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Church Militant

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"Hence it comes that all armed prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed prophets have been destroyed. For, besides the things that have been said, the nature of peoples is variable; and it is easy to persuade them of something, but difficult to keep them in that persuasion. And thus things must be ordered in such a mode that when they no longer believe, one can make them believe by force."

The world often notes that certain groups take God and Guns with equal fervor. The Church Militant takes this observation to the natural conclusion, a Catholic (or Catholic-like) superpower that is very heavily armed. This can be played in any number of ways — Light isn't always good, and even when it is, Good is not always nice, and even when it is, Good isn't soft.

Usually justified by the actual existence of witches, vampires or The Legions of Hell; nevertheless the Church Militant often struggles with going too far. Don't expect heavy consistency with real world religious teachings, writers will make it up as they go along (c.f. Not Using the "Z" Word). Japanese media will just substitute in that Nuns Are Mikos.

The forces of a Church Militant vary widely depending on the nature of its foes and the type of world it exists in.

The most commonly associated troops for the Church Militant are its heavily armored, sword-slinging, holy-equipped special forces usually known as Paladins. Nuns with guns usually come halfway between this and Amazon Brigade. If there is a Fanatic branch of the Church Militant, expect the Knight Templar, but also expect their zealotry to be tempered by the church hierarchy — orders with divine authority behind them are hard to ignore, and there is usually a larger war to win.

In a modern industrialized setting most clergy will rely on Hand Cannons, but since many breeds of Undead and Eldritch Abomination are Immune to Bullets, expect at least a few priests and nuns of the Blessed Blade Sect to swing around a broadsword or two. Or three/six, which seems to be some kind of standard.

Oftentimes, they might instead favor the mace, hammer, or a staff out of an alleged commitment to peace. This doctrine is espoused by the Order of the Blunt Instrument because theoretically bludgeoning weapons allow for "just" beating the hell out of an opponent, and they take a "strict" view of the commandments against "spilling blood" or "taking up the sword." Also blunt weapons are cheap, and there are vows of poverty to consider.

In fantasy settings they'll probably also have divine magic, most often White Magic. When a Saintly Church is involved, you can also expect the Holy Hand Grenade, but when the Church militant is played as also being the Corrupt Church, Black Magic may be used alongside or even substituted. Even in settings featuring a purely good church militant, the light side's magical bag of tricks isn't limited to Healing Magic, stun spells, and summoning puppies and rainbows — concentrated blasts of goodness, cleansing light, and Bolts of Divine Retribution are standard issue for The Order of Smiting. In the more liberal chapters, such as the Brothers of the Clandestine Operations, one might even find instances of The Sacred Darkness being put to work on the side of the faithful.

In more critical scenarios involving The Legions of Hell running rampant and hordes of undead terrorizing the countryside, Holy Hand Grenades are mass produced, as are weapons Made of Good or Silver. In case of Witch incursions and Heresy, expect Flamethrowers and Flaming Swords. Lots and lots of flame-based weapons to purify the sinful. And you can be sure that there are at least a few Fantastic Nukes among the church's relics because there's only one way to be sure that nothing will ever use that Hell Gate again.

Individual members are usually Hunters of Monsters or Warrior Monks and can also be referred to as "church militants" (where "militant" is the noun). Note that this trope really only applies to Western theist/deist religions, as Eastern religions (Buddhism, Shinto, Tao, etc.) are almost always depicted as kung-fu-slinging warrior monks (sometimes Christian/Pseudo-Christian monks can be kung-fu-slinging as well).

If a Church Militant exists as a State Sec subdivision of a larger, predominantly pacifist Church, expect it to be called "The Inquisition" regardless of the fact that the Real Life inquisition was more like a detective and judicial branch of the Catholic Church (see also The Spanish Inquisition) than its military arm. See also Church Police and Kung-Fu Jesus.

Not to be confused with Corrupt Church, where the religious folks are clearly the bad guys. Badass clergymen who are minorities amongst a meeker lot would be Badass Preachers instead. Also not to be confused with the actual Christian concept of the Church Militant which comprises all believers still on Earth, as compared with the Church Triumphant, the believers in Heaven. Here, the "militant" refers not to actual violence but the spiritual combat that believers undergo to thwart the Devil and his temptations so as to become a member of the Church Triumphant.

The moral questions surrounding the idea of religious authorities advocating violence have been around since the beginning of monotheism. Polytheistic religions generally don't result in dissonance, instead delegating war behavior to deities who are specifically devoted to kicking ass. Monotheistic religions, on the other hand, have always had the problem of reconciling a loving God (assuming He is loving to begin with) with the specifically unloving human behavior that is intrinsic to warfare. Sometimes it is based on the idea that wrongdoers and criminals, domestic or cosmic, lose variably some or all of the protection of God and society because of their bad actions and therefore should come quietly or be defeated. There is the philosophy that self-defense and the defense of others from bad guys — out of love for others — is acceptable and just in God's sight. It must also be understood that soldiers face death every day, and naturally have a vested interest in spiritual pursuits. Also, in general, non-Christian religions portrayed as Church Militants are usually frowned upon.

Church Militants often make use of Smite Evil. The smitees may not appreciate this, and may strike back, e.g. through Religion Rant Songs or other means.

Has some overlap with Naughty Nuns, often in the form of "Nunsploitation" films. One of the groups you may ask Who You Gonna Call? when the Forces of Darkness strike.

A single character who's like this may be a Religious Bruiser, but Knight Templar and or The Fundamentalist can also fall into this category.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Mozgus in Berserk fulfills this trope together with his followers. They take great pleasure in killing and torturing "heretics" at will. There's also the Holy Iron Chain Knights, a church-serving order of warriors who are mostly ornamental but nonetheless quite capable of kicking ass.
  • Black Lagoon has the "Church of Violence". While it's unclear whether its members are actually religious or are just using the Church as a front for weapons smuggling, it still doesn't stop its members from toting a ridiculously massive arsenal of weapons such as M60 machine guns and a gold plated Desert Eagle (wielded one-handed by a 70-something nun).
  • Blue Exorcist have the True Cross Order, a Badass Army of Exorcists from multiple religions confronting demons and such. However, they also have Fantastic Racism, at least one major member is a full-blooded demon (and a Manipulative Bastard with millennia of experience who sees and treats everyone as pawns despite nominally being "good"), and they tend to be Knight Templars who started as Child Soldiers. The fact they see the titular character, the resident Anti Anti Christ, as a threat might even make him a threat if they don't kill him first!
  • A Certain Magical Index. Necessarius and most of the Church Organizations in Necessarius are a group of battle-priest/mages that protects England and the Puritan Church from any magical and scientific threat by using the one thing they tried to destroy in the past: Magic. They're also responsible for the compilation of Index-Librorium-Prohibitrum in Index's mind. There are three notorious Churches:
    • The Anglican Church, with Necessarius.
    • The Roman Catholic Church, with Agnese Forces and God's Right Seat.
    • The Russian Orthodox Church, with Annihilatus. But even then, Touma still kicked/punched many of their asses.
  • Chrono Crusade features a religious order whose role is to serve as the Church Militant. As one might expect, the main character is a member of said order. The Order tolerate Rosette's Deal with the Devil on the grounds that 1) he's a sweetheart, okay? 2) the girl has a mission and she can't get out of it now, anyway, and 3) look, demon kill demon, we happy, okay? Until Remington is forced to stage Chrono's death in the manga. Her immediate superiors don't object, but the higher-ups have gotten twitchy. Good times had by all as the good Father more or less pounds Chrono in the head with the situation after cool hints don't work.
  • The Black Order in D.Gray-Man. Willing to employ criminals, create homunculi and carry out human experimentation. And even that's not enough.
  • The Ishvalans in Fullmetal Alchemist have warrior-priests, followers of Ishvala who are also martial arts experts. It was stated that during the Ishval rebellion an unarmed Ishvalan warrior-priest could take down 10 fully armed Amestrian soldiers. Scar was a particularly strong one.
  • Hellsing has both the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church forming their own Churches Militant to deal with the supernatural. Accusations of heresy and territorial claims mean their militants often clash if they meet, but they will sometimes delay fighting each other to fight vampires. Sometimes. Doesn't help that their trump cards display a Blood Knight mentality and will fight at the drop of a hat. The series eventually climaxes with the Vatican's 9th Crusade against the Nazis and, eventually, all of Protestant England. Enrico Maxwell, Iscariot's leader, even takes advantage of London's vulnerability to slaughter Protestant civilians, all in the name of God and the Catholic Church. Thankfully, Father Anderson does not agree with that last option.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: Prussia's origins as the Monastic State of The Teutonic Knights are acknowledged in his bio and some strips. Though God doesn't really seem to like him.
  • In Izure Shinwa No Ragnarok, the church is one of the two most influential organizations in the world and the protagonist, Raika, works for them to investigate the other organization, though he has his own reasons for doing so. The militant part comes into play when Raika displays the combat techniques they taught him, which are enough to survive against humans possessed by gods.
  • Subverted in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean. While Enrico Pucci is an evil fighter priest, it is not out of fanaticism. In fact, he is a heretic who worships an evil vampire and abuses his status as a priest.
    • Church Militant still holds. As his twin brother Weather Report (yes, that's his name) said, Enrico Pucci is not aware that he is evil. Which makes him creepier because he believes he's doing all these beating up prisoners, pitting them against each other, siccing a gang on Weather Report to prevent his incestuous relationship with their little sister (both Weather and his sister were unaware of this incest), collecting Dio's sons, trying to revive the world without the Joestars... for the good of mankind.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS has Sister Schach, a kindly nun and battle-ready knight of the Belkan Saint Church. And after the post-StrikerS Time Skip, Sein, Otto, and Deed of the Numbers Cyborgs have joined the Belkan Saint Church's ranks. There is also Vivio, literal Saint King of that church, though she hates being called by her rank... And she IS called so. On a regular basis.
  • The original Moetan book's entry for the word "priest" recalls this trope: "The priest has a cross-shaped bazooka." Given its penchant for references, this is almost certainly an allusion to Wolfwood.
  • By episode 5 of Mnemosyne, Mimi has retired to a solitary life of a Buddhist nun. Thanks to various problems that an immortal faces, her temple is outfitted with a laser cage, and other immortal nuns who happen to know how to use guns and katanas.
  • The Nasuverse setting (where Tsukihime and Fate/stay night take place) has a secret organization within the Roman Catholic Church called the "Holy Church" (or simply the "Church") that hunts down heretics, which includes undead and rogue sorcerers. The mainstream Vatican consider it heretical, due to it's use of things like magecraft.
    It's divided into the following sections:
    • Executors such as Kotomine Kirei, are essentially the special forces, used for more precise operations.
    • Burial Agents are exceptional Executors that have specialized abilities like Ciel's Healing Factor, Mr. Dawn's engineering and unparalleled exorcism, or Merem's Demonition. There are only eight positions within the Burial Agency, and only seven are filled.note 
    • Knights like Riesbyfe are an outright military that generally brute force their problems. They are exceptionally strong, having enough strength to casually crush human skulls.
    • The Assembly of the Eighth Sacrament are tasked with the recovery, researching, and management of holy relics; one particularly notable job is to inspect any claims of the Holy Grail, since it's central to Christian doctrine. Despite this, the Assembly is the lowest of the Holy Church's agencies.
  • The nuns on the Mahora campus of Negima! Magister Negi Magi are all trained battlemages who make up school security in addition to more traditional duties.
  • Altena's faction of les Soldats in Noir aka "The Nuns With Guns".
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Kyouko was one in the backstory. And the witch Elsa Maria has a fair amount of Christian imagery, and secondary material suggests she views herself this way.
  • Subverted with Mobile Suit Gundam Wing's Duo Maxwell; though he wears a priest's collar and kicks a lot of ass, he doesn't actually practice any religion. In his backstory he was an orphan raised in a church, but one day tells the priest he doesn't believe in God but he does believe in the God of Death because "I've never seen a miracle, but I've seen lots of dead people!" (The good-natured priest admits that he can't fault the boy's logic.) He wears the collar as a tribute to the priest and nun who raised him.
  • Nicholas D. Wolfwood, and specifically the Eye of Michael group from Trigun. The latter are plant worshippers, which explains why they're willing to work for Knives. The representatives we see don't appear to worship anything except Gorn and More Dakka. And posibly For Science! in the case of Original Chapel. Makes you kind of relieved that Wolfwood is so laid-back about his faith. Wolfwood introduces himself as a priest, and is carrying a large cross. When someone else tries to lift it, they comment on its heaviness. Wolfwood's response is "That's 'cause it's so full of mercy" ... which we later find out is in the form of one large automatic weapon and many handguns. Though it's never truly clear (in the anime, at least) whether he's really a priest or not.
  • In Trinity Blood, the Vatican is one of the two major world military powers, the other being the vampire-led Empire. The latter, being based in Byzantium, bears a certain resemblance to the home base of the post-schism Eastern Orthodox church.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: The anime featured original villain Muto Shogo, an Christian samurai that believed to be the reincarnation of Amakusa Shiro (see real-life section below) and lead an army of devout followers to rebel against the Meiji administration. He was so badass that he managed to best Kenshin in their first duel.
  • Subverted in Simoun, where the church itself doesn't like that the military is forcing them to use their priestesses as killers, even if their prayers happen to be the most effective weapon Simulacrum has.
  • The organization "Solomon" from Witch Hunter Robin.
  • The Inquisitors in Radiant mercilessly hunt down sorcerers at the slightest misbehaviour, and even though they're not sorcerers, their skills and strength are nothing to scoff at.

