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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Cain Marko
Juggernaut
long-time enemy of the X-Men, recent hero


Cain Marko is better known as Juggernaut, who was for a long time one of the principle enemies of the X-Men. The Juggernaut has in recent years turned from his criminal ways and has acted increasingly as a hero. He has even become a member of the X-Men.

Juggernaut has been portrayed going to Christian churches and praying in church. It has not been clear to which denomination the Juggernaut belongs.

Clearly the Juggernaut can be considered a repentant Christian. He has been portrayed as a man who has sincerely turned away from his criminal past. The Juggernaut's change is not was not a sudden or gimmicky twist, but represents the still-ongoing slow evolution of the character over many years and many stories.

Clearly the Juggernaut can be considered a "convert" in the sense that he has changed significantly, but it is not clear that he is a "religious convert" in the most common sense of the word, that is, a person who has switched affiliation from one religion to another. But Cain Marko's background is at least nominally Christian, possibly Episcopalian. The character's recent church activity may be within the denomination of his childhood, in which case, he is not a convert in this technical sense, but is a person who has experienced a re-committment to his faith, or perhaps serious committment to his faith for the first time.

Given his actions and crimes, one might assume that the Juggernaut was non-religious or agnostic or an atheist for many years while he was a criminal. But there is evidence that this was not the case. In X-Force #31, the Juggernaut was shown praying in a Christian church (of indeterminate denomination) and lighting candles for his ill friend Black Tom Cassidy. The Juggernaut's prayer's for his friend indicate he exhibited at least some level of religious knowledge and practice even when he was a "super-villain." Given the presence of candles, the church that the Juggernaut prayed in X-Force #31 may have been a Catholic church, but that does not necessarily mean that Marko is a Catholic. He could have gone there because the location was convenient, or out of respect for the Catholic religious affiliation of Black Tom Cassidy.

The Juggernaut's super-powers are derived from a magical gem known as the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, so presumably Marko has not been a strict materialist since the time he obtained his powers.

The relationship between Cain Marko and Cyttorak, the powerful magical being or demon or minor deity which empowered the gem and through it Marko himself is not the standard relationship between a religious worshipper and a god he believes in. Marko was transformed slowly and inexorably into the Juggernaut after he touched the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, and these powers have usually had no more religious significance to him than powers derived by other beings from purely scientific means or through mutant genes. The gem transformed Marko without his having any knowledge at all about Cyttorak, and Marko certainly had no allegiance to the being. In this way, the Juggernaut's magically-derived powers are quite different from those of other magical comic book characters who have studied magic extensively or at least willingly performed spells.

Juggernaut has been shown in the comics praying in church after the death of his young friend Sammy.

From: "Juggernaut (comics)" article on Wikipedia website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juggernaut_(comics); viewed 6 January 2006):

Juggernaut (real name: Cain Marko) is a fictional character in Marvel Comics' universe, a former supervillain and current reluctant superhero. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in X-Men (volume 1) #12 (July 1965).

Cain Marko is the step-brother of Charles Xavier, founder of the X-Men. His father, Kurt Marko, married Charles' mother, Sharon, after her husband Brian Xavier died. Kurt neglected Cain and drove Sharon to alcoholism. Anti-social and malicious in general, Cain held a special contempt for his step-brother Charles Xavier who due to a hidden mutant power of telepathy excelled at all endeavors and cast Cain completely in shadow. One day Cain was further humiliated as Xavier accidentally probed his mind and learned of Cain's insecurities toward him. The revelation to Cain that Xavier's success that loomed over him was actually gained through a secret superhuman advantage. Cain's resentment toward Xavier intensified considerably.

Cain was sent to a military boarding school, due to his lack of discipline, and later served in the army. While serving together in the Korean War, Cain and Charles stumbled onto the ancient temple of Cyttorak, lost for centuries. On an altar, Cain saw a huge red jewel, the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, and immediately grabbed it. Upon the gem was an inscription, and he spoke it aloud: "Whosoever touches this gem shall be granted the power of the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak! Henceforth, you who read these words, shall become ... forevermore ... a human juggernaut!"

The cavern collapsed. Charles was able to escape, but it took Cain years to dig himself out as he underwent the transformation into the Juggernaut. Cain seethed with rage at his step-brother and, after finally emerging from the mountains he was buried under, he set out to hurt Charles as much as possible.

...[after many years a super-villain, during which time he fought many Marvel super-heroes in addition to the X-Men] the Juggernaut was kidnapped by the Exemplars, who, like Cain, are living manifestations of various mystical entities. The Juggernaut was saved by the Avengers, who defeated the Exemplars.

Redemption
As punishment for "betraying" Cyttorak, his patron deity, Cyttorak withdrew most of his power from Cain, and as a result, Juggernaut has been growing steadily weaker ever since. Cain has since reconciled with Xavier and joined the X-Men. He befriended a young boy named Sammy, who had a positive influence on him, and had a one-night stand with She-Hulk, who as Jennifer Walters was representing him in his trial for all the crimes he had committed as a criminal. Amazingly, Cain was exonerated of all his crimes and allowed to go free despite having numerous outstanding felonies both at home and abroad.

