BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - What appears to be a comic strip for kids is actually a message from a church, and it has some parents disgusted and furious.
One mother who saw the images and themes inside the religious booklet said her daughter found them scary. It isn't your run-of-the-mill Bible lesson.
"It was about a dad getting drunk and killing the mother and the kids being left to fend for themselves," Brandi Gillette said.
That lesson is one Gillette didn't want her 7-year-old reading, but that's what happened when the booklet was left on her doorstep and found by her daughter.
"I don't think my daughter should have been exposed to it just by picking up a colorful comic off the front porch," Gillette said.
The pamphlet was wrapped in a brochure for the Evangelical Baptist Church in the Lovejoy neighborhood. What Gillette wants to know is if anyone in Buffalo read the pamphlet before handing it out, and if so, do they really think it's appropriate for children?
The story in the illustrated bible tract involves an alcoholic father who beats his wife. She dies while he's at the bar and he skips the funeral. Finally, the starving children are forced to confront the father with a threat of violence.
"The little girl in the story smashes the liquor bottle across the counter and says, 'I'll fix you,'" Gillette said.
The story ends after the children bring the dad to church. He's saved. And the little girl says, "Daddy, this is my happy hour."
Gillette said, "It seems like a Lifetime movie or something that was put into a kid's comic book and expose my 7-year-old to this horrible of an idea of a family life."
No one from the church responded to our request for an interview. But we took the comic to a different religious leader for another perspective.
"I think an initial approach to children you do not know, would probably not be to hand them a story like that," says Jim Swearingen, executive director of the Buffalo Christian Center.
If it's an attempt to recruit new members, this mother is dumbfounded and disgusted.
"If this is what they talk about in Bible study, I definitely wouldn't want my daughter exposed to that," Gillette asserted.
Swearingen says he'd be surprised if the Evangelical Baptist Church intended children to read the pamphlet. But Gillette doesn't see it that way.
"Obviously children. Because it looks like a children's comic book," she noted.
A representative of Chick Publications, who publishes this tract, says the intended audience is definitely not children. They aim to point adults struggling with alcoholism to Jesus. They do however publish different comics for teens and children.
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