    Comic Books 
  • The Confessor and the Crossbreed from Astro City. The Crossbreed in particular come off as a bunch of annoying fanatics. Initially.
  • Azrael from The DCU, combined with Artistic License – Religion, and even more so in the second series.
  • The Badger had a recurring character named "Sister Twister", a reformed Nazi transexual nun.
  • There's also a Sister Twister who was in the latest incarnation of the Suicide Squad. A woman with distorted features and the power to painfully contort other peoples' bodies, she found God and became a nun. However, her supervillain sadism is still not fully dulled; when asked if the old axiom of "it's better to give than to receive" also applies to pain, she responds that while she hadn't thought of it that way she's very interested in applying it.
  • Robert Kirkman's Battle Pope is about a one-man version of this trope, though he does get help from others in the task.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: The two religious knightly orders of the empire, the Knights of the Light (patterned after The Knights Templar) and the Knights of Justice (patterned after The Knights Hospitallers). Eventually, the former is absorbed by the latter after they try to overthrow the emperor.
  • Canon Fodder takes place in a future where the church and police forces have been consolidated into one, and follows a single very devout, not entirely sane priest as he attempts to destroy evil wherever he finds it.
  • Crimson: The Knights Templar have formed an monster-exterminating organization that broke away from the Catholic Church after their official banishment. They are an evil example, since they are portrayed as fanatics obsessed with destroying all monsters even if they are not evil. Their elite group, the Order of the Dragon, is even worse, since they target angels to re-purpose their bodies into battle-drugs. It's not until the end of the series that they form an uneasy alliance with their enemies to fight against the Big Bad who wants to cause the end of the world.
  • The Evangeline comics.
  • Father Zee in Ex Machina. During a riot, someone yells out "RAISE HELL". Father Zee sucker punches him right in the face and says "If you say so". He frequently spars with Mayor Mitchell Hundred.
  • The Ghost Rider comics give us the Deacon, a monster of a man who is so devout in his belief that he is saving sinners the Penance Stare has no effect on him. He eventually fights a nun-turned-ally of Ghost Rider, with the Pre Ass Kicking One Liner of "Very well, woman. Let us pray."
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2008): The Black Knights of the Universal Church of Truth, Elite Mooks powered by their undying faith in life itself, and assigned the task of cleansing unbelievers from existence. Apparently a handful of them are strong enough to level a typical planet in hours.
  • The Church of Christ Avenger from Ironwood.
  • The Warrior Monks from The Scorpion.
  • Magdalena (originally from The Darkness), somewhat similarly, is a name passed on from generation to generation of nuns in a certain order that claims to have begun with Mary Magdalene herself.
  • The Marvel 2099 line of comics included the Sisters Of The Howling Commandments, an order of nuns who modeled themselves after (and possibly worshiped) Nick Fury and The Howling Commandos.
  • Vol de Galle, eponymous character of The Marquis, is a former Catholic Inquisitor who fights demons that have infiltrated human society.
  • The Holy Therns in Pathfinder: Worldscape are equal parts clergymen for their Path of Inspiration, a Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards for the Queen of Shareen and a police force responsible for rounding up blasphemers so they can fight in the Gladiator Games.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight:
    • The Werewolves were originally religious fanatics that after their deaths were reincarnated as monsters in Hell. Among these include Tomás de Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor of Spain.
    • The Sisters of Blood are an order of vampire nuns that guards Dracula's brides. Not only they are competent Dark Action Girls and ruthlessly fierce in their mission, their Mother Superior pilots a giant mecha.
  • Robin: Crucible uses his own twisted and cruel interpretation of religion to excuse his torture and murder of others, saying he's eradicating sin.
  • Vampirella has the Sisterhood, a convent of nuns who battle demons and monsters. There is also the Cestus Dei, a covert operation wing of the Vatican that hunts monsters and demons.
  • Warrior Nun Areala by Ben Dunn, an animesque comic focusing on a Catholic order of monster hunters. Before anime/manga (like Chrono Crusade) or western comics, this series was the first to focus on such a topic.
  • In White Sand, there's a new group of warrior-priests in Kerztia whose debut on political scene is the slaughter of powerful sorcerous order of Sand Masters.
  • X-Men:
    • William Stryker, an infamous villain, is a Christian fundamentalist televangelist who saw himself on a mission from God to save humanity from the mutants (by destroying the latter if necessary). While originally he was simply a (villainous) Badass Preacher himself, he and his church are somewhat Depending on the Writer, and at least some treat them more as a sort of Anime Catholicism like Iscariot in Hellsing. During the "Second Coming" storyline, Stryker was shown to have a literal army of members from his "Church of Humanity", who used high-tech lasers and "weaponised rituals" against the mutants. There is also a version of the character in X-Men 2: X-Men United which discarded this aspect, making him a shady military officer instead.
    • In one storyline, Nightcrawler takes steps to become a priest.spoiler:— click to reveal
    • Exodus, one of Magneto's Acolytes, used to be a Crusader knight before he awakened his X-gene.

    Fan Works 
  • The Discworld fics of A.A. Pessimal posit that after the Brutha reforms described in the canonical Small Gods, the horribly beweaponed and aggressive Divine Legions of Om mutated into something less ostensibly warlike, with the emphasis on the military bands playing the rousing old-tiume hymns backed by formation tambourine-rattling and collection-box-shaking, merely to ensure their continued survival in the new era. In fact, that they mutated into the Divine Legion of Salvation, an organisation rather like our own Salvation Army. Interestingly, they went this way in canon too. note 
  • Legionnaire has the Basiji and the Justicars, which are the religious police and the religious army respectively.
  • Queen of Shadows has the Kamikiri tribe (Mantis Khan), who serve as the priests of the Shadowkhan, while still being as much Proud Warrior Race Guys as the other tribes.
  • Savage Skies has the Cult Solar as one of the primary antagonists. Interestingly, the majority of the cult is not comprised of soldiers, it's just that Dawn Lightwing happens to be considered a demon and the ponies on top are willing to utilize lethal force.
  • In Exitium Eternal, the Exitium itself is a strange case of this. All the church's zealotry is devoted towards fighting the forces of Hell rather than purging heretics or converting others to their cause.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Agora: The Parabolani are a Christian death squad devoted to kill heretics under the direction of their bishop Cyril of Alexandria. Ironically, they don't start the movie out this way being merely a brotherhood that performs charitable work like feeding the poor.
  • Batalha dos Guararapes: The Brazilian rebels are devoutly Catholic and loyal to the Pope, fighting to drive out the Protestant Dutch whom they consider "heretics". Even the African freedmen and the native Potiguara tribesmen are united by faith, praying before battle and yelling their Battle Cry "For Jesus!".
  • The Boondock Saints are a variant of this trope. They don't fight the legions of hell (or at least not in any demonic implication), but they do themselves state religion as their reasoning (the 'inspirational' speech from the priest at the beginning) and go so far as to say their family prayer over their victims. It's also strongly implied they that they believe they are administering God's justice to evildoers.
  • Braindead and its famous kung fu priest.
  • The Grammaton Clerics of Equilibrium use the trappings of this trope, although they serve a secular state.
  • Freejack features a shotgun-toting, profanity-spewing nun who helps the protagonist.
  • Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • The vampire hunting teams from John Carpenter's Vampires were sponsored by the Catholic Church.
  • In Johnny Mnemonic, Dolph Lundgren plays a cybernetically-enhanced assassin who poses as a Warrior Monk and rants about religion while he beats on his marks.
  • The Paladins in Jumper are a Nebulous Evil Organisation of religious fanatics that have been operating since the medieval era who hunt down people with teleporting abilities simply because it's unnatural.
  • The Last Witch Hunter has Axe and Cross, Catholic Church-aligned organization set up to keep tabs on Mage Species. They have specialist prison, employ Clock Punk tech and have their own patterns of weapons — not to mention employing world's only immortal witch hunter.
  • Priest (2011): the titular "Priests" are a team of specialised, superhuman Vampire Hunters who are so aligned with combat that they have trouble fitting in when they are not needed.
  • The 1998 Dolph Lundgren movie The Minion has the Knights Templar (the organization, not the trope-type) survive into the present day as an Ancient Tradition tasked with preventing the awakening of the Anti-Christ. They used everything from spiked cesti to BFGs.
  • Something of an example occurs in two of the Trinity Spaghetti Western films.
    • In the first movie, Trinity and his brother Bambino (both are criminals themselves) assist some Amish settlers in fighting off Mexican marauders who take advantage of their vow of peace. By the end of the movie, Bambino and Trinity have taught the religious people how to defend themselves. The movie ends with the Amish people making a stand for themselves and defeating the Mexicans.
    • In the second movie, Trinity and Bambino wind up in a monastery where several criminals are hiding and pretending to be monks. When Bambino asks the true monks to raise their hands, everyone raises their hands. Trinity responds by saying, "Every monk who is a monk, hit a monk that ain't a monk."
  • The organization Van Helsing works for, comprised of the Vatican and representatives of other religions from around the world: one of their blacksmiths was noted saying "what in the name of Allah."

  • Santiago Matamoros, a Spanish depiction of Saint James the Great and one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ whom the Spaniards regards as their Patron Saint and named a military order after him. According to legend, he descended from Heaven mounted on a horse with sword in hand to defeat the Emirate of Córdoba during the Battle in Clavijo. Appropriately, Santiago's cross emblem resembles a sword.
  • Turpin, Archbishop of Rheims, and Don Jerome, bishop of Valencia after its conquest, serve as examples of this in the tales about Roland and El Cid, respectively. Both apparently used swords, at least in the stories.

