble, the girl was cold - but alive.


While much still needs to be learned - authorities here in Compton, California are gratified to learn that miracles still happen. A days-old baby girl, estimated to be only two to three days old, has been pulled to safety from a riverbed after a passerby heard ... continue reading

Who Needs Advent? I do! Watch

Image of The candle is a symbol of Advent because it is a symbol of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, who is always coming to those with the eyes of living faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Jesus Christ is not just a memory to the Christian with living faith. He is alive in our midst and living His Life in and through His Body, the Church, of which we are members. The redemptive mission of the Lord Jesus continues until He returns. As Christians, we ... continue reading

BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big and so powerful, you won't believe this MASSIVE SHOCKING fact about it! Watch

Image of Obama is the titular head of the world's most nefarious terrorist organization, a title he may have inherited from his predecessor, and that will be passed to his successor.


If you were asked, what is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated in human history, how would you answer? Global warming? Vaccines? The Moon Landing? Entire religions?  (Not that we agree with these). But what would you say? In a moment, we're going to offer an answer ... continue reading

'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for best deals Watch

Image of Sales for pricey items such as electronic devices erupt into violence on


Everyone has had their turkey leftovers from the previous day's Thanksgiving Feast - and now it's out the door to the nearest "big box" store in a mad scavenger hunt called "Black Friday," where shoppers trample each other for the best deals then can get just before ... continue reading

President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in Thanksgiving address Watch

Image of The president then went on to say that, all Americans must open their neighborhoods, their homes, and hearts to Syrian refugees.


United States President Barack Obama called on Americans to welcome Syrian refugees this Thanksgiving season, who - like the pilgrims that set sail on the Mayflower, were likewise fleeing persecution in their native land. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving Day: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart Watch

Image of Around tables throughout America, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gather with mothers and fathers, Grandpas and Grandmas, extended family, neighbors and friends to thank God and one another. And then, we feast; not only on the food, but even more importantly, on the gift of the love which informs all family relationships and true friendships, the real source of lasting joy, the love of the God who gave us life and liberty.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Happy Thanksgiving Day. May it be a day for love and gratitude. No matter how difficult the challenges we face as a Nation, we have much to be grateful for. As we give thanks, we will find the strength we need to love even more fully. As we practice regularly ... continue reading

New ISIS video taunts United States to 'bring it on' Watch

Image of While the video is pumping up Islamist State, the fact of the matter is is the group is suffering heavy losses on the ground form allied bombardment, especially since Russia began bombing the group


A new video from the Islamic State is highlighting the high number of U.S. soldiers who commit suicide, in effect to tell the world's last remaining superpower to "bring it on." U.S. President Barack Obama has since dismissed ISIS as "a bunch of killers with ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • 'Body lifted from the ground': Young Central American woman dies ...
  • St. Eligius: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, December 01, 2015
  • Parents' Prayer For Their Children HD Video
  • Opium, heroin or cocaine: What drug is YOUR country known for?
  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, December 01, 2015
  • Pope Francis does the unthinkable following emotional tragedy in ...
  • Prayer For Faith HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 11:1-10
1 A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 72:1, 7-8, 12-13, 17
1 [Of Solomon] God, endow the king with your own fair judgement, the son ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:21-24
21 Just at this time, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, 'I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 1st, 2015 Image

St. Eligius
December 1: Eligius (also known as Eloi) was born around 590 ... Read More