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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Barry Allen
The Flash

Barry Allen was the Silver Age super-hero known as The Flash, one of the most famous and popular superheroes in the DC Comics universe. He was a founding member of the Justice League of America.

There is some disagreement about the religious background of the Flash. He is a Protestant, or at least somebody with a Protestant family background.

Perhaps based on his profession, some readers regard Barry Allen as an agnostic or a religiously non-observant person, although there appears to be little actual textual support for such a conclusion.

Some readers have suggested that Barry Allen was a non-observant Jew, or at least ethnically or culturally Jewish. This suggestion appears to based on a 1989 Christmas With the Super-Heroes comic book in which Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) wishes Barry a "Happy Channukah." If one accepts the theory that Hal Jordan himself is Jewish or part-Jewish, then it appears that there is no textual support for the notion that Barry Allen is Jewish.

There is textual support for the notion that Barry Allen is a Christian, or at least of Christian background. This includes, but is not limited to, his two weddings in Christian churches (as opposed to synagogues or mosques, etc.).

Regardless of Barry Allen's actual religious background, he was regularly depicted as one of the more secular major DC superheroes. Barry Allen's identity as a scientist was an important part of his character, and he often relied on his scientific acumen in thwarting his flamboyant foes. (Interestingly enough, a large proportion of the Flash's regular enemies - his rogues gallery - were themselves scientists.) Although many comic book super-heroes are scientists as well as openly religious, the Barry Allen was not one of these.

Of course, it would be a mistake to conclude anything about Barry Allen's religious beliefs based solely on his profession as a scientist. Statistically speaking, most scientist superheroes in DC and Marvel comics have traditional religious beliefs, formal religious affiliation or at least some self-identified belief in a supreme being or higher power.

It may be impossible to authoritatively identify as Barry Allen agnostic or a materialist or secular or Christian or even Jewish or anything else. The character was never really forthcoming on this subject. Partly this may have been due to the religion taboo that was in full force when character was created. The religious beliefs and religious affiliation of characters were rarely identified, whether they were agnostic, atheist, or associated with a traditional religion. (The exception was for "extinct", "fictional" or "mythological" religions, such as Wonder Woman's Greco-Roman classical religion, Hawkman's ancient Egyptian religious ties and reincarnation themes, and Martian Manhunter's native beliefs.) It was only in later decades that major superhero characters began to be fleshed out in more realistic ways, including the identification of religious affiliation and religious beliefs for American characters with conventional backgrounds.

Once the religion taboo had subsided, overt religious content was included in stories about a number of Barry Allen's fellow superheroes (such as explorations of Superman's Protestant upbringing and Kryptonian beliefs, Batman's religious background and theological beliefs or lack thereof). But Barry Allen continued to be portrayed as a more secular character, without any clear religious ties. The fact that even when it became possible to openly refer to a character's religious affiliation little was done along those lines for the Flash suggests that he is regarded by writers as a character who lacks any strong association with an organized religious denomination.

John McDonagh wrote to us (19 April 2006) with a salient observation. In Flash Year One, Barry Allen was showing Wally West (then known as "Kid Flash") how to vibrate through walls. When West compares this to ghosts walking through walls, Barry says he does not accept the presence of ghosts in the world. This alone can not be used as an indicator of Barry Allen's religious affiliation (as many non-religious people believe in ghosts and many devoutly religious people are similar to the Flash in that they reject the possibility of ghosts). Nevertheless, this scene is worth mentioning, as it is illustrative of Barry Allen's generally secular-leaning, materialist nature.

On another subject, Barry Allen died before the various DC Universe speedster characters were tied more solidly to the quasi-mystical extradimensional energy force known as the "Speed Force." This concept, including its implications for an afterlife for DC speedsters, was not introduced until the mid-1990s in the pages of The Flash. This was after Barry Allen had already died and been replaced as "The Flash" by his nephew, Wally West. The powers of Barry Allen were retroactively revealed to have derived from the Speed Force, but Barry Allen did not have knowledge of or an awareness of this phenomenon.

One of the salient but not entirely determinitive points made here was made by Steve Chung:

In a Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2 story by William-Messner Loebs and Colleen Doran, Barry wishes Hal Jordan a Merry Christmas, and Hal wishes him a Happy Channukah.

