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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Commissioner Jim Gordon
Gotham City police commissioner and Batman's ally

James "Jim" Gordon is the police commissioner of Gotham City. Commissioner Gordon is one of Batman's most long-standing allies in the war against crime in Gotham City.

Commissioner Gordon and Batman have had countless conversations and experiences together. Only rarely does their discussion address overtly religious or spiritual topics. Of the two of them, Jim Gordon is generally portrayed as being the one who is more hopeful, prayerful and more religious in the normative sense of the word.

We are unaware of any published comics in which Jim Gordon's precise denominational affiliation has been revealed. There seems little reason to believe that he is not a Protestant Christian, at least nominally.

Like most comic book characters created in the era that birthed him, Commissioner Gordon's precise religious characteristics were masked by the era's strong taboo against overt religious identification. Commissioner Gordon has always been portrayed as extremely ethical. He is an island of honesty and incorruptability in a bit city often awash in police corruption, government corruption, and general evil. Obviously Jim Gordon can be classified as very "religious," in the sense that ethics is a subset of religion and selflessness is a sign of manifest religiosity. But this is a different matter than participation in and affiliation with an organized religious organization, the extent of which has not been revealed in Jim Gordon's case. To the extent that being "religious" requires overt reference to organized religious practice, Commissioner Gordon's character has never been portrayed as particularly "religious."

Below:
Police officer Jim Gordon, before he became Gotham City's police commissioner, handles a hostage situation in an unorthodox, fearless manner. He shows the crazed hostage-taker that he is putting his gun on the ground and coming to him unarmed. In Jim Gordon's narration, he says he prays the customer understands what he is doing. Does Jim Gordon literally pray in this scene, or is he simply using a figure of speech?

From: Batman: Year One #2; reprinted in Batman: Year One trade paperback, published by DC Comics (2005); written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli; page 27:

Batman: Year One: Jim Gordon prays

Jim Gordon's thoughts in this scene:
Last month Branden and his swat team calmed down a riot in Robinson Park. Didn't even leave the statues standing. Those kids don't have a chance -- he'll push that poor bastard over the edge -- I take the ugly weight off my hip . . . I hold it up like a dead rat and pray that the man understands . . . Behind me Branden curses. I head for the front door. I'm sure nobody can see my knees wobble.

Below:
Police officer Jim Gordon, before he became Gotham City's police commissioner, sits on his bed beside his very pregnant wife Barbara. He reflects on the world his unborn son will face. Gotham is a dangerous place. Jim Gordon says he prays that his son be strong enough and smart enough to survive in Gotham.

From: Batman: Year One #2; reprinted in Batman: Year One trade paperback, published by DC Comics (2005); written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli; page 30:

Batman: Year One: Jim Gordon prays

Jim Gordon's thoughts in this scene:
Another kick. Strong boy, little James . . . I pray he's very strong. And smart enough to stay alive. How did I let this happen? How did I screw up so badly . . . to bring an innocent child to life . . . in a city without hope . . .

Discussion

From: "Religion in the Batman comics" thread began 7 June 2001 in alt.comics.batman newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/alt.comics.batman/browse_thread/thread/93368626bdebcd58/4b93b3a1e10210c6; viewed 12 June 2006):

From: Patrick2480
Date: Thurs, Jun 7 2001 6:48 pm

We all know Catwoman/Selina Kyle is Catholic (and a bad one at that). The Huntress is probably Catholic too. The Gordons too maybe? Any other characters have religious convictions?


From: Brian Doyle
Date: Fri, Jun 8 2001 3:05 am

re: The Gordons too maybe?"

Never specified.


From: Josh Dull
Date: Fri, Jun 8 2001 11:25 am

re: "The Gordons too maybe?"

I've never seen anything that indicates the Gordons as Catholic. I always felt they were Protestant. And for some reason, to me that makes more sense then the characters being Catholic.



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