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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Brian Braddock
Captain Britain
of Excalibur

Betsy Braddock is a British-born superhero better known as "Captain Britain." Brian's sister Betsy Braddock is the superheroine "Psylocke," a member of the X-Men. Captain Britain was a founding member of the British-based superhero Excalibur.

Captain Britain has never been portrayed as a particularly religious person, but he was born into an Anglican family and raised at least nominally in the Church of England, which is part of the Anglican Communion.

Captain Britain is the brother of Betsy Braddock, the superheroine known as "Psylocke." More information about the religious affiliation and religious background of Psylocke's family, much of which also applies to Brian, can be found here.

Discussion

From: "Atheist superheroes?" thread, started 21 September 1999 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe/browse_thread/thread/e8d686f0b20944a6/e46638dbdaa8a219; viewed 22 June 2006):

From: Dwiff
Date: Tues, Sep 21 1999 12:00 am

...Anyone care to post a list of those characters whose spiritual beliefs are on record?


From: David O'Brien
Date: Tues, Sep 21 1999 12:00 am

...Captain Britain: Married in what looked to me to be a straightforward Protestant church.

From: "Uncanny X-Men" forum discussion page on ComixFan.com website (http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/archive/index.php/t-35212.html; viewed 6 January 2006):

L Miller
Aug 19, 2005, 12:17 pm

What religion are all the X-Men? ...Psylocke and Captain Britain would likely be Anglican, but again whether they are practicing Anglicans would be anyone's guess.

From: "Super Hero Religious Preferences" discussion board, started 10 March 2006 (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-113612.html; viewed 24 April 2006):

Dizzy D
03-11-2006, 01:59 AM

...And I do think some of the cases they made are rather iffy (though better than another site on the same subject that was once posted here): Captain Britain for instance is lumped as Anglican, just because his parents probably were (never mind that his father with his ties to Merlyn and Otherworld probably has a religion we don't even have on Earth).

From: "Religion of Comic Book Characters - The List" discussion board, started 29 January 2006 on "Millar World" website (http://forums.millarworld.tv/index.php?showtopic=57496; viewed 24 April 2006):

garjones
Jan 31 2006, 05:06 PM

...Do Captain Britain and the Black Knight count as pagans/druids after all they've seen?

From: "Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters" forum discusion, started 28 March 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-116753.html; viewed 28 May 2007):

JTLauder
03-28-2006, 07:55 AM

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of time people have to put stuff together on the web. Anyway, if you were ever wondering about the religious affiliation of a certain comic book character, check out this site:

http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html


Dizzy D
03-28-2006, 05:56 PM

I wouldn't put too much trust in that website. It seemed to miss that the Infinity Crusade lists apart from the religious (and I believe she used the word spiritual more than religious) people, also people who have had a near-death experience.

Or that Anglican listing for Captain Britain (who has shown before that he wants a scientific explanation for everything)...

From: Barry, "For Barry" page, posted 26 March 2006 on "Theo-Dongs" blog website http://theopeckers.blogspot.com/2006/03/for-barry.html; viewed 8 May 2006):

Why are all the cool characters [expletive] Episcopalians? What the hell! Like every hero with a descent power is all rich and beautiful. Look at that list. The Invisible Woman and the Human Torch (multi-millionaires), Warren Worthingtion - the Archangel (also a multi-millionaire), Captain Britain (millionaire and ruler of another dimension), Psylocke (Captain Britain's sister, so, yes, a millionaire), Henry McCoy - the Beast (not really a millionaire but a genius geneticist who lives in a mansion with Charles Xavier who is a millionaire), Jean Grey - the Phoenix (also not personally rich, but is a cosmic god who, when she's living, lives in a mansion with millionaires), and of course Bruce Wayne - Batman (who is not a millionaire, but is, in fact, a billionaire). So, yes. There's you're proof. All Episcopalians are lazy rich people.