This scene took place in Christmas With The Super-Heroes #2, which was published in 1989, in the story "One Christmas Eve," by William Messner-Loebs, Colleen Doran, Ty Templeton, Glenn Whitmore, and Albert DeGuzman.

If Hal Jordan (a.k.a. Green Lantern) is a Catholic character (as has been suggested by some published evidence), then the presumption about this scene is that he was wishing his friend Barry Allen (the Flash) a season's greeting which was appropriate to Barry's own religious background.

Alternatively, this scene has been interpreted by other readers to mean that it was Hal Jordan who is Jewish, and that each was uttering a holiday greeting from their own religious perspective. If one accepts this particular scene as definitive, then there would seem to be two possibilities:

1) Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) is Jewish and Barry Allen (Flash) is Christian.
or
2) Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) is Christian and Barry Allen (Flash) is Jewish.

Our conclusions certainly be changed as new information becomes available, but at this time this website, which focuses on researching the religious affiliation of comic book characters, believes that Hal Jordan's religious background can best be identified as Jewish Catholic. Such a conclusion means that Hal Jordan was wishing Barry Allen a "Happy Channukah" because Hal (not Barry) is Jewish. Without this scene, there appears to be no concrete textual support for the notion that Barry Allen is Jewish.

Realistically speaking Barry Allen, who appared in many hundreds of comic books both in his own long-running title as well as in the pages of Justice League of America, was probably not Jewish in any meaningful sense at all. There are Jewish characters in the DC Universe, and many of the key creators of DC characters were Jewish. The writers and artists who chronicled the life of the Flash certainly knew how to portray a Jewish character, whether through overt references or subtle clues. There is little evidence that they ever thought of the Flash as Jewish. It is worth noting that the Flash is included neither on the "List of Jewish superheroes" on the Wikipedia website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jewish_superheroes) nor on the far more inclusive and wide-ranging "Jewish Supers List" at http://blaklion.best.vwh.net/jew.html.

Note that Barry Allen died during the Crisis on Infinite Earths (a major cross-over event which shook up the DC Universe), and the mantle of "The Flash" was taken up by Barry's similarly-powered nephew Wally West, who had previously been known as "Kid Flash." The superhero known as "The Flash" who currently appears in DC Comics and who is featured in the animated TV series "Justice League" is Wally West, not Barry Allen.

Discussion

From: "What religion do superhero's belong to? [sic]" forum discussion started 18 July 2002 on "Toon Zone" website (http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?t=41332; viewed 21 May 2007):

07-18-2002, 01:02 PM
wonderfly

What religion do superhero's [sic] belong to?

I'd like to discuss what religious beliefs are favorite costumed hero's belong to. Everyone knows Daredevil is Catholic. But beyond that, what do we know of superhero's beliefs? I'm thinking of mostly the Marvel Universe, but you DC fans feel free to contribute as well...


[http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?t=41332&page=2]

07-20-2002, 11:39 AM
Brainatra

Hmm...

Flash: guessing all three Flashes were Protestants... though I doubt Wally's exactly an active church-goer.

From: "Banned for using this nic" thread began 4 Apri 1999 in rec.arts.comics.dc.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/browse_thread/thread/f38288dc4e56542/8a873a0a53da3d0d; viewed 12 June 2006):

From: Robert Justus
Date: Mon, Apr 5 1999 12:00 am

To keep this on topic (sorta), why are most heroes not as religious as they could be? ...the only really religious person that's sane that I recall in DCU is Huntress, and I guess Wonder Woman... Anyone else...?


From: Chuck Burke
Date: Sat, Apr 24 1999 12:00 am

Barry (Flash) Allen was shown to be a churchgoing man...


From: RMorris306
Date: Sat, Apr 24 1999 12:00 am

Where? I have an almost complete run of his stories, and the only time I remember seeing him in church was when he got married, which is rather a special case.

