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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Katherine "Kathy" Kane

Since the introduction of her character, Katherine Kane, the superheroine known as "Batwoman," has been portrayed as Jewish.

Kathy Kane has also been portrayed as a "lipstick lesbian." Although Batwoman's sexual preference was given considerable press coverage when her character was introduced, there is no indication that this aspect of her character has unusually large significance for her. Regardless of how the comic book community may (leeringly) view her, she may be best thought of as a superheroine who happens to have a LGBT lifestyle, rather than a "LGBT Superheroine." Batwoman is not an activist for LGBT issues nor is she actively involved in organized LGBT community life.

Based on the decor in Batwoman's home and her observance of Jewish holidays, Judaism does hold at least some genuine significance for her. She has never been portrayed contemplating any conflict between Judaism and her LGBT lifestyle, suggesting that she is probably not an Orthodox Jew, but subscribes instead to one of the more "liberal" interpretations of Judaism, such as Reform Judaism or Reconstructionist Judaism. Conservative Judaism's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards previously held the same position as Orthodoxy, but revised its position in December 2006 to a position closer to that which his held by Reform Judaism. Nevertheless, based on what he have seen thus far in Batwoman's attitudes toward Judaism and LGBT lifestyles, it is almost certain that if she is formally affiliated with a synagogue, it belongs to Reform Judaism. Incidentally, Reform Judaism is the same Jewish denomination that fellow LGBT superhero Wiccan (of the Young Avengers) belongs to.


From: "NY Times outs Batwoman. DUH SPOILERS!!!!!" forum discussion, started 27 May 2006 on "Comic Bloc" website (http://www.comicbloc.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-27770.html; viewed 23 July 2007):

May 28th, 2006, 09:11 AM

I feel like DC is tying to be an advocate. How many gay characters in the DC universe? Montoya, Maggie Sawyer, Piper from Flash, Terry -G.L. Kyle's gopher. Is DC just wanting quick media attention? If this were truly about diversity where is the devote Christian hero? What about a Pro-Life Republican? A priest that takes a vow of poverty to fight poverty?

For years people have praised or criticize liberal Hollywood. Are we now looking at a Liberal DC comics?

Chris Hansbrough
May 28th, 2006, 10:20 AM

Christian hero? I'm sorry but aren't a good majority of heroes Christian?

May 28th, 2006, 10:32 AM

They're out there. But, once again, as with your examples, they tend to be supporting characters. The Spectre is probably the best example of an overtly relgious hero that DC has ever had. Jim Corrigan's talks with Father Cramer and his worldview are clearly deeply (and sometimes disturbingly) religious.

But there are many other examples. Atom-Smasher comes to mind.

June 1st, 2006, 01:38 AM

B_N_L, If this Batwoman [Kathy Kane] were never to date a woman, never to Kiss a woman, never express attraction for another woman, and were seen to go into a Chippendales with the BOP, would you still feel she was representing Homosexuals?

If in other words she were to claim that she were gay, yet not live or act in a way which was consistent with that statement, would you really consider her gay?

I am not saying I agree with Iceman's statement, as my understanding is that in the DCU some flavor of Christianity is the assumed norm, however If they are never seen acting in accordance with a Christian lifestlye then how do they truly represent Christians?

If the Huntress never actually attends church, then who is to say that the large cross she wears is no more than an indication she is a fan of early Madonna?

I don't really understand Christians... But I do know know that those who self-identify as Christians, for the most part, share certain behaviors, chief among them regular worship. Those who claim to be Christians, but dont actually act in that manner, are always people I associate with a lack of real religious faith. That isn't to say all those who don't go to church don't have faith, but that many seem to identify themselves as Christians only reflexivly. They asssume they are because they were raised that way but give religon no more thought and effort than they do Byzantine Numismatics. Most DC characters seem to fall into this category at best.

Given that minority charcters are becomming somewhat more common, though by no means a large trend in the overall sense, I can understand why some Christians may feel that they are being proportionately more under-represented than homosexuals...

June 1st, 2006, 08:54 PM

re: "But I do know know that those who self identify as Christians, for the most part, share certain behaviors, chief among them regular worship."

Just to point this out:

Dr. Mid-Nite was shown to attend Worship in JSA.

This is why I'd never call foul on DC.

They have done a fair job of representing all diversities in their comics.

DC having Mid-Nite (a Christian) and Terrific (an Atheist) interact in a fair and balanced way and their (DC's) fearlessness (see Obsidian and now Batwoman) to show all the beauty of individuality in the world.

I think DC is also doing well at letting these diversities be PART of the character and not the totality of the character (like in real life) and not being afraid to show all sides of a character.

Just my impressions, though.

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Webpage created 23 July 2007. Last modified 23 July 2007.
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