  • In The Arts of Dark and Light, The Church maintains both religious military orders and a more prosaic security force of church soldiers to protect its properties and interests, entirely separate from the Republic's secular chain of command. This becomes significant in the civil war, when the Republic's government (and civilian control of the military) starts to break down.
  • In JH Brennan's Barmy Jeffers books, there is a literal Church Militant. Motto: "Bless 'em! Bash 'em! Hack 'em! Slash 'em!"
    • It's worth noting that because the Barmy Jeffers series was a conscious spoof of various tropes associated with Tabletop Roleplaying (and especially Dungeons & Dragons) this was a deliberate reference to D&D-style "Cleric" characters.
  • In Eddings's Belgariad/Mallorean, Torak had the Grolim priesthood.
  • A famous quote from The Bible says, "Upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." In other words, the Church is a Battering Ram, for besieging Hell.
  • Book of the Ancestor: The church of the Ancestor trains all novices in fighting. Among the nuns (it is probably similar for the monks, but they are out of focus) there are the vocations of a Red Sister (a highly trained fighter, to the point it needs a small army to win against one, also often supernaturally quick) and Grey Sister (trained in espionage, poisoning, deception and also fighting).
  • In Robert Rankin's The Book of Ultimate Truths, our heroes visit a monastery with a fully stocked armoury. Supposedly it's all standard Vatican issue.
    We're only lightweight tactical here. The Jesuits hold the nuclear stockpile.
  • Cestus Dei by John Maddox Roberts, set in a far future when a heavily reformed Catholic Church is a major spacefaring military power.
  • Vlad Tepes in Count and Countess. Just as in real life.
  • The Childe Cycle series has the Friendlies, on the planets Harmony and Association, exemplify this trope. The planets constantly have wars between the various sects. Oh, the Friendlies are also hired out as Cannon Fodder Mercs, their only major export.
  • The Catholic organization Opus Dei as seen through the filter of The Da Vinci Code. Various Real Life conspiracy theories place Opus Dei as in league with the Mafia, usually as money-launderers.
  • In the Devil Trilogy the religions of Vorg and Viguru reinstate their long-dormant military orders after an attack from the cult of Cataris. Many characters in the story worry that this might lead to another holy war.
  • The Dinosaur Lords: The Elite Army called the Companions is technically a militant order of the Church of the Creators, although they stray somewhat from the accepted doctrine and the Pope is looking for an excuse to disband them.
  • Discworld:
    • The Omnian theocracy in the novel Small Gods — combines the military-imperial aggression of medieval Islam with the paranoid doctrinal intolerance of medieval Catholicism. After the events of the book the religion mellows out somewhat, but is no less aggressively evangelical, so now Omnians travel door-to-door to distribute religious pamphlets and talk to people about Om. Most of their neighbors view this with equal dread, and end up hiding behind furniture when they see Omnian priests headed their way. This even extends to naming their children things like "Visit-The-Infidel-With-Explanatory-Pamphlets" and "Smite-The-Unbeliever-With-Cunning-Arguments".
    • In Carpe Jugulum, Mightily-Praiseworthy-Are-Ye-Who-Exalteth-Om Oats lets the Magpyrs know that he has come to bring forgiveness ... and that "Forgiveness" happens to be the name of his large, double-bladed battle axe.
    • In The Science of Discworld (Volume Four), it is revealed that the Omnian church has the uniformed and martial Sanitary Legion — a version of the Salvation Army, operating out of a Citadel in Ankh-Morpork.
  • In The Divine Comedy, the planet Mars is an sphere of Paradise of soldiers who died for God and his Church, inhabited with a giant squadron of dead martyrs and crusaders who eternally sing God's praise in a perfect formation shaped like the cross. There, Dante meets his own ancestor Cacciaguida (who died in the Second Crusade) and other warriors of the faith like Charlemagne, Roland and Godfrey of Bouillon, as well as Judas Maccabeus and Joshua, who were Jewish examples of this trope.
  • The Thirty, in David Gemmell's Drenai novels. They're also Exactly What It Says on the Tin — there's 30 of them. And they are badass.
  • Both played straight and subverted in The Dresden Files with the three Knights of the Cross aka Knights of the Sword. Michael, the most prominently featured Knight, is a devout Catholic who fights demons, fallen angels, ghosts, vampires, dragons and evil sorcerers with a divinely powered sword and improbable luck courtesy of divine intervention. However, the other two Knights are a) a self-proclaimed agnostic who fights evil purely for the sake of serving the common good, and b) a Japanese man who was only baptized by accident (but tries to be a good Christian anyway now that he is one). Averting the usual Knight Templar tendencies of Church Militants, all these Knights are practically Messianic Archetypes and try to save even the most twisted and corrupted of humans even if it means risking their lives for it. In fact, it's in the job description. And, as of Skin Game, Butters, a Jewish Knight of the Cross who fights evil with his faith... in the Force.
  • The Derethi from Elantris are a deeply hierarchical and militant religion, with their priesthood resembling a military as much, if not more so, than a clergy. Hrathen was sent to convert a neighboring nation, but failing that the plan is just to storm in and conquer them anyways. Derethi priests wear heavy armor as their vestments and Hrathen, despite technically being a high priest, is perhaps the most personally dangerous person in the book.
  • David Eddings's Elenium:
    • The four Orders of the Church Knights are an organization of elite trained mage-warriors who were created to defend 'the West' from the sorcerers, demon-summoners and necromancers of the Evil Empire and its Cthulhu-esque god. Ironically, they get their divine/magic powers from a different god than the one they supposedly worship, though they don't worry about it. Amusingly, a proposed experiment with drawing upon the power of their own God (who is, after all, one of the most powerful and most distant deities) is quite strongly rejected by the party's clergyman.
    • The Church Knights are the most visible within the narrative, technically cloistered orders who are also exceptionally skilled fighters but there are also two other groups. The first and most numerous are the Church Soldiers, lay members who serve as guards for assorted Church leaders and properties, many of whom are little better than mercenaries in the employ of corrupt Church officials. The last is a small group dedicated to protecting and guarding the local pope analogue and have a much better reputation in terms of personal integrity.
    • Eddings plays this on both sides of the coin, really, as all of Cyrgon's priests were warriors as well. Even the evil god Azash tried this as well, as a counter to the Church Knights, but neither Azash nor his high priest Otha could really comprehend the realities of it; the former was too elemental-minded and the latter was... well, to put it bluntly, too stupid.
  • Eurico the Presbyter: The titular protagonist is a priest-turned-knight that fights for Christendom and his land under invasion by Umayyad troops. It's also an notable medieval example that precedes The Crusades, since the Arab conquest of the Iberian penisula took place before the Crusades themselves were declared by a few centuries.
  • The Fraternity of the Stone (from the book of that title by David Morrell), a secret society dating back to the Crusades created in response to the Assassins. In modern times they serve as an intelligence (including assassination) arm of the church.
  • Mike Carey's Felix Castor novels has the Anathemata Curialis, a militant and officially excommunicated group fighting the return of the undead, partly by using the undead themselves, or any other means available.
  • The Order of Shadows from The Girl from the Miracles District used to be one, working as the hand of Catholic Church in the world of the supernatural, but eventually they went rogue and became Private Military Contractors.
  • Manfred and Eric in The Heirs of Alexandria are members of the Knights of the Holy Trinity ('Knots'), charged with fighting pagan sorceries and spirits.
  • Hyperion Cantos: The two Endymion books feature a rabid Vatican that exploits the resurrecting power of alien cruciforms to grant believers immortality. The Pope heads an aggressive crusade against "heretics" with interstellar warships, manned by Swiss Guard special forces.
  • The nuns from "Blood Sister: One Tough Nun", the fictional movie in the novel Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.
  • Journey to Chaos: Part of Neuro's job description as a priest in the Brotherhood of Death involves battling hostile spirits and criminal necrocraft users. He wields a scythe and death magic.
  • The Bright Hands from Lady Of Gems qualify as they literally give up their humanity so they can become magically equipped to hunt down Feasters.
  • The Licanius Trilogy features the gil'shar, who are technically a Desrielite religious organization. They just spend most of their time murdering Gifted, as they believe wielding Essence is heresy, and they even engage Andarra in open conflict by the end of the series.
  • The Little Sisters of the Immaculate Chainsaw in Simon R. Green's Nightside books.
    • Also the SAS (Salvation Army Sisterhood). Hard-core nuns of military persuasion, that have been banned and condemned by every branch of the Christian Church (though, they still hire SAS when all else has failed). SAS burns down satanist churches, performs exorcisms on politicians, and they once skinned and ate a werewolf. Save them all and let God sort them out, so to speak.
  • Pay Me, Bug!: The Empire of the Radiant Throne is one part theocracy, two parts authoritarian dictatorship.
  • The Reynard Cycle: The smith priests of Fenix the Firebird appear to engage in this. Besides the faith maintaining a monopoly on the production of the tools of war (weapons, armor, etc.), there are apparently "battle priests" present during the Battle of the Samara in The Baron of Maleperduys. Naturally, they wield war hammers.
  • The Rifter: The Payshmura Church trains all of their priests in combat forms, and occasionally weaponizes them against the populace. Once sect, the Kahlirash'im, takes it to an even greater extreme, filing their teeth into points, living in a temple that doubles as a fortress, and worshipping the Rifter, the destroyer aspect of the god Parfir.
  • The Riyria Revelations: Seret knights are the Nyphron Church's (and eventually, New Empire's) enforcers-cum-inquisition, beholden only to the Patriarch and Sentinels.
  • The Saxon Stories: There is a certain Father Pyrlig, who relies on people assuming fat men can't fight. Usually by the time they realise that they can, they're dead. There is also a One-Scene Wonder Abbot, an ex-soldier who the main character notices is carry a BFA (Like BFS but with an axe), a heavily used one with notches. When the narrator enquires after it, he is cheerfully told, "It is sent many a pagan to Hell, Lord." Since the Abbot has a large scar on his face, you believe it.
  • The Screwtape Letters: The demonic narrator describes the church as seen from the spiritual dimension (where things that seem mundane to humans, such as a simple prayer, take on very real and tangible consequences) as an army arrayed against demonkind.
    "…the Church as we see her, spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners…"
  • Shattered Twilight: The Church of the Silver Crown has two orders of openly militant clergy (the Purgatai and the Justicai) as well as a standing army, the White Guard.
  • In John Barnes's Sin of Origin the Christian Commonwealth has a renewed Knights Templar as its military wing. They're actually the good guys, more or less.
  • The Lord's Resistance Army in Someone Else's War.
  • The Faith Militant, or Swords and Stars, in A Song of Ice and Fire consists of two armed orders: the Warrior's Sons and the Poor Fellows. The former is made up of knights and nobles, while the latter's members are commoners. Both of these orders were banned for over two hundred years, but Cersei Lannister resurrects them as part of a political bargain with the Faith. The carnage of the ongoing wars creates a major revival in religious fervor, causing both orders to swell in rank and rapidly become uncontrollable. By the end of A Feast for Crows, the results of an implosion of machinations include Cersei being arrested by the Faith.
    • There are also the Bearded Priests of Norvos, who are famously armed with double-headed axes.
    • The Faith of R'hllor has its own example with the Fiery Hand, who are slave soldiers charged with protecting their red temples. They wield spears with fire shaped points and have flame slave brands on their faces. Other groups similarly affiliated with the Lord of Light include Queen Selyse Baratheon's knights who have converted to its faith and are regarded as very fundamentalists for wanting to burn disbelievers.
  • Special Circumstances: While the Special Circumstances personnel do "kick ass for the Lord" (or whatever deity[ies] they worship), it's not done specifically in service to their religion. The one exception is the associated Roman Catholic Church group Opus Dei, which is treated as a SWAT team for the Church, and whose presence is noted to mean that there's some serious trouble ahead.
  • The Church of Lumin in Stories of Nypre may not seem militant at first. Then you realize the priestesses who run the place also serve as commanders of Lumin's army and are quite quick to dispatch them in an attempt to control magic in the world.
  • Stranger in a Strange Land features "Fosterism", a parody of American televangelism on one level but very much Church Militant in a political sense.
  • Tortall Universe: Beka Cooper mentions "warrior [women] with sickles" from a temple who punish violations of the "Goddess's Law concerning women". Given that said priestesses are mentioned in reference to a man notorious for roving hands, it's not hard to imagine the gist of the Law. In the trilogy's second book, some of the Goddess' warrior priestesses assist in bringing down the criminals controlling Port Caynn. The priestesses, in fact, are first mentioned in the Song of the Lioness quartet.
  • The Traitor Son Cycle has the Order of St. Thomas, a religious order of Magic Knights raised to fight against the Wild. They're extremely well-trained and so silent, even the Wild can't detect them.
  • David Weber uses this trope a lot in his various stories.
    • In his novel Crusade in the Starfire series, an alien race believes that Earth is their heaven and that humans have poisoned it so they go out to take care of things.
    • In his Safehold series, the main villains are the corrupt heads of the Church of God Awaiting, who have deified the very person to have orbitally bombarded the planet and sent them back into medievalism centuries earlier.
      • Specifically, the Temple Guard forms the backbone of their forces, as well as providing the role of the military equivalent for the lands directly administered by the Church.
    • Honor Harrington has the Masadans as the dark side of this trope.
    • Yet another example in The War Gods: Tomanak, the local war god, has the most notable ones in his Order, but other deities are mentioned to have their own, smaller fighting forces, such as the Axes of Isvaria to name but one.
  • Vigor Mortis The 'creatively' named Templars of the Church of the Mistwatcher act as general enforcers and special forces for the kingdom.
  • The short story "The Way of Cross and Dragon" by George R. R. Martin. The protagonist is a Catholic Inquisitor traveling among (mostly) human colony-worlds to put down heresy.
  • The Children of the Light/Whitecloaks in The Wheel of Time, a militant religious organization resembling the Knights Templar and Crusaders and mainly dedicated to calling people Darkfriends and executing them for looking at them funny, besides calling all the magic users (Aes Sedai) witches and assassinating or outright killing them whenever possible. Despite every other country but Amador (their base) hating their guts, they are for some reason given free passage into any country as long as they are only in small numbers (however they break this rule constantly), and don't cause any trouble (again, they break this rule constantly). It is mentioned that 50% of the common people supposedly like them, which may be the reason rulers tolerate them, but Jordan never bothered to show any common people doing anything but cowering in fear when they come by, so...
    • At one point Thom Merrilin's reaction to a statement by Elayne suggests that the Lord Captain Commander of the Whitecloaks, then Pedron Niall, was close to or more powerful than the Queen of Andor, one of the more powerful of the nations, as there are apparently Whitecloaks in and from every land. The 'from' bit is as close as indicating they have large scale support as exists, one supposes.
  • The Twisted Cross in the Wingman series by Mack Maloney features friars in the South American jungles who defend their mission from regular raids from bandits and Neo-Nazi invaders. A group of them, including their leaders, later join the protagonist on his journey to stop the Nazis from finding hidden Incan gold to fund their war effort and plant nuclear mines in the Panama Canal to keep control of it.
  • The Church in The Witch Watch are a Running Gag mainly seem to exist to kill things and burn evidence.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's World of the Five Gods series features two groups of church militants. In the polytheistic Quintarian religion, men who pledge their oaths to The Son of Autumn are the Army, while those who join the order of The Daughter of Spring maintain order within the country's borders.
  • Xenos:
    • Order of the Maker's Hand, essentially the armed branch of the Arland Church. Individual members are respectfully addressed as paladins, colloquially as "handies".
    • The clerics of Belgor, due to the city's unique status and the proximity of the Blight, are all proficient warriors.
    • Saint Irdis' Order. Technically, this order is tasked with preaching and political issues, e.g. serving as clerics at royal courts. Joining this order requires to have completed some sort of military career, though. Saint Irdis' branches are, with rare exceptions, located on the Ritum continent and involved in the war against the elven empire of Ritum.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Minbari Religious Caste in Babylon 5. They hold off the Shadows practically on their own while the warrior-caste stays home.
  • Bonekickers: An evil example are the antagonists in "Army Of God", the series' pilot, a far-right Christian group who based themselves on the historical Knights Templar. They wanted to wage a new crusade against Muslims and all other people whom they considered "ungodly" in the UK. Accordingly, the members arm themselves with Medieval swords and wear tabards like knights.
  • Cluedo: When his church is desecrated by a group of hippies, the Reverend Green borrows one of Mrs Peacock's shotguns, although it is not clear what he does with it.
    Mrs White: You're not going to shoot that horrible young man, are you?
    Reverend Green: You've heard of the church militant? From tonight, I'm it.
  • Cursed (2020): The Catholic Church in the series is portrayed as having an army called the Red Paladins who hunt down Fey, whom they have deemed demons. There is also another force called the Trinity Guards which is said to be even more fearsome. Pope Abel threatens Father Carden with the Trinity Guards now usurping the Red Paladins if he is unable to produce results in the hunt for Nimue.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Time of Angels"/"Flesh and Stone": "Father Octavian, Sir. Bishop, 2nd class. Twenty clerics at my command. The troops are already in the Drop Ship and landing shortly." According to the Doctor, "It's the 51st Century. The Church has moved on."
    • The year afterwards, we got a villainous example in "A Good Man Goes to War". The rank-and-file soldiers mostly seem like ordinary people (there's even a married gay couple), but the Headless Monks are — well, the name kind of sums it up. Oddly, they seem to be made up of different denominations — the married couple are Anglican, but their colonel refers to a "Papal Mainframe". (Granted, the same colonel mentions the Queen and it's three thousand years in the future, so it's not too unreasonable to suppose that the Catholic and Anglican churches have merged, along with the Army by then.)
      • The army is explicitly a task force made out of a levy of allied political entities with the specific aim of taking down the Doctor. The "Gamma Girl" is from a world that is mentioned as being "Heaven Neutral", making her presence odd since they apparently aren't involved in this conflict. This could mean that most soldiers at this time in history are "clerics", or, possibly, that the conflict with the Doctor is a holy war that all the denominations have agreed upon.
    • "The Time of the Doctor" featured the Papal Mainframe (first mentioned in "A Good Man Goes to War"; Colonel Manton's edict to lower the Headless Monks' hoods came "by the divine grant of the Papal Mainframe herself" and revealed that it is actually a massive space church built into a starship, and that it is commanded by an old friend of the Doctor's named Tasha Lem. The church functioned as an "intergalactic UN", and strove to maintain peace and security. Although at first benevolent (like the clerics seen in Series 5), they and the Doctor became entangled in a predicament which prompted Tasha to issue an "unscheduled faith change", dedicating the church to the purpose of keeping the Doctor from speaking his name on Trenzalore to release the Time Lords (which would incite another Time War), and declaring that only the Doctor's silence would fall on Trenzalore. It was also revealed that the memory-proof Silents that appeared in Series 6 are the church's genetically-engineered "confessional priests", and that the iteration of the church that was seen in "A Good Man Goes to War" was a Renegade Splinter Faction led by Madame Kovarian that resorted to extremism in order to maintain the Doctor's silence, by travelling back along his timeline and attempting to kill him (via blowing up his TARDIS in Series 5 and training River to assassinate him in Series 6) so that he could never go to Trenzalore in the first place (although, in reality, they just ended up creating the very situation that they were trying to prevent).
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Much like its literary counterpart, it has the Faith Militant. However, the television version of the Faith Militant is even more frightening and fanatical than the literary version. Whereas the book version of the order is portrayed in a morally ambiguous light (they do good deeds such as protecting the common people from bandits, and mostly come across as Westeros' answer to real-world military monastic orders such as the Templars, Hospitallers etc), the television version of the Faith Militant are basically the Westeros version of the Taliban, raiding the streets and brothels to clamp down on sinful behavior. It was disbanded 200 years before the start of the series for causing problems for the monarchy at the time. And now thanks to Cersei they're causing problems for the entire noble class. Way to go, Queeny.
    • However, at the end of Season 6, having caused those problems in the first place, Cersei then cleans up after herself by solving all of those problems for her and the rest of Kings Landing courtesy of some well-placed wildfire detonation.
  • The Good Lord Bird: John Brown is a very proud Christian, and his path of faith is one laced with gunpowder against those who would support slavery. This also goes for his army, who share his views by and large (though with less fervor most times).
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    • The Spanish Inquisition is an example of this, but they are very incompetent at it.
  • In The Orville, the Krill are a hostile race of religious fanatics, who believe that their god Avis (yes, one character comments that it sounds like a car rental company) has given souls to them alone and that all other races are little more than animals. They use that justification to attack anyone they wish, claiming that the entire universe is theirs by divine right. As far as they're concerned, anyone who kills a Krill in self-defense is a soulless monster. It's stated to be unusual among the galactic races, as many races tend to abandon religion once they discover that they're not alone. Mercer suggests that the root of the Krill zealotry is fear, not that they would admit it.
  • Timmy Kirk from Oz, who beats other inmates to force them to convert to Protestantism, and then works to ruin the lives of Reverend Cloutier and Father Mukada for having the gall to be disgusted by it.
  • One episode of Supernatural featured the Covenant Lutheran Militia who patrolled with a fire-truck filled with holy water.
  • Ultraviolet (1998). A vampire claims that the vampire-killing organisation is funded by the Vatican, specifically the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (AKA The Spanish Inquisition) but Pearse states that the British government considers the vampire threat to be an issue of public health and defense, granting it funding and support from both the Army and the British Centre for Disease Control. Pearse is a militant Catholic priest, but disdainfully remarks that "the Church doesn't like to talk about evil these days", implying that he's lost his standing because of his views.
  • The Wheel of Time (2021): The Children of the Light, colloquially known as Whitecloaks due to their uniforms, are an armed Crusader/Inquisition like group devoted to hunting down Aes Sedai, female magic users whom they believe to be evil, serving the Dark One.