From: "New Christian JLA member" message board, started 5 May 2005 on official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000023085; viewed 15 May 2006):

kissmyringagain
Posted: May 6, 2005 3:09 AM

I am a Christian... There is a reason there is no Christian superhero. Same reason as there is no real Jewish [superhero]... that flaunt their religion or fight for religious belief specific notions. It's because they would be offensive to many, if not most, of the readership.

Besides -- Zauriel, Bloodwynd, Wonder Woman, the Spectre, the Quintet, etc., etc., are all based on or are slaves to religious beliefs, but none actively flaunt it, or debate which is correct, so a hard-line Christian super hero would probably not sit too well.


hellstone1
Posted: May 6, 2005 3:50 AM

Well, I'm gonna hit you. Nightcrawler, Daredevil, Nightwing, Huntress, Doctor Mid-Nite, and the Flash are all Christians... Many of them have debated their beliefs in the comics - as you say, not the hardline way, but that is definitely not the same as saying that they are not Christian superheroes, or that they are not devoted.

As far as I know, none of them are fundamentalists, against other religions or...


regularguy
Posted: May 6, 2005 5:08 AM

Huh. Didn't know about the Flash -- though, come to think of it, he did have that bet with the Atom, in "Heaven's Ladder", didn't he?

From: "What Religion is Your Favorite Superhero?" discussion board started 20 April 2006 on official website of DC Comics (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000072337&start=15&tstart=0; viewed 8 May 2006):

mbast1
Posted: Apr 23, 2006 8:23 PM

re: "The problem is that, while there is proof of some sort of divinity in the DCU, there's proof of contradictory divinitities.

I did think of this, and it's the only plausible explanation. From the outside, it's obvious that DC means their universe (and the multiverse before it, more clearly) to be one framed (ultimately) on the Christian model. But, what we've seen, and what even someone like Michael Holt has seen aren't the same. I mean, we've seen scenes of Barry Allen and Ollie in heaven...

Excerpts from: "Superman Wedding -- why a Christian ceremony?" newsgroup discussion started 11 October 1996 in rec.arts.comics.dc.universe (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/browse_thread/thread/4d17a1ff0ee9c715/d141c36005b90ea4; viewed 5 June 2006):

From: Douglas Ethington
Date: Fri, Oct 11 1996 12:00 am
Email: Douglas Ethington

I always thought that Clark was most likely a Christian...

Anyway, this thread got me thinking about the other DC heroes and what their religious beliefs might be, so here are some of my thoughts (most of this MHO [My Humble Opinion]):

...Wonder Woman worships the Greek gods. Captain Marvel is probably a Christian... I'd mention the Flashes and the Speed Force, but that thread has been done to death on this newsgroup...


From: Jon Ingersoll
Date: Wed, Oct 23 1996 12:00 am
Email: Jonathan.Ingers...@yale.edu

re: "Just out of curiosity, is there any major character in the DC Universe definitely shown as being Jewish?"

For that matter, what characters have been portrayed as having any definite religion?

...Barry Allen and Superman (or probably more precisely Iris West Allen and Lois Lane) were and are Christians judging by their wedding ceremonies. I'd have to look more precisely at the garb to guess Catholic or Protestant.

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... Any other characters have religious convictions?


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

...Years ago Dick had a discussion with Wally West about religion in which he stated that he believes in God but doesn't attend church regularly. No demonination was mentioned.


From: Mark J. Reed
Date: Thurs, Apr 22 2004 1:07 pm

That would be before Wally discovered that God is really the Speed Force, and Uncle Barry was the Messiah! Oh, wait, that never happened. Moving on . . .


From: Sigbjorn Berntzen
Date: Thurs, Apr 22 2004 5:09 pm

I seem to remember that Barry Allen was a Christian. He may have been Catholic, but that's a bit fuzzy in my memory.

From: "Barry Allen - Why?" forum discussion started 26 February 2007 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-165569.html; viewed 25 May 2007):

NickG
02-27-2007, 05:52 AM

To get back on topic though. I always found the whole Speed Force thing a bit hokey, it always seems like an instant answer to any Flash question. Oh Barry's not really dead, he's in the Speed Force with the rest of the Flashes. Where's Wally? Oh he's in the Speed Force. Though it gave reason for Speed Ninjas, the whole Speed Force thing thought up by Waid, I... I just never felt like it was right, the whole thing felt forced.

