buuut....why start listening now?
For the record, my stance on religion is this - Let's all just get along. You're a Pastafarian? Enjoy the flying spaghetti monster? That's fine. As long as you don't jam your beliefs down my throat, let's go out for a Ramune together and binge on Twizzlers. Forsooth, it will be good times.
There have been a lot of religious nutjobs in the X-Men end of the universe recently. Specifically - Christian nutjobs. This could set a bad precedent and often times just leads to bad, lazy writing. I think it's a bad idea to lean on overused, negative stereotypes. (Yes, I'd say the same if it was any other religious group).
Picking religious groups as villains is as stale as picking out Nazis as the bad guys. The only notable exception in recent memory is Atlus' new game, Operation Darkness. They're not just nazis, they're werewolf nazis. And that is silly and amusing on multiple levels. But I digress.
From the beginning of X Factor, the Purifiers (spoilers ahoy!) capture Rahne and torture the ever living snot out of her and as of issue 4, seem to have brainwashed her. I am hoping that the book expands to show that while she shares a religion with the Reverend Craig, they are completely and utterly different in how they use religion and/or faith in their lives. Wolverine made a point to X23 about Rahne saying that she is the only one on the team that has something that everyone else has lost - hope and innocence. I'm on the edge of my seat, sincerely hoping that this story continues to unfold in an equal parts moving/disturbing manner, rather than take a 'Hur! Religion bad!' manner. I won't ruin the end of issue 4 - but the religious theme is likely to expand exponentially with the inclusion of Warren/Angel and the army that the Purifiers are building.X Force Issue 4 Preview (yes I am aware the book is already out, but I thought you might like this anyway)
Speaking of Angel...
I picked up Angel : Revelations #1 (the Marvel Knights miniseries) which is an origin story - similar to DC Comics Year 1 mini series.
I am well aware that its essentially impossible to do a story about a character named Angel and/or Archangel and not have religious overtones. It's got stigmata in the first few pages for Pete's sake. Warren even goes to St. Joe's, a private boarding school (of indeterminate religion). Your Christian nutjob villain shows up in the first 2-3 pages, wreaking havoc. I'm not going to jump to any conclusions on this one just yet. I don't feel like I have enough characterization for anyone (barring Warren) to make any sort of remotely educated guess on where the title is going aside from bad guy is bad. Again, I hold the hope that they keep it classy, or at least thought provoking in a positive manner.
In a mostly related note, for those that like more stylized art and design, the art in Angel is amazing. Just the cover itself is part Art Nouveau and part Illuminated Text style.
So, 'moral' of the story? (see what I did there?) It's dangerous to tread in religious nutjob plot territory - the possibility that it could turn insulting and hackneyed is very real. However, if the writers treat these plotlines with care, they could stand to be some of the strongest stories in the X Universe in a long time.