  • Dice Funk: Anne sees herself as this to the church of Avandra, although it is unclear if she is actually carrying out the will of the faith, or just overly eager and violent.
  • Wormwood: A Serialized Mystery: He's Grail. Bishop Elias Grail of the Roman Catholic Church. And he's here to drive all the evil from the town of Wormwood by whatever violent means necessary.

  • Open Blue features the Order of Saint Lennox, which is more or less the Avelian Church's Inquisition. Suffice to say, even after the inquisition, they teach their preists (and maybe even nuns) to use a sword or two... or three... or six... This is likely because the Order sends many of its priests off as chaplains on Avelian warships, and in a time of pirates, you can never be too careful. The Order of Saint Clara trains nuns to fight against black magic and The Legions of Hell.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy: The Church of Abel, complete with monks who use martial arts, countless knights orders, and an Inquisition whose members more often that not are very proficient in combat (and when not, they've magic and the like at their disposal). When your Crystal Dragon Jesus and his followers were kicking supernatural asses elsewhere, that's something to be expected.
  • BattleTech:
    • Clan Cloud Cobra are known for as "the clergy of the Clans". Being founded by a Chaplain, the Cloud Cobras all follow a ecumenical religious movement called "The Way', although they have subdivisions based on Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and other faiths.
    • Comstar and its offshoot, the Word of Blake, who elevated the preservation of knowledge to a religion — then started nuking people. Comstar's own army, hilariously enough, were composed of people that were Mechwarriors first and lacked the fanaticism found in other Comstar branches, as well as seeing machines less as objects of reverence and more as tools they're quite fond of. When the zealots broke off and formed the Word, the Com Guards had the smallest losses of personnel.
    • Of smaller scope is the Brotherhood of Randis, a small and exclusive order of philosophical and devout Christians. Originally little more than a mercenary unit with high ideals and really bad management, since the 3050s they've become known throughout the Periphery for performing works of charity, setting up missions and schools, and dispensing brutal asskickings to pirates.
  • Chess — at least the standard version — has the Bishop. The French, however, call this piece the Fool instead, while the Russians (and Chinese in Xiangqi, where it is somewhat different}} call it the elephant, and the Germans call it the runner. The piece was originally the elephant in Chaturanga.
  • Cyber Europe, an expansion to Iron Crown's Cyber Space RPG introduces some hotshot special forces of the Vatican, such as the Apostolic Carabiniers SWAT unit and a Mission-Impossible-ish intelligence service, managed by Jesuits. These organizations are consistently portrayed as (reasonably) good guys, which is surprising since the authors are all Swedes.
  • The Dark Eye: There are numerous churches that fit this trope. The churches of the two primary War Gods — Rondra, goddess of honorable battle, and her son Kor, god of war, bloodshed and mercanaries — are at the forefront, but most churches have an order or two that is more militant than the rest of the church.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Cleric is a playable class in basically every edition and paladins were added in 3rd edition. There are no restrictions on which deity you serve, so apparently every religion includes at least a subsection fighters, with some apparantly including training in heavy armor. While early editions mostly had the cleric as a support or healer, from third edition on Clerics have considerably more direct combat power as well. Paladin are even more combat-capable, having access to better armor and weapons by default, and have the signature move of Smite Evil (And its partner, Detect Evil), but are much more limited magically.
    • While it's basically assumed that any Player Character is an atleast somewhat capable combatant, among NPCs there are those mean to represent something closer to your average non-combatant cleric, called the Acolyte in fifth edition. They're basically just a random commoner with a couple of spells. Higher level Clergy are generally still pretty dangerous, with a Priest having spellcasting equal to a level 5 player and archpriests being equivalent to 14th level players (in a game where the max level is 20, for reference). Basically D&D runs heavily on Rank Scales with Asskicking so it's safe to assume that the higher up someone is in an orginization's hirearchy (religious or otherwise) the more likely it is that they can kick your ass.
    • And the Cloistered Cleric variant, who gets marginally more weapons and armor training than the average wizard. From the Greyhawk campaign setting: Heironeous, whose clerics are soldiers, making them a literal Church Militant, Saint Cuthbert, whose followers can be ... enthusiastic at times about evangelizing, and who opposed evil with a passion, and Pholtus, whose inquisitions you probably don't expect, particularly from a non-evil church.
    • In 4th edition, the Avenger class are clerics mixed with rogues to become assassins of God.
    • Last but not least Druids, who have strong ties with nature (nature deities or not), the big flexibility the Wildshape ability gives them, and spells.
    • Eberron: All clerics are holy knights, most ordinary priests are just adepts or experts. The Church of the Silver Flame are particularly well known for their zealotry.
    • It's worth of note that back in the AD&D times, in the Forgotten Realms setting the very least, things were more varied with available classes including besides the standard cleric and "specialty priests" — which had exclusive notes and requirements for them and could be quite different of the former class, with all deities having at least the latter one — monks, shamans, crusaders, mystics, paladins, and druids, each church having more or less of those (if any) and even others not listed here.
  • Exalted:
    • The Immaculate Order are a domatic monastic order of Dragon-Blooded who hold most other supernatural entities — other Exalted, the Fair Folk, the dead, demons, rogue gods — to be abominations, and make their feelings on this subject known through use of Supernatural Martial Arts and Elemental Powers.
    • Peleps Deled, a Water Aspected Dragon-Blood who would (and has) kill someone for disagreeing with him on the smallest and most trivial parts of the Immaculate Doctrine.
    • The Zenith Caste of Solar Exalted are inherently priests of the Unconquered Sun intended to preach the word of Heaven and inspire the masses with their raw charisma and social strength, and, given that they are Celestial Exalts, spend most of their time fighting injustice and beating the snot out of creatures of darkness, Eldritch Abominations and other enemies of Creation.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Warhammer:
      • In the Empire, all major religions (apart from the cult of Shallya, Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, and Ranald, God of Thieves) have their own military branches associated with them, both in the form of temple guards and the like, and in the form of militant orders. Naturally, the more warlike the god, the larger the militant following.
      • Ulric, god of Survival, Wrath and Winter, is one of the Empire's War Gods, and his priests often lead armies into battle. Ulric's followers are forbidden from wearing helmets or skins from wolves they didn't personally kill with weapons of their own manufacture, since they are expected to show courage and self-reliance. Ulric-worshippers are common in every battle-line in The Empire. The cult also sponsors an order of knights, the Knights of the White Wolf.
      • Sigmar, the first Emperor of the Empire, is venerated as its founder, uniter and protector, and, as such, his priests can be found in many capacities throughout The Empire. The War Priesthood are sent out to lead the Empire's armies and bolster morale when fighting Chaos, so that the men can feel Sigmar's will is with them. The iconic face of the Church Militant in the game is the War Priest of Sigmar, with shaved head, orange robes, plate armor and warhammer.
      • The Witch Hunters are a less obvious example, but they are still an order of the priesthood of Sigmar, who will travel the Empire and root out Chaos, unsanctioned magic and other unwholesome practices with nothing more than a pistol and a prayer, and succeed more often than not.
      • The third war god (yes, the Empire is the kind of place that needs three separate war gods), Myrmidia, is associated with strategy, disciplined soldiery, and martial honor. She is more worshipped in Tilea and Estalia, and her worship has only recently spread to the Empire, but she is popular among officers and Combat Aestheticists. Myrmidia's knightly order is the Knights of the Blazing Sun, who, while not large, steadily gain in popularity.
      • Bretonnia has a borderline example in the Grail Knights. Grail Knigths are the pinnacle of Bretonnian chivalry, knights who have, through long years of questing and chivalrous acts proven themselves worthy to see the Lady of the Lake, Bretonnias patron Goddess, and drink from the Grail. Drinking from the Grail embues these knights with power beyond that of mortal men, their infirmities are cured and their eyes glow with green light. Some Grail Knights swear themselves to the service of the Bretonnian King (the King is the only lord in the realm who is required to be a Grail Knight, and no Grail Knight would ever put himself in a position where he might have to serve someone who wasn't one), but most either travel the countryside fighting bandits, orcs and beastmen (inevitably attracting an entourage of peasants who see the knight as the Lady's will made manifest) or settle in a small Grail chapel somewhere and tend it for the rest of their lives (subsisting on donations from pilgrims who see the knight as the Lady's will made manifest).
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • The Imperium is one massive Church Militant — the government wear habits (and brandish laser-pistols when they aren't carrying something heavier like plasma or bolt pistols), while the police force is more concerned with heresy than crime. Ordinary Imperial planets hold colossal celebrations of the Emperor on innumerable Saints days (while brandishing yet more laser pistols). They also have a permanent Inquisition which acts as State Sec, armies of power-armored, gun-, and flamethrower-wielding nuns, and a tremendous amounts of religious iconography and fanaticism that characterize the "normal" soldiers. This is probably a good thing, given that if you believe in false gods, the false gods can not only manifest in reality, but tear you a new bunghole in the process.
      • Sisters of Battle fit this trope moreso than any other Imperial faction, as their faith manifests as an in-game mechanic, as well as fighting with a Living Saint, the corpse of a martyr apparently ressurected through sheer force of will (or faith).
      • The Frateris Militia deserve a mention — badly equipped zealots raised at short notice by the Ecclesiarchy (Imperial Church, actually not much different from the Medieval Catholic Church 'IN SPACE!')
      • The (even more) evil version is the Word Bearers, a Chaos Space Marine chapter who are fanatical worshipers of the Chaos Gods. They actually made a Face–Heel Turn because The Emperor didn't want to be worshiped. Khorne's followers in general qualify. The Blood God (aka the Lord of Skulls) has no interest in churches, altars or prayers. All he wants from his followers is to fight, kill, spill blood and collect skulls or die trying.
      • Almost every faction has this to a degree. The Tau follow the words of their religious Ethereals without question, the Orks fight for the flimsiest justification for Gork (or possibly Mork). The Eldar Aspect Warriors all embody an aspect of their war god, Khaine, the Harlequins serve the Laughing God, and so on. The only ones who don't have these are the Dark Eldar (who only care for themselvesnote ), the Tyranids (who have no concept of gods), and the Necrons (who enslaved their gods).
    • Necromunda: The Cult of the Redemption are a highly violent offshoot of the Imperial Cult native to the planet that has since spread to the wider Imperium. The Cult aggressively persecute anyone who deviates from their strict beliefs of physical and spiritual purity and launch armed crusades against the deviant inhabitants of the underhive.
  • Feng Shui: The Sisters of Mercy from the supplement Glimpse of the Abyss are a convent of Nuns With Guns based in the Netherworld who hunt down and kill those whom their Mother Superior deems to be deserving of the respite of death from the suffering the Sisters believe life to be. Those whose names end up on the Rolls of Mercy and are targeted for "deliverance" often aren't so keen on dying.
  • Infinity gives this in spades. Most factions have either a Buddhist, Catholic/Christian, or Islamic militant sect, and Pan-Oceania goes so far as to have a special sectorial force focused on Knightly Orders resurrected by the Catholic Church.
  • Macho Women with Guns has only three character classes: Bimbos, Succubi, and Combat Nuns. I'm sorry, "Sisters of Our Lady of Harley Davidson".
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The Cathars of the Church of Avacyn on Innistrad are a Cathloic-aeshtetic religious order consisting of knights charged with fighting off the numerous horrors that stalk their world's knight. The angels in Innistrad are also divided into several groups, and one of them, the Goldnight, serves as their militant arm.
    • The Legion of Dusk from Ixalan are an monastic order of vampires driven to rid the world of vice and sin, and are driven to only feed on the blood of the guilty such enemies of war, rebels of the state and heretics. Unfortunately, because of their loose definition of whom they consider "guilty" that includes innocents as well.
  • Mutant Chronicles has the Brotherhood which is a militant religious order made by an Ancient Conspiracy to fight against the forces of the Dark Symmetry.
  • New World of Darkness:
    • Hunter: The Vigil:
      • The Malleus Maleficarum are a secret arm of the Vatican dedicated to hunting down monsters (and usually of the "suffer not a witch to live" ethos).
      • The Long Night are a loose group of pre-millennialist American fundamentalists who believe that Judgement Day is on the horizon, but that Christ will not come into His Kingdom until humanity has rid itself of its sins — and what could be sinful that monsters?
      • The Knights of St. George are an Anglican group that focuses mainly on demons and sorcerers... on the surface. In truth, their leadership believes that the only true gods are beings called the "Faceless Angels", which will destroy the world should they ever wake — and that magic is like a loud alarm clock right in their ears.
      • One of the three factions of the Ascending Ones, the Knife of Paradise, consists of devout Muslims and Christians, with a strong Jewish minority, dedicated to the hunt against monsters.
      • Hunter the Vigil: Skin and Bones, a fan supplement, adds three more. The Army of Light are a Baha'i conspiracy united by the arrival of a "conduit" that allows them to teleport and telepathically communicate with each other. The Aves Minerva are worshippers of the Roman goddess who hold it as their sacred duty to seek out and destroy magic, and claim that their powers are from Invocations of Minerva's strength. The Chosen of Kroll, apparently in service to "the dread lord Kroll", believe that it is their sacred mission to hunt down and destroy all reanimated creatures.
    • Werewolf: The Forsaken: The Fire-Touched, one of the Pure Tribes that rejects service to Luna in favor of fighting the Forsaken, see their undertaking as a holy cause and their tribal totem as a near-divine prophet. They're about equally happy to convert or kill their foes.
  • Old World of Darkness: The Society of Leopold, your basic secret Catholic monster hunters.
  • Rocket Age: The Order of the Sacred Hamaxe form war-bands made up of members from every Martian caste and roam around performing exorcisms as well as fighting dangerous animals and bandits. Unusually a band member of any caste can become a war-priest, although they are usually Kastari.
  • Savage Worlds: In Necropolis 2350, Salus (more commonly known as Necropolis) the only inhabitable planet remaining for humanity, is under attack from the undead alien Rahaim. To counter the Rahaim threat, there emerged the tyrannical Third Reformation Church and its militant branches the Sacri Ordines.
  • Star Realms: The Machine Cult. Being surrounded by a hostile alien species means the Cult has to have a well-armed star fleet just to survive. In addition, one of the Cult's Hero cards is the War Elder.
  • Talislanta allows players to become (among other things) any one of several types of intolerant cleric. Although few have any spellcasting abilities, these classes are interesting in that they are the only characters that come with the "torture" skill.

