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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
of the X-Men
Remy LeBeau, better known as "Gambit," is a member of the mutant superhero team known as the X-Men, who are among the most popular characters in comics history, and whose stories are told in a number of comic book series published by Marvel Comics.
Gambit is a Cajun who was raised in a Catholic household. As an adult, Gambit is largely lapsed with regards to Catholicism. Even as a child, Gambit's family was not particularly devout in a normative Catholic sense. They were more active in a peculiar Louisiana bayou religious-cultural amalgamation of Catholicism, Cajun folk ways, and magical/occult elements, with some Vodoun influences.
Gambit was something of a scoundrel and a thief before he joined the X-Men. In fact, he has been something of a scoundrel and a thief since joining the X-Men, although he is primarily a hero. Before entering into a long-term relationship with fellow X-Man Rogue, Gambit was very much a womanizer. Since comitting to Rogue he has apparently been faithful to her, although theirs has almost always been a platonic relationship, a situation caused by her mutant power, and not by any moral qualms on his part.
Above: Rogue and Gambit participate in a telepathic form of "couples" therapy, and refer to each other as a Cajun Catholic and a Southern Baptist.
[Source: X-Men #172, "Bizarre Love Triangle, Part Two: Temptation", Marvel Entertainment Group: New York (2005), page 3; written by Peter Milligan, pencilled by Salvador Larroca, inked by Danny Miki with Allen Martinez.]
One scene which explicitly identifies the religious affiliation of both Rogue and Gambit (in mainstream Marvel continuity) took place during a telepathic form of "couples" therapy, facilitated by the powerful telepath Emma Frost. Because Rogue's mutant power renders her unable to physically touch anybody without temporarily stealing their thoughts and powers (or permanently damaging or killing them through prolonged physical contact), normal romantic physical contact is impossible for the couple. Emma Frost allowed the couple to interact with each other telepathically. During this session, Rogue and Gambit made allusions to the Garden of Eden, prompting them to refer to each other as a "Cajun boy raised in a Catholic household" and a "Southern Baptist girl."
The fact that both Rogue and Gambit were willing to be completely physically intimate with each other (even telepathically) is indicative of the fact that both are rather lapsed in the Christian religious faiths they were raised in. Rogue (on the next page) declares, "It ain't no sin if y'all truly love each other, which is certainly not a Southern Baptist doctrine (although it may be frequent Southern Baptist practice).
Dialogue from: X-Men #172, "Bizarre Love Triangle, Part Two: Temptation", Marvel Entertainment Group: New York (2005), pages 3-4; written by Peter Milligan, pencilled by Salvador Larroca, inked by Danny Miki with Allen Martinez:
[Gambit, Rogue, and White Queen sit Indian style on pillows on the floor in the White Queen's office. They are wearing their full X-Men uniforms. Their eyes are closed, as they are joined telepathically.]
ROGUE: Would you like an apple?
GAMBIT/REMY LeBEAU: What is dis? Le jardin d'Eden?
[We see a beautiful outdoor scene. This is the mindscape where Emma has brought Rogue and Gambit together. Rogue and Gambit wear no clothes. Their Biblical references to the Garden of Eden refer to their unclad state as well as the idyllic setting. And, yes, there are double entendres incorporated into their Biblical allusions. Rogue is holding an apple out to Gambit.]
ROGUE: I like to think it could be paradise. But I'd rather not get too hung up on any strict Biblical interpretation of an any of this.
GAMBIT: You mean . . . no snakes hidin' in da grass?
ROGUE: Snakes? Trust a Cajun boy raised in a Catholic household to bring up the subject of sin.
GAMBIT: Oh? What kinda' sin did the Southern Baptist girl have in mind?
ROGUE: It ain't no sin if y'all truly love each other.
GAMBIT: But it won't mean I love you. It won't mean I'm promisin' you anything.
[Gambits words here may seem strange, an odd thing to say to the woman he has long pledged his eternal love to, but this statement of his hearkens back to what Mystique told him earlier when, disguised as new student "Foxx", she tried unsuccessfully to seduce him. Gambit has apparently manifest accidentally allowed himself to speak these words that had stuck in his mind.]
ROUGE: Wuh? What're you talkin' about?!
