Wednesday, December 5, 2012

And Then I Decided to Have This Conversation

Mostly in my head, but whatever.


In The Avengers, there is a scene where Thor has just flown in and Loki-napped his brother out of the Quinjet. Iron Man has already flown off to try and get Loki back and Captain America is about to jump out of the plane (with a parachute) to get in on the fight as well. Black Widow tells him to stay about of it:

Black Widow: "You better sit this one out, Cap. They're from Norse legends! They're basically gods!"

Captain America: "There's only one God, ma'am. And I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that!" *and then he jumps*

So. a) There is nothing wrong with the way Loki and Thor dress. Let he who is not wearing a spangly outfit cast the first stone Steve. Yeah.

b) I know a lot of people (okay, fannish people so you non-fannish have no idea what I'm talking about) were surprised at this line because of Joss Whedon's public atheism. Well as the man himself said in the commentary (and trust me, Joss Whedon should make commentaries on every movie, ever. Even the ones he had nothing to do with.) *he's* an atheist but Cap isn't.

c) People take this as hey, proof that Captain America's a Christian!

What I'm addressing is point 'c'. Here's how this all happened: I commented to Heather, once upon a time, that I was considering writing a fanfic (for the uninitiated amongst you a fanfic is a story that is written by a fan of a certain movie/book/tv show/etc. about the characters and/or events/universe. No money is made and it's purely for the love of the characters. Please, for your sanity, do not go Googling fanfic. There''s a whole world that the non fen will not understand. I will not be responsible for any brains broken if you disregard my warning.) based on this quote and the idea that Captain America a/k/a Steve Rogers, rather than being a Christian was a Muslim. The fic has never materialised because um...I have been busy writing other things.

Then, Heather comments on a FB post with this meme:

And makes reference to the whole Steve Rogers as a Muslim idea. Of course it's been poohpoohed in a couple of the comments that he can't have been a Muslim. Once, which I totally don't understand, was that he can't have been Muslim because he was frozen in ice for a long time.

Um. Okay? Sure.

I maintain that it is entirely possible for MCU Steve Rogers to be a Muslim and I shall tell you why.

1. Arguments that comics-verse Steve Rogers in a Christian are not valid in my opinion because MCU is *not* 616 or Ultimates or any other comics canon that we've been presented. It is it's own universe with it's own history and canon. We already know that MCU's events are not the same as comics.

2. All we know from Cap's statement is that he is a monotheist. 'One God'. Period. Until such time as he is shown going to a church or a synagogue or a mosque and worshipping there, or he details his beliefs in some other way that's all the clue we have. He's a monotheist.

3. Steve Rogers grew up in Brooklyn in the 1920's and 30's. He was old enough to join the Army when America joined WWII but was rejected due to having every ailment and disease known to man. This would be in 1941.

4. The first mosque built in New York is believed to have been one belonging to the American Mohammedan Society. It was built on Powers Street in Brooklyn in 1907.

5. The Islamic Mission of America built their own mosque, in Brooklyn, in 1939. They purchased a brownstone in 1947 that remains the Masjid Daoud today. In Brooklyn.

6. But Amber, I can hear you saying, the Muslims in these mosques were all African American or Middle Eastern immigrants or...*waves hands* whatever. They weren't *white*. White people didn't start start converting to Islam until fairly recently. Unto you I say, well, bah. The first 'prominent' Anglo-American convert to Islam is (by many historians - they're not doubting his conversion, just whether he was the 'first' prominent individual or not) Alexander Russell Webb. Who converted in 1888. Now he encountered it in the Philippines where he was the American ambassador but my point remains: just because they weren't the majority of the population doesn't mean that there weren't white converts to Islam long before the rest of the country or the world decided to take notice of them.

7. Amber, Amber, what is your point again?

My point, if you want to call it that, is this: There is *nothing* that prevents me from imagining that Captain America is a Muslim. Nothing. It's even plausible from a historical standpoint. 

I've seen this portrait of what a 'good' Muslim looks like, as far as characteristics go - I believe it comes from Mohammed's final sermon, but I could be wrong about this. You know what it says?

They are known for doing only lawful and righteous deeds. They have good morals and treat other people with respect. They are pure of heart - they neither hate other people nor are hypocrites. They are charitable, whether that's monetarily or in time given or whatever each individual can do. They are offensive to no one, they do no harm to others and they respect other peoples' rights.

You know one person (fictional) that all reminds me of?

Captain America. That's who.


  1. I'd vote for Jewish before Muslim. More of them in NYC so statistically speaking - Jewish.

    1. *laughs* Very true. I'm not saying that he *is* a Muslim, just that he could be. He could also, as you say, be Jewish. But that wasn't my fic plan so it wasn't my argument. :)

  2. This is cute. Being monotheistic certainly fits the character. But if he is from Brooklyn, and given the time period, he probably is Jewish. I have been to the Islamic area of Brooklyn you speak of and its still mostly African American. Maybe they were different back then but this community is not very welcoming and speak little english. He is more likely from the Brighton Beach Jewish area. Still, probably not Christian LOL.

    1. His creators were Jewish. :)

      Comics-canon wise he is definitively Christian, and the most likely scenario for MCU is that he is also going to be portrayed as a Christian if that ever comes up. I have no idea what the community was like back then, or now, or ever. I've never been to any part of New York! Still, it's technically *possible* and I think it would be an interesting story. And that's all I'm saying.

      Monotheist does not automatically equal Christian, as we know and as other people should realize.

  3. I'm okay with taking the blame for this one, Amber. LOL! :P

    1. I told you, I'm putting a disclaimer on the blog. 'All Heather's fault.' :D

  4. I like it! I'll admit I just assumed he was Christian because, you know, AMERICA! Having never actually read a Captain America comic, I just sort of associated him with the stereotypical idea of a baseball-playing, apple-pie-eating, Christian-church-going, all-American boy. And I found that annoying, so I more or less dismissed the character. But this is very interesting and totally fits, and now I'm going to just assume you're right when I watch the movie again. Which I will probably do today now that you reminded me of it. :D

    Item b makes me laugh because Joss includes gods in his work all the time. Why would people find it weirder for him to write a Christian character than a pagan character? Willow doesn't just believe in gods, she's met them...or at least, met one that I remember off the top of my head. But I don't think anyone reads that and assumes it means Joss also believes in Willow's snake goddess. Fiction! It's a wonderful thing.

    1. It's a logical assumption to make. We think of America as a primarily, sometimes overwhelmingly Christian nation whether we intend to or not. If Captain America is supposed to represent the best of American ideals, personified, then the jump from Captain America to Christian isn't much of a jump at all. But it's not necessarily *true*. :)

      In the comics, like I said, Cap is definitely a Christian. We have more wiggle room in MCU though. PS: He's also not so squeaky and wholesome as you might think in the comics. He's portrayed as a real human being which means that he's wrong and has flaws. So. Still, he's not my personal *favorite* character.

      *turns off the lights*


      *thunder strikes, lightning flashes*


      Yeah, the whole thing with Joss confused me too. *shrug* Maybe it was because it was such a strong montheistic statement? IDK.

      But seriously, I have this whole story semi-mapped out in my head for Steve and his conversion! And then jump forward to the future, after he's thawed and the whole world has changed, the public understanding of his faith has changed and *everyone* assumes that Captain America is Christian, of *course* and the conflicts that arise from him not being Christian and refusing to let people assume that he is for the sake of PR. And the team's reactions and...

      One day, I swear, I will write this fic.


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