    Video Games 
  • It's fairly common for Eastern RPGs to have Catholic monks as brass knuckle-wearing rosary-carrying hand-to-hand fighters. Ragnarok Online especially seems to depict them as being the cross between Catholic priests and Shaolin monks.
  • Absented Age: Squarebound: Spirits like Tarte and Hoop hunt down Gangers on behalf of the Elicio Church, since the Gangers are threatening the safety of the Driftworld. Unfortunately, the church also wants to suppress non-Ganger abnormalities, such as Karen, who is a pseudo-ghost.
  • Anonym, a revolver-dual-wielding nun (whose stage is an empty cathedral in Hong Kong) in the doujin Fighting Game Akatsuki Blitzkampf. She works for the Vatican's Secret Club, which opposes the heretic villains of the story.
  • Marie D'Artois in Anno 1404 is very enthusiastic about leading the armies of the crusade, and she's damn good at it. This somewhat ironically makes her somewhat easier to manipulate, as she will do almost anything if adequately convinced it is what God wishes her to do: including destroy the homes of innocent people she's been lead to think are heathens.
  • The Church of Elemia from Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, as evidenced by Cardinal Radolf's really nice spear. This is because Bishop Falss formed them with the intent to invade Platina.
  • Elsa la Conti and Clarice di Lanza of Arcana Heart, a pair of nuns who work for the Western Europe Spirit Sector. Elsa has a large cross used similar to a tonfa, as well as a gun, a whip, holy water, and other weapons for dealing with demons, spirits and the like. Clarice...doesn't need any of that stuff because she herself is a demon.
  • The Penitent One in Blasphemous is a member of a religious congregation known as the Silent Sorrow who is dropped into an haunted city and starts slaying zombies, demons and monsters with a BFS, prayer beads and holy relics in combat. He also fights against the Anointed Legion, a pious brotherhood of elite knights and warriors created by decree of His Holiness Escribar to fight in his name and the Church.
  • In Bloodborne, the Healing Church has multiple armed organizations under its control, including the Church Hunters, the Executioners, and the Choir. The Church Hunters are a subset of the Hunters employed directly by the Church, the Executioners are an elite force of holy warriors employed to bring the most dangerous heretics to justice, and the Choir are an elite group of mystics who (while primarily scholars) have access to some of the most formidable magic spells in the game. Notably, numerous bosses in the game—including the Cleric Beast, Father Gascoigne, Vicar Amelia, and Martyr Logarius—are ordained members of the Healing Church, as implied by their names.
  • Bloodline Champions has the Guardian and Inhibitor bloodlines, which both are this in job description.
  • The Gunslinger-turned-Reverend Ray McCall in Call of Juarez.
  • Games of the Castlevania series set closer to the modern day depict "The Church" this way. Said church is rather open-minded, having "Church Witches" in high ranking positions. Not surprising; Dracula tended to kill off anyone the Belmonts weren't protecting, and they were fond of white-magic users, especially the Belnades clan. It's been retconned that Sypha Belnades worked for the Church and was on a mission for them when Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse took place.
    • The Belmonts themselves are descended from Leon Belmont, a Crusades veteran.
  • Civilization series:
    • In Civilization IV, certain AI personalities (Isabella of Spain, for example) are religious zealots.
    • Civilization V: Gods and Kings has one religious belief called "holy warriors," which allows you to buy pre-industrial units with faith instead of gold or production. However, there is no gameplay of cosmetic differences between holy warriors or normal units.
    • Civilization: Beyond Earth:
      • High-level Affinity units sometimes approach this from the opposite direction — while their military pedigree is obvious, as they develop, Affinities tend to go from strictly practical philosophies of development to rigid and dogmatic ideologies, to the level of out-and-out religions. This is especially true of the Purity Affinity and its ultimate unit, the LEV Destroyer (a floating citadel/artillery unit that wouldn't look out of place on a Warhammer 40,000 battlefield). Individual Destroyers have "reliquaries" that hold items from Earth or the possessions of first-generation colonists, and bear names like "St. Germaine's Destroyer".
      • Supremacy makes a decent stab at this via Machine Worship (specifically the idolization of post-human cybernetics). Of particular note is their affinity-specific victory, which involves sending military units back to Earth to "Emancipate" (read: conquer) the non-augmented humans.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars : Kane's Wrath introduces the post-Second Tiberium War Black Hand, a powerful Nod faction composed of highly trained religious zealots with an obsessive tendency to equip all their squads with flamethrower weaponry. Additionally, these guys have a tendency to resist incredible amounts of damage and fight harder than any other faction due to their fervent religious beliefs.
  • Conqueror's Blade: The Order of the Sword, around which Season XVII: Knightfall is themed, is a religious knightly order (based on the real-life Teutonic Order) whose members are all awesome fighters. And just look at their in-game voice lines:
    "Heretics beware!"
    "Die, heretic!"
  • Crying Suns: The Church of Singularity, like all the galaxy’s major factions, has its own fleet of battleships. Their ships can mount the most guns of any battleship class, and they will eagerly use them against sinners.
  • There are tons of examples in Dark Age of Camelot, most notably the Cleric, Paladin, and Friar of the vaguely medieval Catholic church in Albion, and perhaps the best example in Midgard, where even the 'wizard' classes use piety instead of intelligence to determine their spell strength, and each class has its own Norse patron deity (For example: Odin for Runemasters, Hel for Spiritmasters, Thor for Thanes, and Loki for Shadowblades).
  • Party members in Darklands who have a clerical background would be this. The Knights Templar are also powerful enemies in this game. During a random encounter, the local bishop may demand a special tithe for the right to travel his lands. Should the party refuse and attack, he will fight them along his retinue.
  • In Dead Space, by the time of the third game, some Unitologists have taken up arms and are activating Markers everywhere they can.
  • The Scorn in Destiny are a Fallen faction made up of insane cultists and worshipers of the Darkness. While several alien species worship it to some extent like the Vex and the Hive or at least revere it for their strength like the Cabal, the Scorn are the ones who fit this particular trope the most to the point they resemble dark crusaders.
  • Every major religion in Diablo has some kind of military force to protect people from the forces of the Burning Hells.
    • The Church of Zakarum has the paladins, who were founded to protect the monks who were meant to spread the religion. For some reason, the kind, generous, armed knights were more inspiring to the populace than the monks. They faded from view once Zakarum fell under the influence of Mephisto and no longer put a lot of effort into converting people, only to make a comeback when the Prime Evils started attacking the mortal world, and Zakarum started converting again. This time, anyone inconvertible was deemed evil and killed. A small band, including any paladin player characters from Diablo II, chose to go rogue, and directly confront the Prime Evils. They later discovered that the church they served was corrupt, and had to face several enemies that were themselves examples of this trope.
    • An earlier offshoot of the Church of Zakarum, the Crusaders, make their return in the expansion to Diablo III. This order was originally formed two hundred years before the events of III, when the corruption within the Church was noticed by a high-ranking church official. The Crusaders are tasked with finding and eradicating the corruption within the Churchnote . The Crusaders had disappeared into the far eastern parts of the world and were initially thought lost for good, but their crusade — passed on from mentor to novice through the generations — eventually led them back into the western world.
    • In Diablo IV, the Cathedral of Light has become the dominant religion in the world. Their standing army is the Knights Penitent, trained in combat to fight beside the angel Inarius for the day he makes war with Hell.
  • Dishonored: The Overseers are the militant faction of the Abbey of the Everyman. Their primary objective is to stand against the Outsider and basically anything that is supernatural. They are most notable for the creepy masks they wear, which are actually bulletproof, and the "music boxes" some of them carry, which repress any magical ability and damage anything supernatural.
  • Doom (2016) and its sequel Doom Eternal has the Night Sentinels, an order of holy space knights in service to the celestial Maykrs. Their prowess in battle was second to none; they only lost their lengthy war against Hell itself due to treachery from within (as it turned out that the Maykrs themselves were allied with Hell), and at one point, the Doom Slayer himself led their armies. They even wear armor resembling those of medieval crusaders (which even comes with a few cross motifs).
  • Dota 2: Chen.
    • "You can learn faith at the end of a sword."
  • Dragon Age:
    • The Templar Order exists to carry out the Chantry's (church's) will using military might. They're trained to be skilled at fighting mages, in order to ensure that all mages in the chantry's territory (they intend to become the main religion of the world) are aligned with the chantry. By Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Chantry has completely lost control of the Templars, as they break away feeling that their efforts haven't been greatly appreciated and that the Chantry isn't being militant enough in the current Civil War against the mages.
    • The Seekers of Truth, who answer solely to the Divine herself. They primary serve as a check and a balance to the Templar Order, working to investigate any signs of corruption or dissent within its ranks. Other Seekers work to protect the Chantry from threats, both external and internal.
    • On a character level, Leliana. While not an ordained member of the Chantry (she never got around to her vows), she's very open about her faith. Her skills were also learned in her life prior to finding religion, but she's not above using them in what she believes is a divinely directed mission to aid the Warden.
    • Following in a similar vein, Prince Sebastian Vael in Dragon Age II, an ordained brother in the Chantry who takes his faith very seriously. While he's mostly pacifistic, he's not above lending his bow to help curb the more criminal elements present in Kirkwall, as well as deal with rogue Mages. He slips towards the more militant side after Anders blows up the Chantry and kills the Grand Cleric. If Hawke does not execute Anders, Sebastian openly declares his intention to head to Starkaven and raise an army, then return and raze Kirkwall to the ground.
    • The Qunari have no deities, but their philosophical leaders have an arm devoted to enforcing the Qun in their territory. This group is known as the Ben-Hassrath, and are considered priests rather than soldiers.
    • Subverted with the Inquisition from the third game. They were initially meant to be this as Divine Justinia was looking to assemble them to bring the warring Templars and Mages back to heel. The Breach halted these plans since it killed everyone in the gathering and the Inquisition was reborn separated from the Chantry whose purpose is to seal the Breach, find the ones responsible for opening it and restoring order to the continent. They have some religious members (including the Inquisitor if they so much choose) but the order is very secular in nature, incorporating many anti-Chantry ideals.
    • The Blades of Hessarian in Inquisition are an minor example. They were an Andrastian cult that follows the example of Hessarian, the Archon of Tevinter that converted to the Chant after regretting killing Andraste and regards themselves as instruments of her wrath against the corrupt. They are initially enemies found in the Storm Coast, but under the right circumstances, they can be recruited to the Inquisition and declare their complete loyalty to the Herald of Andraste.
  • The Apostles in Dreamfall: The Longest Journey serve as elite enforcers of the theocratic Azadi Empire. According to one of them (who is also a playable character), they are "missionaries," "the last resort" to "bring the Word of the Goddess to unbelievers."
  • The priest class of Dungeon Fighter Online is supposed to be a support class, albeit a support class that's NOT a frail caster that needs to run away when danger approaches. Those bulging muscles and that oversized weapon he carries on his back isn't just for show.
  • Several examples from the The Elder Scrolls series:
    • In Daggerfall, there were knightly orders associated with eight of the Nine Divines (Talos being a god hadn't been introduced to the series yet), which the player had the option to join upon locating their chapter houses.
    • In Morrowind, the Tribunal Temple is a powerful military force among the Dunmer. Special mention to the Buoyant Armigers, elite special forces hand-picked by Tribunal deity Vivec himself, often decked out in high quality Glass armor, who primarily operate inside the Ghostfence.
    • Oblivion has Weynon Priory, home to a few ex-Blades who manage to arm and defend themselves with claymores when attacked by the Mythic Dawn. One of the monks explains further that the Order of Talos and the Blades (the emperor's personal network of spies and bodyguards) are two arms of the same organization, and many members of one wind up in the other at some point.
    • The Vigilant of Stendarr in Skyrim, dedicated to the God of Mercy... and purging demons and various other abominations. The Thalmor also count as an evil example of the trope, as one of their primary goals is to stamp out "heresy" (read: Talos worship) through means like torture and ethnic cleansing.
  • ELEX features the Clerics of Calaan; a religious police state that puts its faith in the god Calaan, plasma weapons, mechs and the power of industry. They are currently locked in a war with three other factions over control of the rare element Elex.
  • Fallout 3 introduces the Children of Atom, a kooky cult worshipping a dormant atom bomb. Fallout 4 turns them into one of the many hostile factions in the game, spreading their faith with radiation guns.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas:
    • The Mormons (now known as the New Canaanites) are a benevolent example. While they are known for being incredibly proficient in firearms (specifically the M1911 and the Thompson SMG) they are also known for generosity and offering help to anyone they can.
    • Joshua Graham, of the Honest Hearts DLC, is a specific example. He was a New Canaanite missionary before becoming one of the founders and The Brute of Caesar's Legion. Following his failure at the First Battle of the Hoover Dam, Caesar dismissed him... violently. Graham survived and became The Atoner, after which he made his way to Zion National Park, where he preaches to, and helps defend, the native tribes. He avoids being a Sinister Minister because he's a fundamentally good guy, but he's still scary as hell and not afraid to Leave No Survivors when it comes to his enemies.
    Graham: I have been baptized twice: once in water, once in flame. I am the right-hand of the Lord, and the instrument of his vengeance... Zion may not be lost to us after all.