[Angered, Rogue starts choking Gambit, all within the mindscape of course. But we next shift focus back to the office of Emma Frost, as she ends their telepathic meeting. Gambit holds his neck, feeling real pain, although Rogue never actually touched him in the physical plane.]
EMMA FROST/WHITE QUEEN: Snap out of it, Remy. Come on.
ROGUE: Leave him screaming for all I care.
EMMA FROST: That's enough, Remy. [Emma slaps Gambit to shake him out of his dreamstate, and bring him fully to consciousness. The force with which she hits him makes it seem as if she may be angry with him as well.] I think we should call it a day. In fact, I'm not really sure you two are ready for this degree of telepathic platforming.
ROGUE: I'm ready. It's the snake in the grass who's got a problem. Though I'm sure he wouldn't have a problem with that foxxy new student.
GAMBIT: [speaking under his breath, but loud enough so that all present can hear] Wouldn't have to go through this telepathy thing with the foxxy new student.
[hurt even more now, Rogue starts walking away]
EMMA FROST: Tres bien, mon brave. Make her feel even more insecure than she already is.
GAMBIT: [Instantly remorseful about his insensitive remark, he calls out to Rogue, who doesn't stop walking away.] I didn't mean dat, cheri!
ROGUE: Go cheri yourself.
From: "What are the religious beliefs of the main mutants in the X-Books?" forum discussion started 16 January 2007 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-160293.html; viewed 16 May 2007):
01-16-2007, 03:51 PM
What do you think the religious beliefs of the following mutants are?
01-17-2007, 06:25 AM
...Gambit is Catholic.
I believe that was established or referenced in one of his short lived solo series, again I will have to look it up.
From: "Catholic Clix - Comic info needed!" forum discussion started 3 May 2003 on HCRealms website (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-40338.html; viewed 24 May 2007):
Ok, so in recent films it's been apparent that Daredevil and Nightcrawler are Catholic...
So, who else out there could be fielded in a "Catholic" Heroclix team?
I'm pretty sure Gambit's Catholic.
...without a doubt, Gambit would be agnostic if anything, due to his constant self-reliance and willingness to compromise his morals (Sinister, anyone?). If he wasn't, then he'd also be a hypocrite. Wolverine is an Atheist with occasional doubts. And Thor isn't so much Catholic, as much as he knows there are greater powers than he and his kind...
Me, I'm agnostic, but more power to you if you have faith in anything at all. As long as you don't try to ram it down my throat, that is.
In Gambit's second limited series, at the beginning he was sort of pissed of at God, but by the end, he had regained his faith. He was raised Catholic IIRC [if I recall correctly].
Of course Gambit is Catholic; he's "creole New Orleans blood". :p
...IIRC [If I recall correctly], here's the Catholic Clix you can play:
Possible Catholics (or lasped Catholics):
Catwoman (her sister was a nun)
From: "The Nightcrawler as a Roman Catholic Superhero FAQ" message board started 18 December 2005 on "Nightscrawlers" website (http://www.nightscrawlers.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=5447; viewed 3 June 2006):
posted on 22/12/05 at 10:03
DareDevil is a Roman Catholic Super-Hero too, isn't he?
posted on 22/12/05 at 16:54
Yeah, he is. And so is Gambit actually. And there are others.
But since this site is about Nightcrawler, I wanted to focus on him in this FAQ.
From: "The religions of comic book characters" thread started 10 February 2001 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe/browse_thread/thread/13590fda80c5d6e1/e5e0b094ced80f0b; viewed 12 June 2006):
From: Terry McCombs
Date: Sat, Feb 10 2001 6:35 pm
For the most part you don't get much of an idea as to the private lives of most comic book characters. Marvelish soap opera not withstanding.
What I mean is you don't get much of an idea what their politics or religion might be. This is sensible enough I guess as they don't want to offend any of their customers... for the most part you just can't really say just what, if any religion or personal philosophy that or that comic character might follow.
What do you think?
Date: Sun, Feb 11 2001 6:05 am
...As far as Marvel is concerned, there are a few characters where you do: ...Religious issues did show up quite a bit in the X-Men, with Catholics Nightcrawler and Gambit...
