Religious Bruiser

Zimbardo: "Obviously you learned well in Sunday School."
Colbert: "I teach Sunday School, motherfucker!"

A practitioner of The New Rock & Roll or The Big Guy turns out to be heavily religious. Bonus points if he is a priest/pastor/whatever.

Despite the name, needs not be physically strong.

What distinguishes this trope from Church Militant and Badass Preacher is the emphasis. A Religious Bruiser may or may not kick ass, but if he does, it's his primary occupation. For the Badass Preacher, ass-kicking is secondary to his vocation (or if Church Militant is at play, ass-kicking is his vocation).

Compare All Monks Know Kung-Fu, when a Christian monk is presumed to be a martial artist just because he is... well, a monk. Closely related to Real Men Love Jesus. A Badass Israeli may well be one of these also. If he's a bad guy, may overlap with Churchgoing Villain. If it's the Lord himself kicking ass, that's Kung-Fu Jesus.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Rurouni Kenshin: A rare villainous (or at least, very mentally broken) example: Anji Yukyuzan, a fallen Zen Buddhist monk who was an even match for Sanosuke when they faced off, and taught him his most powerful technique earlier in the story. After his defeat, he pleads guilty and goes to prison to atone for his crimes.
  • Bartholomew Kuma, one of the biggest and strongest humans in One Piece, carries a Bible everywhere he goes, and wears clothes that are similar to a priest's.
  • Soul Eater: Justin Law is quite devout and quite deadly in a fight. Partly cause-and-effect, since the god he worships so fervently is Death, who appears slightly uncomfortable with the whole thing. The only type of music he listens to is Death Metal, which he considers part of his worship. And he never takes out his ear buds. Additionally, he wears a priest's habit most of the time.
  • Goemon Ishikawa XIII of Lupin III fame is a believer in Buddhism and Shinto. Inspector Zenigata, on the other hand, seems to have some Christian tendencies despite not being a Christian himself: at one point in the second TV series, he prays to Jesus in a moment of desperation, and at another point he muses to himself about how "Christ referred to this bread as his body and this wine as his blood".
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 2: Battle Tendency has two heroic Catholics in Caesar Zeppeli and Lisa Lisa, although their religion is only mentioned in their character profile pages (meaning it's unknown to most anime-only fans). Both are very capable Ripple warriors.
    • In contrast, Stone Ocean has Enrico Pucci, the Big Bad of the part and Final Boss of the original continuity. He is an amoral, corrupt priest who is very out there theologically (and in general) to the point of apostasy. Being a fanatical follower of Dio Brando (and his Dragon Ascendant), he "loves Dio like he loves God" (apparently unaware that this breaks the first commandment) and wants to recreate the universe into Dio's liking. He is willing to use pretty much any means to reach this goal and is arguably the most powerful villain in the series. Minor villain Kenzou also founded his own religion at some point.
    • Funny Valentine, the Big Bad of Steel Ball Run, is likely Protestant given the setting and his status as the President of the United States (it could be that he's Hiding Behind Religion). Like Pucci before him he's a ruthless bastard, except with an actual noble goal: acquiring the Corpse Parts of the Saint in order to turn the world into a utopia led by the USA. His Stand makes him Nigh Invulnerable in combat. Also, Hot Pants from the same part is a nun who was sent to the race by the Vatican to find the Corpse Parts (their motives are never made clear).

    Comic Books 
  • Connor Hawke (Buddhist) from Green Arrow comics.
  • Nightcrawler (Catholic) from X-Men comics.
  • Snowflame in The New Guardians is this in spades. "Cocaine is my god—and I am the human instrument of its will!"
  • Liang Xih'kai aka Thunderlord from the Global Guardians was both a super hero and a Buddhist Bare-Fisted Monk.
  • Rahne Sinclair from New Mutants is a devout Presbyterian and doesn't look like much, but when she transforms into her werewolf form, she's very dangerous.
  • Transformers
    • Sunstorm is a religious seeker who never failed to mention "The will of Primus." He also believes that Primus sent him to this world -universe, life, whatever- to deal righteous judgment on the blasphemous. He is a terrifying warrior, especially when he's on fire and so radiated that bots melt and circuits fry when they get too close. His strength is only surpassed by his will and love for Primus.
    • Drift in Transformers: More than Meets the Eye is the biggest example, being an accomplished swordsman, and spouting off doctrine and theories that annoy those around him. Star Saber goes the fanatical Knight Templar route insisting that God only loves him and the non-believers must die. Finally there's Cyclonus who's deeply religious but doesn't wear his faith on his sleeve. Flywheels is shown to be a neo-primalist, but the only fight he get's in has him killed without much effort.