Later Black Tom Cassidy resurfaced and Juggernaut joined his new Brotherhood of Mutants, with the intention of betraying the group and warning the X-Men when he had the chance. Sammy stumbled upon the Brotherhood having a meeting, and thinking that Juggernaut had betrayed the X-Men he became angry and started yelling. Annoyed, Black Tom killed the boy. Furious with rage, Juggernaut tried to kill his former friend. When the Brotherhood were sucked into a black hole by the second Xorn, Juggernaut accompanied them to make sure Nocturne (another mole) would be safe if everyone survived and to make sure the Brotherhood didn't try to attack the mansion again.

[The Juggernaut later returned to our world, but was transformed by the villainess Spiral into a child.] ...Juggernaut still felt extremely guilty about Sammy's death, and how the boy's last words were that he hated him. He wondered if he should remain a child, this being his chance to start over with a clean slate, but Storm comforted him and convinced him not to. The X-Men were re-aged, and Juggernaut remained with the team.

Discussion

From: "The Corner" (letter column), published in National Review Online, 29 July 2002 (http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/2002_07_28_corner-archive.asp#85293899; viewed 12 May 2006):
ARRRRGGHH!!!!
[Jonah Goldberg]
Posted 2:08 PM

Email box ...filling with...comic geeknesssss...losing...consciousness. A few quick points... let's just stipulate that all superheroes with "occult" or cultish powers -- Dr. Strange, the Iron Fist... and even the Juggernaut (like Elmer Fudd, he has a Magic Helmet) etc. are not pure secular humanists...

From: "Religious Characters In Marvel" forum discussion started 15 September 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-143850.html; viewed 25 May 2007):

Nogs
09-15-2006, 09:01 PM

The other day I was thinking about religion and comic books... What I'm interested in is the way religious characters are portrayed in comic books...

I think the first step is listing what characters are what religion...


[Editor: The person posting the following message seems to think that an unusually large number of characters are Jewish:]

Deadpooligan
09-15-2006, 09:44 PM

Mags is actually a born Jewish who was raised by gypsies in his youth.

His kids, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are gypsy.

Dr. Doom is of course, gypsy.

Moon Knight is a former Jew who now practices worship in the Egyptian deity Khonshu.

Thing is Marvel's #1 Jew obviously (he had his bar mitzvah not too long ago).

Wolverine was probably raised Catholic or maybe somewhat like a Puritan. I got the gist of it in Origin.

Spider-Man should be Jewish if anything... Also, he did get married in a church, which kinda goes against this, though it may have just been Mary Jane's faith.

Iceman's Jewish.

I also consider Juggernaut as Jewish since saying "the Jewggernaut" is really funny. Also, thinking of such a big guy being mortally afraid of his mother is even funnier.

Cable is Askani. At least I think it's a faith...

From: "Sacreligious amd anti-Christian Comic characters" forum discussion, started 28 February 2007 on official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000107545&start=0&tstart=15; viewed 19 July 2007):

mavericker
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 12:49 PM

Lets see:
Zauriel
The Spectre
Nightcrawler
Storm
Raven
Supergirl
Venom
Lobo
Zatanna
Scarlet Witch
Juggernaut
Dr. Strange
Dr. Fate
Any character that uses magic, sorcery


alexziq
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 12:58 PM

Is this crap serious? This all depends on what faith you practice. It's conservative braindead and downright dangerous thinking like this that makes more and more people turn on the church...

Good Lord, (sigh)


mrterrific
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 1:19 PM

Sure, I can possibly see why Zauriel, the Spectre, Raven, the magic users and even Storm (since she is sometimes refered to as a godess) could be called sacrilegious. Maybe even Lobo, partly because of his violent nature and partly becuse of his "re-birth" in "52".... But seriously... Venom? Juggernaut? What is even remotely sacrilegious about those characters?


mavericker
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 3:26 PM

Venom was in Church praying when the symbiote attacked him.

Juggernuat's strength and powers derive from witchcraft...


[http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000107545&start=15&tstart=15]

greatone2k6
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 4:21 PM

Wow is this off.

Juggernaut's power come form a rock from outer space. It has nothing to do with witchcraft. If that's true, all the Lanterns and aliens are sacrilegious, too...


[http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000107545&start=30&tstart=15]

oldfangirl
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 11:20 PM

Comments on Mavericker's list:

...Juggernaut - He got his powers from the Crimson Jewel of Cyttorak, if i remember correctly... Since he later found out he was abused by his parent and may have had brain damage from that, his choice to be posessed was more a blunder than a delibarate choice for evil...

"Any character that uses magic, sorcery."

WHY?

The actual dictionary definition of sacreligious follows:
From the Oxford dictionary:
Adjective form of Sacrilege
Noun. Robbery or profanation of sacred building.
Outrage on consecrated person or thing.
Violation of what is sacred.

These are fictional characters!!!
Which of them have robbed or profaned a sacred building, committed an act of outrage on a consecrated person (well LOBO Probably) or violated what is sacred?

EVIDENCE PLEASE???

And if you think these characters are sacreligious, why don't you just avoid the books that use them?

Is Elfquest sacreligious because the elves have no organized religion?


mrterrific
Posted: Mar 1, 2007 11:05 AM

re: "Juggernuat's strength and powers derive from witchcraft."

I don't think so. It's a crystal, I believe it is a meteor stone. Anyway, even if it is magically charged, the man is a villain. Is the mere idea of magic offensive to you?


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