From: "Religion and X-Men" thread started 21 July 1998 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/b61ff5d2e422d0a5/1ebe80a26a7df2e5; viewed 13 June 2006):
From: "X-Men and Religion" forum discussion page, started 21 August 2005, on ComixFan.com website (http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/archive/index.php/t-35318.html):
From: Alan D. Earhart
Date: Tues, Jul 21 1998 12:00 am
Some of the recent discussion got me thinking about this once again.
When has religion been used as a plot device in an xbook? [i.e., a comic book series related to the X-Men]
Date: Wed, Jul 22 1998 12:00 am
The recent Gambit LS [limited series] by superstar-writer Howard Mackie. The villain in the book is basically the devil. The plot revolves around a fallen angel, and the theme identifies heavily with redemption.
It was a good read.
From: "X-Men religious affiliations" thread started 1 June 2002 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/78e6830d00083d2f/102a03cd2dab9fda; viewed 13 June 2006):
Aug 22, 2005, 08:59 am
Gambit was raised Catholic and many times professed belief in a higher power but he's not very strict in his practicing either.
From: Chris Dodson
Date: Sat, Jun 1 2002 9:38 pm
I'm looking for information on the religious beliefs of all the current X-Men for a story I'm submitting to Marvel. The only one I know for sure is Nightcrawler (Catholic). I get the impression that Wolverine is an atheist or agnostic, but I have no in-comic evidence to support this. Any help you guys could give me would be greatly appreciated. Also, in your responses, could you provide titles and issue numbers of the comics in which the information is stated? Thanks.
From: Brian Caffrey
Date: Sun, Jun 2 2002 4:21 am
Gambit is a lapsed Catholic, if his second mini-series was any indication.
Date: Fri, Jun 7 2002 5:47 am
...Remy being raised Catholic makes sense, given his background...
From: comments to "Comic Book Heroes Faith-by-Faith" post on "Give Me a Pony" blog website, 21 June 2006 (http://givemeapony.blogspot.com/2006/06/comic-book-heroes-faith-by-faith.html; viewed 25 April 2007):
It's an interesting undertaking, but when you really start digging into the complete list (at http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html) and are a supercollossal dork with an entire room devoted to comics, you see lots of flaws... and a few are flat-out wrong or bizarre:
...Also, they've invented a few weird new sects for the list, such as "Cajun Catholic", and list things like "GLBT", "animal rights" "mildly feminist" (!), and my favorite, "Hates Spider-Man", as religious affiliations...
From: "Who's Catholic in the Marvel Universe" forum discussion started 5 February 2005 on "HCRealms" website (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=123637; viewed 10 May 2007):
I know a lot of characters are Jewish, so I was wondering who is officially Catholic?
I know Daredevil is. It's a major part of his personality and often occurs in storylines.
I also believe Firebird from the West Coast Avengers... After that, I'm pretty much stumped.
Anyone have any others?
...Gambit is Catholic as well.
01-17-2007, 07:47 AM
Yeah, Wolverine's atheist. Nightcrawler and Shadowcat are obvious. Storm (and probably Magik) are complicated. Rogue is Christian, but I don't think we know whether that's Protestant or Catholic or something else. I don't think Longshot understands the concept of religion, so I guess that might make him an atheist. Wolfsbane is Presbyterian, Cannonball is Christian as of New Mutants (1st Series) #15. I suppose Magma believes in the Roman (Greek) gods? Forge? I think Gambit is atheist. Thunderbird III is Hindu. There are Shi'ar gods... Shaara, Kythri), Lilandra worships them.
01-17-2007, 09:10 AM
re: I think Gambit is atheist.
I am pretty sure he is Catholic.
From: "Top Ten Most Stereotypical Mutant Characters Ever!!" forum discussion started 29 August 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-141418.html; viewed 25 May 2007):
08-29-2006, 05:12 PM
Oh, Gambit. Our favorite "Swamp Rat." Since he's from New Orleans, centuries-old nest of crime and gambling, of course he's a gambling, womanizing thief. With a perpetual five-o-clock and neverending supply of cigarettes, Gambit puts the suave in... uh... suave.
If Emma Frost is the cold, unfeeling representation of all that is "wrong" with empowered women, Gambit is the stereotype of every man's wish fulfillment: you can be sleazy, poor, hot, and still be resepected for your "heart of gold" (rather than for your breasts of diamond).