    Fan Works 
  • Peace Forged in Fire (and previous Star Trek Online fics by worffan101 starring D'trel) has Omek'ti'kallan, who worships "Glorious Odo'Ital" (a.k.a. Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), and frequently attributes maxims to him as religious proverbs. He's also a Jem'Hadar First. Do the math.
  • In the Pony POV Series Dark World Arc, Liarjack's liberation from Discord's brainwashing is the result of meeting the Father of All Alicorns and Applebloom's spirit (Applebloom having long since become a Saint). As a result, she becomes far more religious and even prays on multiple occasions. None of this has degraded her ability to kick flank, and in fact her Heel–Face Turn came with a Redemption Promotion. At the very end of Dark World, the newly crown Queen Libra (Alicorn!Rarity) more or less makes her a priest and she performs Libra's wedding to Spike. Justified, considering she more or less literally met her universe's version of God.
  • Cassandra Cain becomes one after her discovery of Catholicism in Angel of the Bat. The major antagonist The Seraphim is similarly devoted to his own branch of extremist Christianity, and both are presented as nearly undeatable opponents.

  • Jules from Pulp Fiction likes to recite a verse from the Bible to his victims before he kills them. Subverted, in that the Biblical admonition doesn't mean anything to him at first, and he just says it to sound cool. But later Double Subverted when he thinks more deeply about the admonition and realizes that he's been totally misinterpreting it. Also subverted in that most of said "Bible verse" isn't actually in The Bible, but actually cribbed from an old Sonny Chiba film called The Bodyguard.
  • In The Avengers, Captain America doesn't much care for the likes of Thor and Loki being described as gods.
    Captain America: There's only one God, and I'm pretty sure He doesn't dress like that.
  • Pain and Gain: Paul is a very religious man, but can also, as he puts it, "knock people the fuck out".
  • Nightcrawler from X2: X-Men United. Even reaches The Atoner levels.


    Live Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: Gives us a whole list of them:
    • Commander Susan Ivanova, a female Large Ham who occasionally addresses God via an upwards glance, a la Fiddler on the Roof.
    • Ambassador G'Kar, bordering on Church Militant. He is also the local religious leader for his faith, but that's due more to his social status than due to his occupation. And all that before he unintentionally became the focus of a cult.
    • Ambassador Delenn, who due to her position in the Religious Caste, is her peoples' chief Church Militant, because of her social status and occupation. Her student, Lennier, mans the weapon console on the White Star fleet and has seen his share of fisticuffs, as well. "It was much safer in temple. Also less interesting."
  • Bones: Seeley Boothe often expresses how deeply he believes in his Catholic faith, even though it's been implied he doesn't attend every Sunday mass and he has had sex with several women (has a son with one), though has never married (until Bones, that is, whom he also had sex with-and had a child-beforehand). Lampshaded in one episode where he was given a Trust Password to relay to a hostage: Paladin - "Defender of the Faith."
  • Dog The Bounty Hunter is quite openly Christian, and is sometimes shown praying for the safety of his crew before going after a fugitive.
  • Firefly: Captain Malcolm Reynolds, but only in flashbacks. Jayne, The Big Guy and resident Psycho for Hire is also clearly a believer, and is seen praying multiple times. Probably one of the reasons for his Odd Friendship with Reverend Book.
  • Psych: In one episode, a daredevil mentions he is a "good Christian man" as a reason he doesn't want a psychic around.
  • Revolution: Tom Neville and his men stop to pray over their dead comrade Fletcher while taking Danny Matheson to the prison camp in "Chained Heat". "The Longest Day" has Tom Neville admit to his son Jason that he has done just about every bad thing in The Good Book.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Major Kira. Highly religious. Utterly badass. If you weren't sure, check out the first season episode "Battle Lines" where she fends off a group of attackers (bare-handed) and then later breaks down crying, asking her religion's Pope-equivalent for forgiveness for the violence in her heart.
    • The Jem'Hadar are an entire species of these, Super Soldiers bred to worship the Dominion's Founders as gods, and the Klingons' equals in hand-to-hand combat (Worf only beat a Jem'Hadar First by refusing to give in despite his wounds until his opponent lost interest). Though in gun battles they die as easy as anyone else.

