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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Jean-Paul Beaubier
Northstar
of Alpha Flight and the X-Men

Jean-Paul Beaubier is better known as the superhero "Northstar," the twin brother of fellow mutant superhero "Aurora." Aurora and Northstar, who have the mutant ability of super-speed and flight, were founding members of the Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight.

Northstar is a native of Quebec and is at least nominally Catholic.

Northstar is know for being the most famous GLBT superhero. Clearly Northstar's embracing of a GLBT lifestyle is in conflict with Catholic teachings and practices. Since "coming out", Northstar has very clearly identified himself as gay, but it is not clear whether he continues to identify himself as a Catholic in any way. Although Northstar's twin sister Aurora was raised in a convent as a devout Catholic, the pair was separated at birth. Based on Northstar's generally non-religious personality and how he has been portrayed over the years, it seems likely that Northstar grew up in a family that was not active in Catholicism.

Discussion

From: http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/archive/index.php/t-35318.html:

Aug 21, 2005, 07:37 pm:
Regarding Northstar I don't think he's atheist because in one of the Hope issues of Austen's run (the one that introduced [Northstar] as a member [of the X-Men]), he states that he is the way God made him. I've met a lot of homosexual people who believe in God and attend church so he doesn't neccessarily have to be an atheist.

From: Jan Edmiston (a self-identified Presbyterian), "Where Would Mutator Worship?", postd 14 June 2006 on "A Church for Starving Artists" blog website, part of the "Presbyterian Bloggers" webring (http://churchforstarvingartists.blogspot.com/2006/06/where-would-mutator-worship.html; viewed 14 June 2006):

...Newsweek reported this week that Superman is Methodist... You, too, can find the affiliation of your favorite Super Hero at [link to Adherents.com website]...

At first, I was wishing we could claim Wonder Woman (pagan) or even Jimmy Olsen (Lutheran). But seeing each other as Mutants and Mutators [referring to two actual Presbyterian comic book characters] is actually not too far off the mark as I think about members I've known and loved.

Next week, we find out whether or not the Super Hero Northstar could ever be an officer in our denomination should he decide to leave the Roman Catholic church. Northstar recently outed himself becoming the best known gay mutant Super Hero. His powers: super-fast reflexes and the power of flight.

[In mentioning GLBT super-hero Northstar in this paragraph, this writer is referring to pending legislation within the Presbyterian Church-USA (PC-USA) which would allow congregations leeway in ordaining non-celibate "self-affirming, practicing homosexuals" as Presbyterian clergy and leaders. This writer was noting the "Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters" listing for Northstar, which listed him as "Catholic; GLBT." The writer appears to be relatively unfamiliar with Northstar, and the fact that he, for all intents and purposes, "left" the Catholic Church long ago as part of his embracing a GLBT lifestyle without any continuing participation in Catholicism.]

From: "Up, up, and oy, vey!", posted 5 February 2006 on MetaFilter.com website (http://www.metafilter.com/39326/Up-up-and-oy-vey; viewed 19 June 2007):

...Apparently, at some point in the nineties, the writer (John Byrne? Or had someone else taken over at that point?) of Marvel's Alpha Flight wanted to "reveal" that the character North Star was gay. He dropped hints, layed the groundwork, built up to it... and then Marvel chickened out. They refused to let the storyline go ahead. Well, the readers had been primed for some sort of revelation, so... the writer let it be known that Northstar was a faerie. A literal faerie. Like from Tolkien or Spenser.

posted by Clay201 at 9:04 PM on February 6


Huh? Marvel didn't chicken out. Northstar came out in Alpha Flight #106, in May 1992. For goodness sakes, the character says "I am gay", and then the next day announces it at a PRESS CONFERENCE. It wasn't exactly in code.

posted by kyrademon at 9:12 PM on February 6


kyrademon: Sorry. I got all this information second hand, either on usenet or through the discussion forums at the Comics Journal website. I stopped reading Alpha Flight around issue number 30.

Now I'm curious where the whole "faerie" story originated. Thanks for the correction.

posted by Clay201 at 4:59 AM on February 7

From: "Superheroes and Religion" forum discussion, started 17 May 2006 on HERO Games website (http://www.herogames.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-42820.html; viewed 12 July 2007):

John Desmarais
Mar 17th, '06, 10:51 AM

Ever wonder what religion you favorite hero is? Check this out.

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


Lucius
Mar 19th, '06, 05:02 PM

"GLBT" is a religion?

"Well, maybe for some people" observes the palindromedary. "Kind of like Hates Spider Man can be a religion for someone we know."


AmadanNaBriona
Mar 19th, '06, 05:06 PM

I was wondering about that myself.

Is there a religion that also uses that particular abbreviation, or does the author of the site think that by default anyone with an alternative sexual identity CAN'T actually belong to any other religion, I wonder?


McCoy
Mar 19th, '06, 05:14 PM

[Quoting the "Religious Affiliation of Obsidian" page on the Adherents.com website:

We are unaware of any stories that have attempted to reconcile Obsidian's previously portrayed Catholic devotion with his recent identification of himself as gay.

Or words to that effect for almost all characters identified as GLBT.

This is such a steaming pile!


Lucius
Mar 19th, '06, 05:33 PM

Actually, I don't think it lists anyone as JUST "GLBT" but always as an addition to some other faith. Um, if "GLBT" is a faith. So I don't think his reasoning is "by default anyone with an alternative sexual identity CAN'T actully belong to any other religion..."


Teflon Billy
Mar 19th, '06, 05:37 PM

Well, if you are GLBT you are not living up to the tenents of the Catholic Church (for example), you are actively living an daily lifestyle (not momentarily lapsing into sinful acts) that is a violation of the doctrines of the Faith.

I chalk it up to giving elaboration to the designation "Catholic (lapsed)" that he uses for some of the characters.

If I started espousing Monophysite, Nestorian, or Gnostic beliefes though I was raised Catholic and these facts were mentioned in comics, then listing me as "Catholic (Nestorian adherent)" that would be similar.


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