  • The Crusaders in Final Fantasy X, although they have the odd distinction of being officially excommunicated by the time the game starts for consorting with Al Bhed heretics and their machina.
    • The Warrior Monks of Yevon and, to a lesser extent, the Summoner Guardians, since they're respectively the army and the bodyguards of the "saints" of Yevon.
  • The Yagudo Theomilitary in Final Fantasy XI consists of a race of Church Militants.
  • The Sanctum (Japanese: seifu, or Holy Government) in Final Fantasy XIII, the theocracy controlling Cocoon under the leadership of Galenth Dysley who is the Big Bad.
  • The Temple Knights in Final Fantasy Tactics.
  • The Fire Emblem series tends to have quite a few of these about. Many of the backstories of the games will feature a group of badass heroes saving the continent, and at least one of them (Archbishop Bragi, Saint Maira; Saint Elimine; Saint Latona) will count as this and as the founder of their own religion, which is then spread through the years and lands. Then, when the world's in danger, members of such churches will join the hero's armies to fill the trope and fight for it. For more generic examples, the War Monk (male) and War Cleric (female) classes introduced in Fire Emblem: Awakening come across as this, given how they wield staves and axes. (Libra, a devout worshiper of Naga, starts out as a War Monk, others can reclass into their respective class.)
  • In Guild Wars: Prophecies the White Mantle is the theocratic government and military of Kryta after the failed Charr invasion. Unfortunately for the Krytans, their gods happen to be a race of amoral spellcasters.
  • Ky Kiske in Guilty Gear was a former member of the Sacred Order of Holy Knights and veteran of the Holy War against the Gears. Even though the order is disbanded and he goes on to join the police force and later become a king, he is still a character largely defined by his religious devotion.
  • Ground Control has the Order of the New Dawn, a powerful religious order whose followers number in billions across the known worlds. For political and economic purposes, they're registered as a MegaCorp. The Pax Dei ("Peace of God" in Latin) is the Order's military arm. The Pax Dei soldiers use priesthood ranks (e.g. the second Player Character's rank is that of a Deacon and is the equivalent to a Major), and their military equipment is far ahead of the curve. All their ground vehicles are called "hoverdynes", and they utilize Energy Weapons. They're also taught to face their enemies directly; guerrilla tactics being an anathema to a warrior of God.
  • Halo has the Covenant, a conglomerate of alien species that embark on crusades in the name of their gods, the Forerunners, all in the name walking the path to the Great Journey.
  • Hunter: The Reckoning had a priest. With a sword-slash-crucifix. And a crossbox-slash-crucifix. AND he could shoot light out of his hands. Proving that priests have secret magical powers that will be useful in the event of a secret zombie apocalypse.
    • Not sure about the video game, but in the table game from which it's derived, powers are granted for mysterious reasons to seemingly incongruous and unrelated people. Many characters, left with no rational explanation for their new powers, are going to explain them the best they can based on their cultural background. In other words, if a 'typical' American suddenly was able to sprout a flaming sword and smite a vampire with it, all the while hearing voices or seeing hidden messages, what's less likely than that they would attribute it to God? And if a priest gained such powers, religious mania is a perfectly reasonable outcome.
  • In Infernal, EtherLight isn't technically the church (instead being a more direct means for Heaven to act on Earth), but it takes stylistic cues from the church often enough to have the appearance of this trope. It's most noticeable in the first level, which is basically a medieval-style monastery with high-tech touches and guards who look like monks. More elite EtherLight components go for a more conventionally military theme, however.
  • Trails Series has the Gralsritternote , an order within Congregation for the Sacraments of Septian Church. They are responsible for investigating and retrieving lost ancient artifacts across Zemuria. The order is divided into three ranks; a base class called Squire, a promoted squire called Knight who is assigned to support one of twelve special (and also strongest) knights called Dominion chosen by manifestation of power dubbed as "Stigma". While investigating artifacts sound like a harmless job for normal archeologists, people in the order are capable fighters. This is justified because there is also an arguably evil ancient order which has the same purpose filled by people with inhuman strength and fighting capabilities and both of them often cross paths with each other. So far, Gralsritter members encountered in the series are on the players' side; in fact, there's one instance where an existing playable character is revealed to have obtained a Stigma from a fallen Dominion mid-Time Skip, forcing the Gralsritter to hurriedly bring that character into their ranks. However, the church's intention hasn't been fully revealed.
  • La Pucelle is about a squad of monster hunters belonging to a church whose (sorta secret) purpose is destroying demons.
  • In Lords of the Realm 2, the Bishop uses religion as an excuse to conquer lands.
  • The 'Lethal Hounds' of the Garden Children from Luminous Arc.
  • The Celestine and Nihilist priesthoods of Lusternia. Respectively an order of warrior-priests based in New Celest and a Church Of Evil based in Magnagora, they're both comprised of divinely empowered crusaders. They hate each other with a passion.
  • Master of the Monster Lair: The valkyries, who are stated to serve an "evil goddess."
  • Medieval II: Total War has this during Crusades called by the Pope. While you're on a Crusade, the Crusading army in question can recruit religious mercenaries that include fanatical pilgrims, spearmen, or cavalry. Outside of the Crusades you can recruit various knightly orders. There's also the Papal States, who sometimes will go into an expansionist phase and conquer various cities around Rome.
  • One of the factions of the post-apocalyptic Mount & Blade: Warband mod The Reckoning is the Church of Our Saviour, a whole army of guys wearing monk-like clothes (except some of their higher tier units, who wear medievalish armours), with units having religious theme-naming ("novice", "member of the clergy", etc.) and led by commanders with christian titles ("pastor", "preacher", "clergyman", etc.).
  • The New Order Last Days Of Europe:
    • The National Redemption Front is a radical Catholic group that emerges out of the Iberian Union and seeks to bring out the Kingdom of God on Earth.
    • The Order of Saint George is a rare Eastern Orthodox version of this trope, aiming to drive out both the Nazis and Communists so they can reunite Russia under God's banner.
  • Literally every deity (and a few things that aren't deities) in Nexus Clash has one, up to and including the personification of Love. How one advances the cause of one's Church is a bit of a mystery due to the enigmatic nature of the Powers That Be, but killing the other side usually helps.
  • Octopath Traveler has the Knights Ardante, a chivalrous organization that serves the Church of the Flame. Ophilia can easily recruit them to aid her in her quest.
  • RosenkreuzStilette has a variant on this: the titular group was formed after the hero Rosenkreuz and his eight closest disciples won a holy war against the Holy Empire, and became a Magi-specific order of the Orthodox Church's army. Unfortunately, the Church and the RKS seem to have come to blows again recently...
  • RuneScape: Priest robes (prayer bonus), best mace you can find (prayer bonus), hunt giants/dragons (their bones give more prayer xp). You can take a lot less damage (Protect from x prayers) while dealing a lot more damage (Fortify Strength/Attack/etc.) And, the Monks of Zamorak, too.
  • Sakura Wars: A variation; Erica Fontaine is both a nun and a member of the Paris Assault Force; the convent she belongs to is not a military organization in and of itself.
  • In Sengoku Basara (Devil Kings to the western gamers) one of the characters is a missionary named Xavi (Q-Ball in Devil Kings), a Love Freak who dual-wields handcannons based on the foreign missionaries of Japan and whose goal seems to be the conversion of all of Japan (or whatever indeterminate country Devil Kings is supposedly in).
    • He doesn't appear in Sengoku Basara 3, but his influence remains in the form of Sorin Otomo, a powerful regional lord and one of Xavi's most faithful disciples.
  • Septerra Core. The Holy Guard of the Seven Winds, an order of paladin-type fighters from Shell Three.
  • The Lord's Believers in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri are a faction of technophobic Church Militants. Their combat bonuses (from fanaticism!) keep them militarily competitive and, incidentally, make them scary fuckers if they manage to steal your weapons research. Which they will, because the same fanaticism makes them awesome spies (can't brainwash 'em, can't break 'em, and more than happy to die in the line of duty!). Or they just get Transcendence before anyone else and instantly win.
    • Also the Cult of Planet, who worship the planetary hive mind, and whose goal is to return Planet to its natural any means necessary.
    • The Lord's Believers are shown in Michael Ely's novel Twilight of the Mind in their single-minded war against the University of Planet and, later, Morgan Industries. Despite being technologically backward, their fanatics make great infiltrators, and they use terrorist tactics with brutal efficiency. They're also great at quickly adapting captured enemy equipment against said enemies. Ultimately, their alliance with the Human Hive results in the complete obliteration of the Spartan Federation with a single Singularity Planet Buster, the retreat of all other leaders into a virtual world in an underground bunker, and a Planet-wide Gaia's Vengeance that, presumably, wipes out the rest of human civilization on Chiron.
  • In Spore, during the Civilization Stage, if your nation has a religious inclination, you build tanks that utilize music instead of cannons, and laying seige to a city consists of getting your music tanks to play (while a holographic preacher shouts at the city walls). Also, the game's Space Stage features a number of archetypes; one of which being the Zealot. Zealots are fanatically dedicated to Spode, and believe it is their duty to convert others to his worship, and smite all who refuse. The power given to players using this archetype is called "Fanatical Frenzy," allows you to instantly convert all cities on a planet, transferring it to your empire's control. However, due to the forcible conversion, any neighboring empires will treat it as a weapon of mass destruction and therefore will not trust anyone who makes use of it.
  • The Protoss High Templars from StarCraft qualify for this trope, since they're highly trained priests capable of summoning deadly thunderstorms out of thin air.
    • The Protoss army. Their footsoldiers are called zealots. As in religious fanatics.
  • The Aeon Illuminate of Supreme Commander has its military wing, led by the Avatar of War. Aeon ranks are known to include Knight, Templar, and Crusader, which should tell the player plenty. If not, their enormous robotic army, navy, and air force includes the Exodus, Harbinger, Fervor, Radiance, and the dreaded Galactic Colossus, termed the Sacred Assault Bot. Oh, and their nuclear missile launcher is called the Apocalypse, and they have a rapid fire artillery shotgun called the Salvation.
  • Tales Series
  • The Order of the Hammer, or Hammerites, from the Thief series. They often pray to their God to lend them strength to fight their version of evil (Pagans and anyone that doesn't think like them).
  • The Ikko-Ikki in Total War: Shogun 2. A Buddhist militant monastic order of commoner men who oppose the decadency of clan rules. They even have their own form of Buddhism, Jodo-Shinzu, which is incompatible (in game-mechanic way) with Shinto-Buddhism practiced by most of Japan. And they are badass. Any faction can have Warrior Monk units, which are some of the most expensive, hardest hitting, and deadliest units in the game (outside of hero units). Their only draw back is that their monk robes aren't very good at stopping arrows.
  • Touhou Project features two rival shrines of miko, both of whom carry out "youkai exterminations", and Sanae Kochiya actually does so under the direct behest of her live-in goddesses. It is mentioned in Touhou Seirensen ~ Undefined Fantastic Object that Byakuren Hijiri and her brother also performed this function, before the latter died and the former grew to favor youkai over humans.
    • And now we have Toyosatomimi No Miko, another religion-inspired fighter (Taoism) who led a sort of crusade to make Buddhism the state religion in her country while secretly practicing Taoism. This backfired a lot, since when she tried to use Taoism to ressurect later on, Buddhist monks sealed her away.
    • An often-overlooked bits is that even Yuyuko and Youmu are Church Militant of a Buddhist esoteric order. Their stages are heavily based on the concept Pure Land, and their spellcards based on teachings of Buddhism (notably the aforementioned Pure Land esotericism).
  • Twin Blades has a gun-and-scythe-toting nun as a player character. Said gun can shoot all kinds of crazy supernatural ammunition, the better to halt the Zombie Apocalypse in its tracks.
  • Warframe features Harrow: a dark priest themed Warframe who emphasises gunplay and is just as dangerous as any other Warframe. Additionally, Harrow is used as a worship vessel by the Red Veil for Rell.
  • All religious groups in Wasteland 2. Particular standouts are the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud, who have turned Mutually Assured Destruction into a religious tenet that inspires them to keep the peace, and God's Militia, a genocidal Christian sect that bases its beliefs on the tape-recorded sermons of a fire-and-brimstone televangelist.
  • The Witcher has the Order of the Flaming Rose which serves the Church of the Eternal Fire and their purpose is to defend humanity from monsters and magic users. They operate much like the Knights Templar and Teutonic in real-life history, as their leader is also titled "Grandmaster".
  • Witch Hunter Izana: The church of the light, who sent the titular witch hunter. In game they mostly seem to fundamentalist against monster girls and obsessed with power for it's own sake. Much reference is made to two battalions of crusaders ready to invade the island if Izana fails. They serve as the game's final enemy type.
  • Paladins in World of Warcraft are always members of a militant religious order that varies by race. Human and Dwarf Paladins are Knights of the Silver Hand (originally the only Paladins in the game, and the terms were almost synonymous); Draenei are Vindicators; Blood Elves are Blood Knights; and Tauren are Sunwalkers. Priests count as well, though their agendas vary.
    • On an organizational level, there have been several Church Militants based around the Light. In order of their creation: The Order of the Silver Hand; the Scarlet Crusade; the Argent Dawn; and the Argent Crusade.
  • The Ethos from Xenogears is the world's main religious body, and seems to have a rather large number of gun-wielding priests at their disposal. One of them even joins your party.
  • In Xenosaga the Ormus is a religion with its own fully-fledged military industrial complex, including weapons and advanced physics research. The most prominent of these groups is the U-TIC Organization, who are the main antagonists of the first game.