In point of fact though, wasn't it written that Bart took the whole Speed Force into himself, and now the actual parallel universe that was the Speed Force no longer exists, except within him. Another thing, didn't you have to be dead to actually be one with the Speed Force, or rather let the Speed Force consume you. Wally I don't think would ever willingly be consumed by the Speed Force because of his kids and Linda, whats more he'd never let Linda and the kids be consumed by the Speed Force so he could join with the Speed Force without any reservations. Then again I could be totally wrong on my thinking. Somebody correct me if I am off base here.


PatrickG
02-28-2007, 12:14 PM

...Barry, like Hal, was boring to people because of the genre conventions of his day, not because of who he was...

In spite of being a classic, we've never really MET Barry Allen in the modern sense. Compare Johns' Hal to the 70s Hal Jordan. Today's stories are often about character to the exclusion of plot, the opposite of comics from past eras where clever plots were the rule and characters were generally "types" you could sum up in a sentence.

He's a CSI lab tech. Because of the sliding DCU timeline, he's likely now a guy well versed in DNA evidence and computers, even if we haven't seen it.

We really don't know what he's like. There's been some indication he's Jewish. He's a bit of a square.

But is he a geek? Does he love Star Wars or is he more into Dune or does he avoid sci-fi altogether as an adult? How does he dress? Where does he shop? What party games would he like to play? What was high school like for Barry? Who did he take to prom? How religious is he? What about politics? Class? What was his grandmother like? What did he do for fun on an idyll summer day at age 12 when he wasn't reading? What's his sense of humor like? What might he say that might be off-color, quirky or eccentric?

These are questions that weren't answered back in his heyday but these are the kinds of questions a lot of writers might ask today...


Typo Lad
02-28-2007, 12:31 PM

re: There's been some indication he's Jewish.

You know, I loved everything you said but this caught my eye.

I read the entire Barry Allan Flash run for my blog and did not once come across this "indication".

ANY idea where it's from?


TheWraith
02-28-2007, 12:37 PM

I saw no evidence of him being Jewish (not that it matters to me if he was or not).


Typo Lad
02-28-2007, 12:41 PM

I found out the source is from a throwaway line in "Christmas with the Superheroes".

Judging by the fact he got married in a Church and that his second marriage was to be at a Church, well, i don't see him as Jewish. Sorry.


Jack Zodiac
02-28-2007, 02:30 PM

Isn't Hal Jewish, though? Harold Jordan certainly sounds Jewish. Bartholomew Allen sounds like Christian name. Eh, either way, everything else Patrick said is dead on.


PatrickG
02-28-2007, 03:00 PM

Pretty sure Hal isn't Jewish.

The reference to Barry is throwaway and likely a nod to Julie Schwartz and numerous Jewish comic book creators... But why not run with it?

Not every Jew is Hebrew. Some are converts. Some are nordic converts, which is how I picture Barry's family... Although to what extent he might actually practice, that's up to the writer.

But I've known more than one self-identified Jewish person whose family converted. And I can't think of a single comic book Jewish convert (or person whose family converted).

As for the wedding, I think my take would be that Iris is protestant and that Barry's parents or grandparents converted when he was young but that he doesn't really practice. However, it informs his cultural background and it might provide a kind of touchstone for how he views the world.

If we're going for diversity, I think an anglo-nordic Jewish man is a good step. I think a non-afro, non-Arabic Muslim would be another solid step. Diversity can be about choices and upbringing and life decisions in addition to skintone and biology.

Ever since I was 16, I've wanted to pitch a revival of the (rather embarassing, in some respects) Chief Man of the Bats, a Sioux counterpart of Batman from the 50s who was largely drawn from western stereotypes, and one of the interesting little twists I had in mind was that my version would be a Catholic Native American who starts out with his Chief Man of the Bats routine as something of a Six Flags "Batman Stunt Show" style act in a bizarre Miller-meets-Sprang-via-Vegas place I envisioned called Neon City where the roofs are dorned with giant neon props and everything is for sale. And so you have this peculiar issue of a guy co-opting his ancestor's culture, buying into certain stereotypes and mixing them with the urban legend of Batman, and from that there's a basis to treat his rather absurd past quite seriously and use it as a launching pad towards him and his son Little Raven becoming more legitimate. And maybe his son is embarassed by the "selling out" factor.

