Nov 152011

San Leandro has some wonderful holiday traditions.  Some, like the Christmas tree lighting downtown, were sponsored by the city and have pretty much disappeared in this age of budget cuts.  Others, sponsored by private businesses, are alive and well.  My favorite is Safe Streets Safe Tricks Halloween, organized by the merchants on the Bancroft/Dutton area.  For two hours on Halloween afternoon, kids can go trick or treating to most of the businesses there (Safeway, as you would expect from a big, greedy corporation, does not participate).  Every merchant gives the kids candy, but Dutton Ace Hardware goes the “extra mile”: along with candy it hands out little cartoon tracts that tell children that if they don’t accept Jesus they will go to Hell.

The Dutton Ace Hardware is owned by “Pastor” Derek Jung, who also runs the Fundamentalist Gospel Baptist Church from his home in San Leandro.   During the summer, his family runs a free Bible camp also from their home.  Jung preaches the belief that the only way to be “saved” and go to heaven is to accept Jesus.  If you don’t, you’ll go to hell no matter how good a person you are.  If you do, you’re guaranteed a first class ticket to the pearly gates.  While I, personally, don’t care what people believe in, I do care when they try to frighten little kids into joining their religion, and that’s exactly what Derek Jung tries to do every Halloween.

I have to admit that the cartoon tract that he handed out this year is not too bad.  It only has one frame saying that “sinners” (aka kids who don’t believe in Jesus) will “burn in hell FOREVER”.  But the tracts they’ve handed out in previous years are truly disturbing.  In one they handed out a couple of years ago, a mom tells her son that his friend who just died in a traffic accident will spend eternity burning in hell because he stopped going to Sunday school.  The mom then admonishes her son that the idea that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell, was created by Satan himself.  Another tract warns about the impending rise in human sacrifice.  And yes, some are so silly that they’ll have you laughing outloud. I suspect the reason why Jung has switched to another tract “company” is cost.  The ones he handed out this year are free, while the ones from previous years cost him 16-cents a piece.

In reality, I don’t think the tracts do much harm to most children.  Mine have never shown any interest in reading them – the tracts are cheaply made and their sanctimonious language makes them boring despite the gruesome illustrations.  But they might scare kids who already believe in Jesus – and in any case, handing them out hoping to scare kids into believing in Jesus doesn’t sound very Christian to me.



  8 Responses to “Halloween in San Leandro: “You are Going to Hell!””

  1. Lol, we’ve all seen these Bible tracts, they try to print them in language all people regardless of age will understand. Kids who already believe in Jesus have heard and understand this message. This is nothing new to San Leandro, I was raised there, and I received this same message in church both Catholic and Baptist. With all the crap kids see on TV and play on games and indeed with some of the stuff they see on Halloween, the idea of burning in hell is A LOT less gruesome, lol. Not that serious really. How many parents were just grateful for the free candy?

    • I hope you didn’t get that message from the Catholic Church 🙂 The main difference between the Catholic and Protestant churches (which prompted the Reformation) is that Catholics believe you need to be a good person to go to Heaven (that’s why the have the whole confession deal and they had the whole selling of indulgences), while Protestants belief that faith alone will do it. This people here take the “faith” part to its logical extreme.

  2. San Leandro used to seem like hell on earth already – I wonder if it’s any better under the red-headed mayor?

    • I love this town — despite Dutton Hardware’s Halloween contributions. I moved here over 13 years ago and haven’t regretted it since!

  3. Marga, I suspect that your kids are not spending a lot of time in church. You would be amazed at the garbage that goes out to the kids who regularly attend church school. Oh, and by the way, the parents do not mind it.

  4. Marga, the reasons for the Protestant Reformation are a great deal more complex than your simplistic answer. But then I would not expect much from you in terms of accuracy.

    to go to heaven you must repent of all your sins, receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, and remain faithful to Jesus’ teachings unto the end.
    No religion or good works, or church or saints can save us from eternal damnation in HELL only Jesus Christ CAN DO THAT. Also there is no such thing as once saved always saved. He who endures until the end shall be saved. The Bible also teaches that without holiness no one will see the Lord. Call upon the Lord right now tell him to save you from your sins, read your Bible and obey it, go to a Christian church where Jesus is preached and the Bible is the final authority. ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS PLEASE CALL DAVID AT (571) 921-6314

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