  • The Vatican church of Cry 'Havoc' employs teams of vampire and demon hunters. They're preferred weapons are automatic air burst grenade launchers, broadswords, helicopter gunships and strike bombers. The only competing religion, the Norse based Aesir church, is implied to be even more aggressive with its methods.
  • The Veiled in Digger, a military organization devoted to defending all gods. Murai puts it nicely:
    Murai: Our specialties are hand-to-hand combat and comparative theology.
  • In Endstone, The Nunjas.
  • Sister Mona Theist of Flaky Pastry, as a member of the Sisters of Holy Retribution, fits to a tee.
  • Girl Genius:
    • The cathedral in Mechanicsburg has a unit of paladin clanks in storage, and the abbess rides out to fight during the Battle of Mechanicsburg though the Jaegers knock her out quickly when it turns out she's allied with the Knights of Jove.
    • The Corbettites are more interested in running Europa's railways than fighting, but they are quite well-equipped to defend their neutrality.
  • Guilded Age: Our Lady of the Perpetual Bloodshot Eyeball. Their weapon of choice is a long ruler with a blade fixed to it. May also count as Religion of Evil.
  • Remember how it's mentioned in Hellsing above that Protestants and Catholics each do this when not fighting each other? And Shine Heaven Now adds Stephen Colbert to the Catholic side. (Most of the details are in the pseudo-sequel The Eagle of Hermes.)
  • In Impure Blood Dara's Back Story. Before Made a Slave.
  • Last Res0rt has a Church of Happyology version called the Star Org, a PMC associated with the Church of the Endless and the Reincarnated Soul Technology Corporation. Unfortunately for the vampiric protagonist, they have a policy of "shoot first, silence anyone asking questions later" concerning the Dead Inside, and they've been contracted to provide security for Last Res0rt station.