From: "Where are the Christian Superheroes?" forum discussion page started 22 August 2006 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/archive/index.php/t-81451.html; viewed 5 May 2007):

Mr Wesley
08-22-2006, 10:03 AM

...I pose the question to you, my fellow Talk@Ramanians: If Christianity is the most popular faith in the United States, why aren't there more openly Christian superheroes?


Headache John
08-22-2006, 11:57 AM

I'm Episcopalian myself, so I remember whenever a hero comes up as one. From what I remember, Beast, Jean Grey (which would kinda make Rachel Grey one, too, in a way), Archangel, Psylocke and Captain Britain (technically Anglican - big surprise there) were all at some point identified as Episcopal.

From: "OT: Religious superteams" forum discussion, started 13 February 2007 on "Soap Operus" website (http://www.gossiping.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=167&view=previous&sid=98473f5c220e5dd12ab4c10df9d53477&mforum=so; viewed 29 June 2007):

Crinos
Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 3:15 pm

Religious superteams: Your favorite superheroes, sorted by faith. [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_collage.html]


Peter
Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:55 pm

That was kinda cool. People have written entire essays on the religious denominations of various super-powered folks...


Dizzy D
Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:32 am

I'll repeat my criticisms of this list as I've done every time it's posted...

...my comments on Captain Britain being Anglican are on the site itself... [another blog poster's comment about Captain Britain being] "married in what seemed to be a pretty straight-forward Anglican church"... is new. (Keep in mind that said church was a. On Otherworld and b. Roma was the "priest".) Brian always came across as either atheist or strongly agnostic.

Editor of Adherents.com website responds to poster Dizzy D's comment: We are appreciative of Dizzy D's feedback and notes about the "Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters" website. Dizzy D has taken issue with our site's "Anglican" classification of Captain Britain in a few places. Of all our site's listings, this seems to be one of the listings that Dizzy D is most interested and most critical of. We have only limited experience reading comics featuring Captain Britain and most of what appears on this page about him come from comments by comic book fans and blog posters other than ourselves. David O'Brien noted that Captain Britain married in what appeared to be "a straightforward Protestant church." If Dizzy D's description of the church as being on Otherworld and the ceremony as being conducted by Roma, then certainly Captain Britain's wedding ceremony can not be used to support identification of the character as Anglican.

Dizzy D seems not to note, however, that there is no disparity between his assessment of the character and our own. There is nothing on our website that states that Captain Britain is not an atheist or an agnostic. Given the overall publishing history of the character, "agnostic" or "atheistic" may not be the most logical or reasonable labels to apply to Brian Braddock. "Secular" and "non-churchgoer" seem more reasonable. But there may not be direct evidence either way. Brian Braddock may indeed be agnostic or atheistic. But we are aware of no textual support for such a conclusion, and we can thus not list him as such. There is, however, textual support for classifying him as an Anglican, at least nominally, which is how we describe him at the top of this page. Thus, Captain Britain is listed on our site as an Anglican (something supportable from published comics) and not as an atheist or agnostic (an assessment that may or may not be true, but remains mere speculation on the part of Dizzy D and others). Nothing on this page directly contradicts Dizzy D's contention that "Brian always came across as either atheist or strongly agnostic." We are sure that this seems to be the case for some readers. But "coming across" as something is not the same as textual support, which is what we strive to base our classifications on. (Note that textual support for a certain religious classification is not always the same thing as "being overtly identified by name" as something.)

If Brian Braddock was overtly identified as an agnostic or atheist, then being Anglican would still be part of his religious affilation notation, because that is the denomination he was born into and raised in (however nominally). We always want to note if a character is an atheist or agnostic where such information is available, but these terms rarely stand alone. A complete assessment of a character's religious affiliation includes a number of factors, including the religion they claim to belong to, the religion the actually adhere to, the religion they were born into and the religion they were raised in.

Finally, it may be noted that it is a commonly made mistake to think that being an atheist or agnostic somehow precludes a person from being an Anglican. This is not the case. Many Anglicans are agnostics or atheists. Laurence Olivier and John Shelby Spong are two well known examples of people who were openly and fiercely dedicated to the Church of England and to being Anglicans, and yet were openly agnostic or atheistic.]


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