And what Cajun character would be without a little mix of voodoo? Gambit, naturally, has ties to an ancient tribunal of thieving New Orleanean guilds dating back to time immemorial. The shock. The suspense. The raw creativity of it all.
From: "Superman is a Methodist..." forum discussion, started 6 Marach 2006 on "Catholic Answers" website (http://18.104.22.168/showthread.php?t=102037; viewed 31 May 2007):
Mar 6, '06, 11:46 am
Superman is a Methodist, and the best we [Catholics] can do is Nightcrawler?
Who is Nightcrawler?
Sorry -- just tickled me the right way.
Mar 6, '06, 12:04 pm
Nightcrawler is so much better than Superman. He can teleport short distances, which is better than being the "man of steel," and he's with the X-men.
Here's a picture:
Depending on which canon you read, many of the X-men are Catholic. Gambit (very Cajun Catholic), Wolverine (devout, lapsed, devout again), Rogue (sometimes listed as Southern Baptist, but is lapsed/returned Catholic in the comics, and the original cartoon), and of course Nightcrawler (is a monk in the comics and the cartoon, very devout Catholic in the movie.)
And of of course, there is always Daredevil, who is devout in his Faith.
Catholics are well represented in the world comics, don't worry.
Yours in Christ,
From: "MSNBC talks religion of superheroes" forum discussion started 15 June 2006 on BKV.TV website (http://www.bkv.tv/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=117679&sid=4ea823f1318d399750740ae4287a02f5; viewed 6 June 2007):
Brian K. Vaughan
Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:22 pm
MSNBC talks religion of superheroes
Also references this page: http://www.beliefnet.com/features/comicbookfaith.html
Robert JC Gill
Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 3:34 pm
...Interesting that they mention Gambit's Catholicism; I think one of the GAMBIT miniseries from the '90s mentions a New Orleans Catholic church, sacred to Remy LeBeau and the Thieves Guild, who honor a "patron saint of thieves(!)" How they rationalize that--despite religious prohibitions against theft--I'll never know.
Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:23 pm
Dude, the Church has a patron saint for everything.
Best twist? The patron saint of thieves is also Santa Claus.
As for how Gambit & co. reconcile themselves to the sinfulness of their thieving, all they have to do is convince themselves that what they're doing isn't really wrong, whether by calling it a crime of necessity or casting themselves as Robin Hood figures ("We steal from the rich and give to the poor ... which just happen to be us") or however they like. Nine tenths of religion is rationalization.
From: "Does Batman Go to Church?" forum discussion, started 21 March 2006 on AppleGeeks.com website (http://www.applegeeks.com/sm/index.php?action=printpage;topic=6662.0):
Title: Does Batman Go to Church?
Post by: gabrielzero on March 21, 2006, 01:11:16 PM
Well find out here:
and other inqueries on which superhero worships which religion. Its a pretty extensive sight with theories and findings...
Post by: leblo64 on March 21, 2006, 04:52:35 PM
Gambit? A Catholic?
Post by: Darkshine on March 21, 2006, 06:32:32 PM
Yeah, he's Cajun. Lots of Cajuns are Catholics, are they not? Like French?
Post by: leblo64 on March 24, 2006, 03:30:07 PM
Yeah, but I don't see Gambit as very religious . . . y'know . . . flaming cards getting thrown at people.
Post by: Darkshine on March 24, 2006, 03:33:32 PM
Well I doubt it also, but it's the way he was raised I guess. Like family tradition type thing.
Post by: Reason on September 29, 2006, 12:19:31 PM
Just because you're violent doesn't mean you aren't religious. The sniper in Saving Private Ryan whispered scripture as he shot people.
From: "Comic book character religions" forum discussion, started 29 November 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-94945.html; viewed 27 July 2007):
11-29-2005, 01:46 PM
I found this site via The Beat. It lists comic book characters and their religions.
11-29-2005, 03:16 PM
There are more on that list I would question: Gambit a Catholic? And Dr. Druid worshipped the Celtic gods in the Druid miniseries...
11-29-2005, 04:55 PM
...And I suspect they pegged Gambit as Catholic simply because he's from Louisiana. Which is pretty stupid, even before you bring in the part about him being essentially raised in a cult.
Webpage created 7 December 2005. Last modified 27 July 2007.
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