    Web Original 
  • Critical Role: Technically most clerics in the setting (which is played in D&D 5.0), but the straightest example would be Pike, cleric of Sarenrae as well as Kima, paladin of Bahamut from the first campaign. Both are official, pious members of their respective churches, and both are always eager to wade into battle against evil in heavy armor.
  • Tech Infantry has the Christian Federation, one of several rebel factions during the Third Civil War. There are also Crusader Teams who hunt Vampires in the Federation, and in the Middle Kingdom.
  • In the Whateley Universe, Petra and the entire Order of the Rose and Thorn, who end up fighting a host of necromancers who are trying to raise an Eldritch Abomination. Things escalate, and we find out just how well armed they really are.
  • The Elysium Order in Void Domain are a group of nuns dedicated to eradicating undeath and necromancers. They are fairly extreme in going about their duties.
  • Malê Rising has the Papal Legion, a Catholic army created by the Pope during the Great War to fight on his behalf. His announcement led hundreds of thousands of Catholics from across the globe flocking to his banner, and the camaraderie and class erasure formed during the War led to the growth of a non-hierarchical, anti-nationalistic (though not anti-violent) branch of Catholicism among the ranks. Their respective homelands soon had to grapple with a new form of populism once they returned.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The Hashishim, aka The Hashshashin, a heretical Ismaili Muslim cult organized by Hasan-i-Sabbah with the goal of overthrowing the Caliphate. They were said to use hashish to induce visions of paradise that the believer would obtain upon his death, though this is considered a myth (especially by the scholar Edward Burman), as the effects of hashish were well known in the Islamic world at the time and any such claims are a later misunderstanding of the sect. The word "assassin" derives from the name of this sect, and derives from Hasan-i-Sabbah's name rather than the word "hashish". Another theory is that the name is "Asasiyun", "those faithful to the foundations" (asa:s) of Islam.
  • One of many real, Older Than Print orders: The original Knights Templar (and several other crusading orders established thereafter) were originally intended to be an "order militant" of the Catholic church organized along monastic guidelines entrusted to protect and provide care for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. However, the Templars gradually grew in power, wealth, and influence to the point that they were largely autonomous of any overseers, whether religious or secular, until the King of France convinced the Pope (who was a virtual captive at Avignon, in French territory) to disband the order and brand them as heretics in 1314 (possibly because he owed them money).
  • The Knights of the Hospital of St. John (Knights Hospitaller) were not affected by the dissolution of the Templars. They kept fighting from bases on Rhodes and then Malta until they were invaded by Napoleon in 1798. Since then, they have ceased their military activity — they do keep their military corps, but they have focused completely in humanitarian aid. They do still, however, exist, and are recognized as a sovereign territory-less state, since they have a few citizens, passports, currency and their own monarch.
  • The Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary's Hospital in Jerusalem (or Teutonic Knights) was both a monastic order charged with evangelization and christianisation of pagan territories, mostly in the Baltic regions, as well as considerable military force and a sovereign Monastic State. They ended up turning themselves into secular nobles when they turned Lutheran, and their military state became Prussia.
    • Those who did not become Protestants fled to Catholic parts of Germany and reconstituted the order as a more conventional monastic order, which continues to this day.
  • Inspired by these groups, the Order of the Dragon was a monarchical knightly order established to defend the cross against its enemies — more specifically, the Ottoman Empire which was expanding over the Balkans. It was a Catholic organization since many of its members swore their allegiance to the Pope, but many Orthodox Christians partnered up with them as well. Among its most famous members were Skanderbeg of Albania, John Corvinus of Hungary and Vlad the Impaler of Romania (in fact, his father Vlad Dracul took his name from the order).
  • From about 1378 to 1418, the Catholic Church fought a civil war. A real civil war. With actual battles and many, many factions.
  • The English city of York had some pretty tough Archbishops before the reformation. In 1138, Archbishop Thurstan formed an army at the Battle of the Standard and routed a Scottish army. In 1346, another Archbishop (the fantastically named William La Zouche) defeated a numerically superior Scots invasion at Neville's Cross near Durham. Yet another Archbishop, Richard le Scrope, led an unsuccessful uprising against King Henry IV in 1405. One of Henry VIII's Archbishops, Christopher Bainbridge, ended up going to Italy and besieging the city of Ferrara for the infamous "warrior Pope" Julius II. And this was just one See...
    • Thurstan didn't actually command the English at the Battle of the Standard (he was in his 70s at the time, pushing towards 80), but he did raise the force and created the famous "standard" — which consisted of the blessed sacrament mounted on a cart with the banners of St Peter (patron of York), St Wilfrid (patron of Ripon) and St John of Beverly (patron of... three guesses). The message to the Scots was clear: by fighting the English they would by virtue of the standard be fighting three saints and Jesus Christ himself. Thurstan's personal representative at the battle was fellow Bishop Radulf Novell, who delivered an inspiring sermon to the English before battle commenced and probably participated himself. All this appears to have had a profound psychological effect on the Scots, who went on to lose badly. Probably at no other point in British history has religion been used so explicitly as a weapon of war.
    • Another Archbishop of York to take up the sword was William Melton, albeit without much success. In 1319 a Scottish army threatened York, and in particular Queen Isabella of England who had taken up residence there. While the Queen was smuggled out of the city by boat, Archbishop Melton hastily raised a rather small, ragtag army of York residents, which involved a large number of priests and monks from the region. Unsurprisingly, in the ensuing "battle" at Myton-on-Swale they were massacred by the Scots. The sheer number of clergy and religious men involved on the English side led to the battle being nicknamed the "Chapter" of Myton.
  • Some people accuse Islam to be a religion spread "by a sword in the left hand, and a Qur'an in the right hand". While it's not entirely true, they had reasons for this; their power and fervor is such that they were able to take out the Persians completely and fight toe-to-toe against the Eastern Roman Empire, partially because the Byzantines and Sassanids had worn themselves out by fighting each other over a century.
    • While the above is partly true (Islamic rule spread rapidly through a strong military force, while the actual conversion took sometimes centuries and was seldom enforced; see the Copts in Egypt), this can be said for many religions, especially once a regionally dominant power starts to spread it in neighbouring countries, such as, say, the spread of Christianity to the Aztec Empire, parts of sub-Saharan Africa, and South and East Asia.
  • Many non-state forces in the modern Islamic world, for example:
    • The Hezbollah combine civil defense with religious education. Secretary-General Hasan Nasrallah was trained in Iran as a religious scholar. However, at least in Hezbollah's case the religious element takes a backseat to civil defense, social services, and politics some of the time.
    • The Taliban are this in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They enforce what they say is Islamic with an iron fist and draw their allure from promises of martyrdom and heaven (in a country where death is never far away), money (hundreds of dollars in a country where 2USD a day would be good money), and nationalism (in a country that has been seemingly invaded and occupied by every ambitious state in history). They are notorious for not only their brutality, but also for being very tough to extirpate.
    • Most infamously, Daesh (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) is considered a church militant so extreme that just about everybody else apart from Boko Haram hates them with a passion, even the aforementioned Taliban and Hezbollah, who are known to be terrorist extremists.
    • Speaking of Boko Haram, they are Daesh's African counterpart that operates in northern Nigeria and at some point in 2015, they were statistically considered more violent than ISIS themselves (though only by a small margin).
    • The Nation of Islam has a standing paramilitary force called the Fruit of Islam. While not armed, they are highly trained in martial arts and military tactics, and act as secondary ministers as well as a security force.
    • Sufis have also formed their own self-defense militias against terrorists that want to implement sharia law and Wahhabism due to Sufis being heavily persecuted by them. The most notorious example is the Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a, a Somali paramilitary group opposed to Al Qaeda's affiliate Al-Shabaab.
  • The Christian equivalents to the examples above include:
    • The Lord's Resistance Army seek to implement a theonomy in Uganda based on the Ten Commandments. They are led by former Catholic altar boy turned warlord Joseph Kony who incorporated Christianity with African syncretism, being rather heterodox in nature. They were infamous for quite some time due to kidnapping boys and indocrinating them to be Child Soldiers, but gained notoriety with the Kony 2012 internet campaign by Invisible Children that denounced them for their atrocities. Unlike the Taliban, the LRA has been in decline for several years and while Kony hasn't been caught yet, recent reports state he is down to a hundred men and might be hiding in Sudan due to Uganda and South Sudan being enemies with the former and allied with each other (its rather ironic that a Christian terrorist group would take refuge in a Islamist regime like Sudan).
    • The anti-balaka militias are this for the Central African Republic. They started out as a vigilante group against the Islamist Seléka rebels that overthrew the government and began pillaging and murdering the population. Unfortunately, the cycle of violence grew out of control and the anti-balaka began targetting Muslims on suspicions of being sympathetic to the Seléka.
    • The Kataeb Regulatory Forces were the military wing of the Phalange Party in Lebanon comprised entirely of Maronite Christians that fought during the Lebanese Civil War.
    • Though largely ignored by the media, Arab Christians such as Assyrians, Maronites and Armenians have also played an important role in fighting ISIS during The Arab Spring:
      • The Syriac Military Council and the Guardians of the Dawn in Syrian were paramilitary coalitions that while have consistently clashed against ISIS, have also backed different sides of the war — the Guardians are pro-Assad, while the SMC are parts of the Syrian Democratic Forces.
      • Dwekh Nawsha ("those that sacrifice" in Aramaic) in Iraq could be considered the polar opposite of ISIS: being a Christian militia started in Iraq much like ISIS began as an Iraqi Al-Qaeda affiliate, though they were formed to defend their people from being forcibly converted, pay the jizya tax or be executed. They were also bolstered by several Western volunteers from the USA, France, Britain and Australia like their ISIS counterparts.
  • In medieval Korea (during the reign of Goryeo Dynasty), there was an official army faction of Buddhist monks, with the badass sounding name of 'the army of Demon repellers' ('Hangmagun' in Korean), which fought against Jurchens and Mongolians. The succeeding Joseon Dynasty (which disliked Buddhism due to its Confucian nature) banned these 'Monk Armies' ('Seung-byeong', which means the same as Japanese 'sohei'). But later during the 1592 Japanese Invasions, many Buddhist monks took up fighting again as Seung-byeong, and some famous monk-generals such as Samyeongdang contributed greatly in driving out the invading Japanese forces. Their names and feats were so well-known that there were many folk legends created about monks being able to use magic and supernatural powers.
  • In Feudal Japan, prior to the Tokugawas' consolidation of control, there were quite a few orders of warrior monks ("sohei"). Many of them were of samurai origins themselves (some were ronin, others preferred the religious orders to serving a secular lord) and all of them were just as tough customers, and as ferocious, as the samurai. There were full-scale wars between rival temples, and Tokugawa Ieyasu had to put them all down very hard to get the country to be quiet. One such example would be Amakusa Shiro, an Japanese Christian samurai famous for leading a rebellion against the Shogunate to defend Christianity in Japan which was under persecution. He was 15-year old when he began leading his forces whom referred to him as "Heaven's messenger" since he was attributed with performing certain miracles.
  • The Ikko-Ikki's description up in the Video Games section covers the basics, their beliefs made even their allies hate them. It took Oda Nobunaga three separate sieges to bring down their fortress at Nagashima. He didn't even manage to take it conventionally; the third siege ended when Oda forces managed to surround it and burn it to the ground, including numerous civilians and non-combatants within.
  • Even in the modern day, Buddhism and Buddhist states have been very resistant to other religions.
    • In 1990's Bhutan, the government expelled hundreds of thousands to millions of Hindus and non-Buddhists, and still violently resists other faiths.
    • Currently in Myanmar, the Buddhist majority, guided by monks and permitted by the government, violently riots, demonstrates, and attacks against the Muslim minority. Many have fled to Bangladesh as a result.
    • In Sri Lanka, Buddhist monks pressed the government into adopting more brutal measures against the Tamil sympathizers, non Tamils, and non-Buddhists.
  • Hinduism is a diverse religion with various sects but historically, it has never shied away from warfare, having a recognized role for the kshatriya (warrior) in the ruling castes of society. In the modern era, the Hindutva Renegade Splinter Faction, alongside other Hindu right-wing movements such as the Shiv Sena, engaged in widespread communal riots against Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, lower-caste Hindus, women and college girls, "western" intellectuals and historians. One Hindu extremist assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, who called him No True Scotsman by saying that non-violence isn't part of Hinduism at all, and other groups engaged in the destruction of the Babri Masjid. Such groups often complain about how their temples were destroyed by Muslim invaders while forgetting that Hindu kings destroyed Buddhist and Jain stupas and temples, and indeed built their temples on top of those as well.
  • During the early 20th century, the Catholic Church and the post-revolution Mexican government came into conflict. The Constitution of 1917 had several articles in it that severely limited the power of the church in Mexico, although not all of these were immediately enforced. During the administration of President Plutarco Calles, the government began secularizing education, forcing priests to register with the government, capping the number of priests in the country, and persecuting Catholics that resisted (violently or not). The Church wasn't pleased with this and, after putting the entire Church in Mexico on strike, numerous supporters of the church rose up in arms, calling themselves the Cristeros. The conflict escalated to the point where in 1928, the Mexican government executed José Sánchez del Río, a fifteen-year-old boy who refused to renounce his faith. He and others have been lately recognized as being martyrs.
  • The Jesuits (the Society of Jesus), one of the many orders of priests in the Catholic Church, were founded in 1534 by a Spanish ex-soldier named Ignatius of Loyola. Ignatius had been wounded in battle, and spent the next few years wandering around Spain as an ascetic. Ignatius then decided that he should go become a priest. While studying in Paris, he and six of his militant student-priest friends got together, called themselves the "Company of Jesus" (as in an infantry company), went to Rome, pledged their absolute loyalty to the Pope, and said "let us form an order of priests, and we'll do whatever you want." The title of the papal order that established the Jesuits? Regimini militantis Ecclesiae — "To the Government of the Church Militant." Even today, Jesuit priests take a "Fourth Vow" — in addition to the usual vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience that all Catholic priests make — to do whatever and go wherever the Pope commands them. (Ignatius wrote that he wanted the Jesuits to be "well-disciplined, like a corpse." He wasn't kidding.)
    • The fourth vow also involves not seeking personal advancement in the Church, and refusing offers of it unless they are absolutely forced to accept, since St. Ignatius really didn't like career clergy.
    • The more modern lay confraternity, Miles Jesu, actually means "Soldiers of Christ". The Jesuits have been noted to not appreciate the competition, and innumerable conspiracy theories involving the recent Papal investigations into the activities of Miles Jesu have been floated.
    • The more successful Opus Dei, ("Work of God"), has been able to score major inside positions with recent popes, due to the occasionally "overkill" methods of the Jesuits. The so-called "Black Pope" of the Jesuits (the Father Superior, actually) has been sidelined by the more recently successful Opus Dei counterpart, and time will tell if the Jesuits have truly chilled and outlived their efficacy or some major upset will happen to replace them to their previous position as the "soldiers of Christ".
      • Considering that the actual Pope (Francis) is the first Pope belonging to the Jesuits, it seems they may not be that far off.
  • Until the 1960's the Vatican State technically still had an army. And it had a real army until 1870 when the Kingdom of Italy invaded and annexed the Papal States.
    • The Vatican still has the Swiss Guard. Many of their duties are ceremonial (especially when it comes to the guys wearing the fancy uniforms), but they are trained and sworn to protect the Pope with their own lives if needed. The Swiss Guard works with the Vatican's Gendarmerie in protecting the Vatican and high ranking officials.
  • To the Catholic Church itself, this has a very specifically defined meaning: the term "Church Militant" actually means "all living Catholics in communion with the Holy See." The other parts being "Church Triumphant" (all souls in heaven) and "Church Penitent" (all souls in Purgatory who are being made ready for heaven). "Church" here means the group of people who are believers, not the building or institution. In other words, all those still alive are fighting a spiritual war, but those who have died and gone to heaven are done with the struggle and have been made victorious by God.
  • New England Puritans actually stored gunpowder in their churches. This made wintertime rather difficult as they could not light a furnace.
    • When the congregation started to disturb the mood by shivering the preacher would shout, "STAND! And hear the word of God!" It is NOT an accident that Battle Hymn of the Republic was written by a New Englander. This is why the Parthenon in Athens is in ruins. The Turks used it as a mosque, and were also storing munitions there in 1687 when a Venetian artilleryman took a potshot at the building, with predictable results.
  • The British used to say that The American Revolution was "a Presbyterian war". Whatever the religious affiliations of the top brass, the American lower ranks quite often considered themselves a Church Militant.
  • One British regiment traditionally takes its arms to church with them and posts guards during service. This dates from the time when their regiment was in the service of Scottish Covenanters. According to Bryan Farwell, Highland regiments had a notable level of piety, especially as compared to other British regiments.
    • In Welsh regiments, soldiers are, to this day, more likely than not to sing hymns on march and not swear.
    • In Massachusetts Bay Colony, Puritan soldiers often took their guns to church in case of attacks by hostile native tribes while they were attending services.
  • Just sing Battle Hymn of the Republic.
  • In a subversion, some of the most Orthodox of Israeli Jews are ambiguous about Israel in the first place and are sometimes accused of being slackers. This is not universal and a number of Badass Israelis are quite pious Jews. The Druze in Israel have actually requested to be subject to conscription.
  • The Salvation Army is commonly seen as a general Protestant charity. However, they are this trope: a church organized along military lines, although the denomination isn't devoted to warfare, but rather aggressively trying to end poverty and help their fellow man. In the youth of the organization, however, the Salvation Army fought a large number of street battles against rival gangs and mobs raised by people not to keen on their radical message.
  • The Mormon War. Joseph Smith Jr. was once the leader of the militia (especially noteworthy is Zion's Camp) and also the prophet and leader of the LDS church. After Smith's assassination, when Brigham Young was prophet and leader of the LDS church they organized the Mormon Battalion, which is the only religious military unit in United States history and was part of the Mexican-American war. When the Church controlled Utah territory, the state militia also served as this. Some members were involved in atrocities against non-Mormons, unfortunately.
  • Sikhism is famous for this aspect. They express it in a more publicly accepted fashion then some groups, through such means as participation in regular military units and a religious duty to carry a knifenote . Defense of the righteous is fairly central to the faith of Sikhism, which is understandable considering their history of being surrounded by militant Islamic factions and equally militant Hindus. They represent only about 2% at most of the Indian population yet make up nearly 15% of the army (and 20% of officers). Indian UN peacekeepers are usually called blue turbans due to the high probability they're Sikh soldiers (most male Sikhs do not cut their hair and keep it in a turban).
  • According to Robert Graves in his autobiography Goodbye to All That, during World War I British soldiers preferred Roman Catholic chaplains because not only did they actually visit the men in the trenches but when other officers were killed they would take off their chaplain's tabs and lead the men themselves.
  • Most armies have chaplains, but the Russian Army is unique in having mobile churches for those chaplains to hold Divine Liturgy in.
  • The Polish Catholic Church during the Polish-Soviet War:
    • Poles were very devout Catholics as well as being very nationalistic and sometimes you get the impression that it is really Poland that is a Church Militant.
    • Averted as Pilsudski, the head of state/dictator/commander-in-chief at this time, was Protestant (he converted from Catholicism in 1899). He proposed a federation of independent states on the Soviet border — unfortunately it didn't succeed. While it is true that he had opposition and Poland was Catholic, it is less black and white.
    • The future Pope Pius XI, papal nuncio to Poland, gave services in the trenches outside Warsaw, becoming the first representative of the Vatican to face Christendom's enemies on the battlefield since the Battle of Vienna.
    • The Tatar Cavalry Regiment was a Polish unit of Muslim soldiers, members of the small Tatar community which had lived in Poland and Lithuania at least since 15th century. In order to find more recruits, the regiment issued an appeal to the Tatar population, calling them to arms in the name of Allah and under the green banner of the Prophet.
  • One of the more positive examples is the Second Great Awakening, the religious revival in the United Status in Antebellum America, where many preachers and lay Christians became radical anti-racists and abolitionists and played a key role in setting the stage for the end of slavery in America. John Brown was the most famous, repeatedly carrying a Bible and a gun, and marching for abolitionism until his doom at Harper's Ferry. Notably Brown was so firm in his convictions he refused a Chaplain's service in his final hours when he learned that said Chaplain supported slavery. Unfortunately, the pro-slavery forces were in many cases equally militant about being Christians.
  • In ancient Rome, Pontifex Maximus (high priest of the Roman religion) was not typically an office related to combat. However, Julius Caesar was elected to the position in 63 BC, and retained the title throughout his military campaigns, keeping it until his death. To put it in perspective, the title of Pontifex Maximus is nowadays used as an honorary title for the Pope of the Catholic Church.
  • The Carlists were a Spanish counter-revolutionary group (and by counter-revolution they meant opposition to Thefrench Revolution) and thus highly religious, viewing their fight as a crusade to save Spain from the Enlightenment, as they saw Catholicism and Spanish national identity as interwined.
    • The requetés of the Spanish Civil War fought for Franco against a Republican regime which they was a threat to Catholicism, and several of their songs have religious references, such as their official anthem, the March of Oriamendi.
  • During the French Revolution, several Vendeans of the Catholic and Royal Army fought under the symbol of the Sacred Heart because they opposed juror priests being imposed to them.


Video Example(s):


I Kick Arse for the Lord!

When Lionel gets cornered by a gang of zombified punks, the local priest Father McGruder, who is trained in kung fu, steps in with some 'divine intervention'.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / AllMonksKnowKungFu

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