Anyway, I think Barry Allen as a Jewish man (culturally if not biologically) has at least tenuous support and it could be taken somewhere.


TheWraith
02-28-2007, 08:03 PM

He ain't Jewish.


PatrickG
03-01-2007, 04:48 AM

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

Barry Allen being Jewish is a subject of some debate.

Wikipedia has been going back and forth as people add and remove him.

As has been the case with the Jewish Supers List:
http://blaklion.best.vwh.net/jew.html

...Here's a big index that gets changed periodically, it would appear:
http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html#At


Typo Lad
03-01-2007, 07:30 AM

I can see Ray being Jewish before Barry.

I dunno, there's just something about Barry that screams WASP.

From: "Islamic super heroes: Are there any?" forum discussion, started 23 August 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-76010.html; viewed 28 May 2007):

Crinos
08-23-2005, 10:06 PM

Well, anyways, I was thinking of an idea for a UN-sanctioned super hero team with represenatives from different countries, and one of them is a female telepath from Turkey... named Sultana. And I suddenly realized that for the life of me I can't think of a single Muslim super-hero from either Marvel or DC.

So, are there any? And please don't turn this into a political debate.


PatrickG
08-24-2005, 07:17 AM

In any case... Note how few Jewish super-heroes there are in an industry whose biggest names are very often Jewish.

I'm thinking of Kitty Pryde, Gim Allon and Barry Allen as the biggest name ones. And I think it's been an afterthought in all three.

I think the characters are supposed to represent us all even if they don't reflect us all.


Archyduke
08-24-2005, 09:17 AM

...I never knew Barry Allen was Jewish. Completely no idea. Neat.


Typo Lad
08-24-2005, 09:20 AM

Someone decided "Allen" was a Jewish name, and tagged it on.


Donald M.
08-24-2005, 09:39 AM

Maybe because of Woody Allen?

Of course, Woody Allen's real name is Konisberg, so . . . yeah.


Slam_Bradley
08-24-2005, 09:47 AM

re: Someone decided "Allen" was a Jewish name, and tagged it on.

Who the heck was this?


StoneGold
08-24-2005, 10:23 AM

I just did a quick search, the only references I can find to Barry being Jewish is a Wikipedia entry under dispute, and a few people who make reference to they believed Mark Waid commented somewhere that both Wally and Barry were Jewish, but couldn't find the reference.


Donald M.
08-24-2005, 10:27 AM

West, now there's a Jewish name! [sarcasm]


Typo Lad
08-24-2005, 10:30 AM

Wally?

Wally's so WASP it's not even funny!

From: "It's like this webpage was written just for Austin316." forum discussion, started 24 June 2007 by Final_Flanner on "Back Room Almanac" website (http://69.16.209.6/~elkabong/boards/showpost.php?b=backroom;pid=583084;d=all; viewed 10 July 2007):

Comic book characters grouped by religion...

* Click here for link [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_collage.html]


by Austin316 (06/24/2007 14:16:33)

I've posted it here before.

If you go to the home page (which I've linked below), there are some other interesting tidbits. They actually do a pretty good job. I take exception to the following theories:

...Barry Allen as Protestant. This one is more of just basic characterization, rather than any explicit references. I always figured Barry as Catholic.

* Click here for link [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html]

From: "Barry Allen is Jewish?" forum discussion, started 13 May 2005 on "Comic Bloc" website (http://www.comicbloc.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-4308.html; viewed 20 July 2007):

Atom-Smasher
May 13th, 2005, 04:40 PM

I was having a discussion with a few of my old youth group pals about Jewish superheroes, and I came upon this great list at Wikipedia of Jewish comic book characters.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jewish_superheroes

Many of them I knew about - the reason Atom Smasher is my favorite hero is, in part, because he's Jewish - but I had no idea that Barry Allen was Jewish. Is this true, or does Wikipedia need some editing?