     Mythology & Religion 
  • In parts of Germany and Austria, St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) is accompanied by a Knecht Ruprecht / Krampus, a demon who was tamed by the saint and now helps him punishing evil kids. Hm, if Santa can take on a demon, that'd definitely make him this trope. Either that or Badass Santa.
  • Samson and David in The Bible. A lot of people in the Bible. A recurring theme is that God will make anyone Bad Ass if they are acting in His service, leading to numerous stories where the Israelites defeat much-stronger opponents with few or no losses.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • The most famous example in the phenomenon of pro wrestling, lucha libre if you will, is Fray Tormenta, known for using money made in the promotions that would become Mexico's UWA and CMLL to fund an orphanage he worked as a friar at, while wearing a mask to conceal his identity. This goes to some of his prodigies, such as Incognito, Místico and Sin Cara as well.
  • Nobuhiko Takada was rumored to wrestle with Buddhist prayers written on papers he stuck on his trunks.
  • AWA's The Barbarian/Berserker would have been a Norseman version of this trope, obviously, till he followed the gimmick to its conclusion and converted to Christianity.
  • Jinsei Shinzaki, aka Hakushi, has the gimmick of a Buddhist pilgrim as seen in Michinoku Pro Wrestling.
  • NWA Wildeside had Caprice Coleman, whose promos often tended towards sermons, and Altar Boy Luke, though Coleman started in OMEGA as Ice and Luke later became an indulgent Hollywood stuntman.
  • Ayako Hamada has been seen praying before matches and her gear is typically adorned with blue and white crosses.
  • Mercedes Martinez believes in the judgment of God, it being the only judgment she will accept.
  • Shawn Michaels previously had the gimmick of a dancing fairy who insisted he was a ladies man. Then, after his return to WWE in 2002, he became a praying, reverent Christian dancing fairy who insisted he was a ladies man.
  • Sting became a Born-Again Christian in 1998. It rarely came up in Kayfabe, though.
  • Towards the end of 2003 at a Jersey All Pro Wrestling show, Buff E took the microphone in order to publicly thank God for answering the prayers of himself and Christopher Street Connection partner Mace, finally granting them a match with their Lust Object, Slyk Wagner Brown.
  • Jinder Mahal wears a Sikh turban, which he holds with special importance, to the point he kept wearing even after going into WWE and joining Three MB.
  • After retiring form the army in 2004, Johnny Magnum became a children's and youth minister. He also started wrestling on the Funkin Conservatory's !BANG! TV.
  • Christopher Saint of the Dixie Gospel, gives greetings to all you heathens! He's gonna beat the fear of the lord into Hades!
  • Madison Rayne prayed before her TNA matches in 2014, at least until her pseudo heel turn.
  • Candice Michelle is a devout Christian and has a few Christianity-themed tattoos.

  • Of the only two "religious characters" to actually appear in Dino Attack RPG, Pharisee is definitely this. He's a tough-as-nails fellow who not only spends time reciting the Bible, but believes it is his divine right to impart justice on others, to the point where at times he looks no better than the criminals he mercilessly beats up. Shaw on the other hand is the complete inverse, seeing as she really only uses religion as a form of comfort in desperate times.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Whole armies in Warhammer 40,000, but most notably the Space Marines — Super Soldier warrior monks in Powered Armor, with a prayer and a really big gun for every occasion.
    • Most Space Marine Chapters have Chaplains or equivalents thereof. Warrior-priests in black Powered Armor and skull-faced helms wielding maces who spread the Emperor's word and kick ass while doing so.
    • There was an entire Space Marine legion of those in the age before the Horus Heresy. The Word Bearers under the Primarch Lorgar were pious and devout, and revered the Emperor as a god. He actually frowned on this and chastised his son for his zeal, as the time they took to convert planets and build cathedrals to His glory was slowing down the Great Crusade. Afterwards, the Word Bearers turned heretics and began worshipping the Chaos Gods (and actually deliberately kicked the Horus Heresy into action, being the first Space Marines who turned traitors and who later tempted Horus into doing the same). As of the 41st millennium they are still active and very well organized, a constant threat to the Imperium - both militarily and ideologically as they would gleefully corrupt entire worlds. Their own Chaplains became Dark Apostles, and serve the same purpose as they did while loyal.
  • Iron Kingdoms gives us the Protectorate of Menoth. Their uniforms even have a "priestly" motif. Exemplar Bastions are renowned for their training and tests of endurance which leave lesser men crippled under the super-heavy armor. What do they say about it ? "I feel no weight but the eyes of the Creator upon me."