Mr Imbroglio
May 13th, 2005, 04:56 PM

He seemed as Protestant as Protestant can be. Nothing too out there. Maybe Lutheran or whatever denomination produced the old "Davey and Goliath" cartoons.


Icefan
May 13th, 2005, 05:16 PM

re: "Is this true, or does Wikipedia need some editing?"

Looks like somebody changed it. I don't think Barry is Jewish, but it was confirmed that his JLA teammate the Atom (Ray Palmer) is, in DC Comics Presents: Justice League of America. His mother's maiden name was Ashkenazi. :)


Velocity9
May 14th, 2005, 10:06 AM

Yeah, he seems kind of WASP-y to me really.


Sk8maven
May 14th, 2005, 08:10 PM

Wasn't it Atom/Ray Palmer who gave his JLA comrades the inside scoop on Hanukkah? And didn't the context imply that it was personally meaningful to him? Q.E.D...


Steve Chung
May 14th, 2005, 09:26 PM

In a Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2 story by William-Messner Loebs and Colleen Doran, Barry wishes Hal Jordan a Merry Christmas, and Hal wishes him a Happy Channukah.

Make of this what you will.


Heatwave the Rogue
May 15th, 2005, 07:44 AM

I always figured Barry Allen an athiest or agnostic. Mostly because of his strong scientific background. Not all scientists fit this criteria though, so it's not a hard fast rule either.

...I would rather comic companies take a "don't ask, don't tell" policy about religion.


Adam Jones
May 15th, 2005, 10:45 AM

Jeeze, with the blonde crew cut and blue eyes, I always thought he [Barry Allen] looked like the Aryan poster child.


CapeandCowl
May 15th, 2005, 10:59 AM

I think don't ask don't tell is for the birds. I mean, no, I don't want some kind of sermon every time I pick up a comic, but if you were a writer trying to flesh out a character sooner or later you'd have to come up against his or her spiritual beliefs. They can make for great stories...

If you are going to write stories that are beyond mere kiddy stories about men in tights, religion will enter it at some point... Basically, if you want to tell good character stories, their faith will be part of it at some point. Faith is an important part of many people's lives and if comics are, as most art forms are, a reflection of the world we live it, faith will also be important to superheroes too.

As for Barry... I don't recall anything that suggest he was Jewish or any other particular faith. I also assumed he was some kind of atheist or agnostic or something because it was never explored in comics.


Evadne
May 15th, 2005, 07:37 PM

Well, assuming what Steve Chung said about the Christmas special is true, I think the question here is, is there anything in previous canon that points to Barry Allen being raised in a Christian environment? What was the date on the Christmas special where Hal wished him a Happy Chanukah? Is this possibly a retcon of Barry's cultural upbringing or is it just something that was played low for precisely the reasons people are stating here? (Barry may have been raised Jewish, but was an atheist/agnostic, or the writers felt the aspect of religion had no real place in comics?)

I always read him more WASPy, so this is an interesting development.


Steve Chung
May 15th, 2005, 09:16 PM

Christmas With the Super-Heroes 1989.

"One Christmas Eve" by William Messner-Loebs, Colleen Doran, Ty Templeton, Glenn Whitmore, and Albert DeGuzman.


Demas
May 16th, 2005, 08:55 AM

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=Jew
Jew "Jew" ( P ) n.
1. An adherent of Judaism as a religion or culture.
2. A member of the widely dispersed people originally descended from the ancient Hebrews and sharing an ethnic heritage based on Judaism.

No one would doubt that Jerry Seinfeld's character as portrayed on his show was Jewish, which is not the same as saying he is religiously Jewish. Similarly with Magneto, etc. The question is simply: Is Barry's ethnically Jewish? Given the ONLY thing we have to suggest it one way or the other is Hal's comment, then it's possible but still unclear.

While ethnicity is not necessarily that important to a character, it certainly can be a part (consider how many Seinfeld episodes played on his heritage)... if we don't know this about Barry, how much else don't we know?


franksmapdi
May 16th, 2005, 09:00 AM

Barry? With that straight, blonde hair? NO!


Demas
May 16th, 2005, 09:23 AM

Roughly 10% of Jews are blond and blue eyed (making the Nazi method of selection highly suspect). 30% can qualify as dirty blond. It's not really a trait that excludes him definitively.


Bee Allen
May 16th, 2005, 09:53 AM

Well, I can't recall if there was a cross at Barry and Iris's wedding, but if I recall correctly, the minister's/priest's vestments looked Christian to me. Of course, I'm not sure what rabbinical robes would look like. :)

Barry had personal encounters with ghosts, so he didn't deny their existence. Would he have labeled them "supernatural," or assumed that they were permitted by the laws of nature?


Atom-Smasher
May 17th, 2005, 07:14 PM

I've met some very beautiful naturally blonde Jewish girls in my life. It happens when you're in two youth groups...


Peirigill
May 18th, 2005, 01:57 PM

...I'd be hard put to conclude that most any person was Jewish or not just based on looks. Barry might well be - but he always struck me as a WASP.


Mr Imbroglio
May 18th, 2005, 02:30 PM

Goysih - definitely goyish [i.e., "non-Jewish"]. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Mr Imbroglio
May 18th, 2005, 02:32 PM

Anyway, Barry is cool as a cucumber, but never struck me as being Jewish. He seemed like the kind of guy who'd keep his religion pretty private in any case - though maybe he secretly thought J'onn Jonnz and all Martians might be going to hell.


Kris
May 20th, 2005, 10:57 PM

...Whatever Barry Allen was raised to be, no writer showed him believing in it enough for it to be a story factor. So he's probably a good example of a "healthy athiest/agnostic".


SmashOgre
May 21st, 2005, 08:05 AM

You know, I don't like too much overly obvious religious references in my comics nor do I like political ones because I read comics as an escape. But I do appreciate appropriate mentions... I would like casual mentions without overt preachiness, but only when it's appropriate, such as a Thanksgiving story or Christmas story or some such.

From: "Question for other atheists" forum discussion, started 6 March 2006 on "Comic Boards" website (http://www.comicboards.com/dcb/view.php?trd=060306051129; viewed 23 July 2007):

Posted by Corn Stone on Monday, March 06 2006 at 05:11:29 GMT

Question for other atheists. Are there any? :-)

How do you relate to the characters in comics, DC especially, who are characterised as atheistic/agnostic?

And a sort of put-yourself-in-the-shoes - Would you still be an atheist if you'd had the experiences Mr Terrific and co have had? (Not counting Green Arrow, Barry Allen and folk who have been to Heaven, if their experiences are to be believed. And they are - this is the DCU cosmology.)

I doubt very much I would call myself an atheist, if, say, I was a member of the JLA or JSA and had some of these experiences.


[http://www.comicboards.com/dcb/view.php?rpl=060306142026]

Posted by Hellstone on Monday, March 06 2006 at 14:20:26 GMT

re: "As noted in other discussions over the years they seem to bend over backwards to NOT assign denominations or faith statements to characters..."

Well, I think that goes for the "big 3" [Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman], for example. But many denizens of the DCU have expressed their religion explicitly, and I'm not just talking Wonder Woman and Kobra and Zauriel here. Huntress (Catholic Christian), Nightwing (Christian, don't know what kind), Flash (Christian), Doctor Mid-Nite (Catholic), Ragman (Jewish), Janissary (Muslim), Seraph (Jewish), Maya (Hindu), Judomaster (Buddhist), Father Craemer (Catholic) and many more, have all stated their explicit beliefs...

From: "Need Help With A Research Project" forum discussion, started 9 December 2005 on the "Comic Bloc" website (http://www.comicbloc.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-16070.html; viewed 6 August 2007):


Jeffrey Neary
December 13th, 2005, 10:18 PM

...C. Humility - If Spiderman isn't the poster child for humility, I don't know who is. Its difficult to point out a specific story because the classic model is that for ever step forward he makes. Life forces him to take 12 back. Be it his Aunt being sick and him needing money to buy medicine, to the Cops believing he is criminal despite his numerous efforts to save the city/planet, etc etc. But, the old Barry Allen Flash stories depicted a police scientist that also shared this trait. One would claim that the final pages of Identity Crisis where Ralph is speaking to his dead wife as a means of therapy is humility in action as well...


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