    Video Games 
  • The Tower social link in Persona 3 is a monk whose in game profile describes as looking like a gangster, spending every weekend chain-smoking and drinking heavily in a night club. He still takes religion seriously though. Get far enough along his Social Link, and he decides to reconnect with his family (whom he ran out on before becoming a monk).
  • Legacy of Kain: True, while the God Janos Audron is devoted to turned out to be a selfish, manipulative Eldritch Abomination, Janos is unaware of this and is pious, priestly and one of the most powerful warriors of his race.
  • Ashley, Samara and Thane from Mass Effect are all this, for starters. Possibly Shepard, depending on how you play, although it only really comes up during conversations with Ashley in the first game. Thane in particular has a number of scenes where he prays for forgiveness for the sins he is about to commit in the execution of his mission, and on one occasion prays for forgiveness on behalf of Shepard for the sins he/she must commit in the execution of their mission to save the galaxy.
  • Boman Delgado, from Rival Schools, is an aspiring preacher who fights as a last resort and whose victory poses consist of him praying.
  • Sten of Dragon Age: Origins, though it's hard to tell at first since he's The Stoic and operates on Blue and Orange Morality. By extended definition, this applies to all military Qunari, given that Qunari are by definition "people of the Qun" (an intense religious movement, irrespective of physical race - not that anyone outside of the Qunari priesthood bothers to differentiate there). Individual devotion levels may vary, but most seem quite high, and since the majority of Qunari are kossith, they're quite large and powerful as well.
  • As the name suggests, Captain Bible from Captain Bible In Dome Of Darkness is one.
  • And from Dragon Age II, there's Sebastian Vael. He was given to the Chantry as a young boy, and while he doesn't have compunctions against violence where necessary, he is very devoted to The Maker and Andraste, praying for forgiveness and for the safety of his companions even in the thick of battle.
  • Gaira Caffeine of Samurai Shodown. Bonus points for his weapon being an oversized set of prayer beads.
  • Dungeon Fighter Online has the most badass "priest" character ever. Behold.
  • Dutch in Halo 3: ODST is a member of the most badass military unit outside of the setting's Super Soldier program, and was a college major in philosophy and religion, occasionally incorporating it into his dialogue and outlook.
    Dutch: Like the Good Book says, "Payback is a bitch!"
    Micky: I don't think it actually says that, Dutch.
    Dutch: I'm paraphrasin', ya heathen!
    • Also:
    Dutch: (after doing a jump in a Warthog/Ghost and crashing) Uh, Lord? I didn't train to be a pilot. Tell me I don't have any more flying to do today. (Aerial drone crashes into a nearby statue) So, was that a yes or a no? (Warthog/Ghost explodes) Amen.
    • Many of the Covenant warriors such the Elites and Brutes firmly believe in the Covenants teachings. They show their devotion to it in killing humans.
  • Reverend Alberts in Killing Floor.
  • Jun Kazama of Tekken showed signs of this in the second game, where she was portrayed as being allied with Angel. The first Tag Tournament had them share an ending, except it was Jun healing her son of the Devil Gene and Angel healing Kazuya.
  • Mon-Mon of Yo-Jin-Bo, who wields a giant rosary and is as capable in a fight as the ronin.
  • Much like his creator Doug TenNapel, Earthworm Jim is shown to be fairly religious, praying to a god known as "The Great Worm Spirit". The episode of the animated series where he gets to meet Him is oddly touching, at least by the standards of such a goofy cartoon.
  • The soldier in Team Fortress 2 makes a religious comment once or twice in his domination lines and other such voice clips. Then the 2013 Halloween update's tie-in comic revealed that he's actually a priest. In Guam.
  • Uesugi Kenshin of Samurai Warriors. Is a devout worshipper of and constantly invokes Bishamonten, the Buddhist god of war, and is widely considered one of the most powerful warlords of his time (both of which are true to historical sources). He also hits like a truck in personal combat.
  • Joshua Graham of Fallout: New Vegas. He's the (acting) warchief of the Dead Horse Tribe, a legendary soldier who survived being set on fire and thrown down a cliff, and formerly a Legate in Caesar's army. He also happens to be a Mormon missionary and considers that his primary vocation.

  • Chopin from Tower of God. He is sometimes even possessed by his God, who goes by the name of Hohhohohohhohoh. No, seriously.

    Web Original 

    Real Life 
  • The trope image is Prince, who is known for his incredibly taboo and risqué lyrics, androgynous and outrageous fashion sense, and being a devout and active Jehovah's Witness.
  • The late Geoff Mann, lead singer with prog band Twelfth Night, was an ordained priest in the Church of England.
  • American football player Reggie White was apparently also an ordained minister.
  • New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow is very outspoken about his faith.
  • Alice Cooper has been rather open about his Christian faith since the 90s, even if he doesn't talk about it a whole lot. He still chops the heads off of mannequins at shows and plays up the act.
  • Early Methodist preacher Peter Cartwright once beat the snot out of a saloon keep, singing "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" all the while.
  • Irish boxer Katie Taylor is an Olympic gold medalist, and also a born again Christian.
  • In Sikhism, the original point of the Khalsa (the so-called "baptized" Sikhs) was that they pledged to be warriors defending the faith—hence why one of their religious obligations is to always carry a special dagger. Admittedly, this tends to be downplayed nowadays, and religious regulation allows the dagger to be quite small.