One of the biggest, and in my opinion most important, forms of representation in tfc is it’s portrayal of Christianity.
Now you’re probably like, “Why? Christianity is every where.”
My response would be, “No, it’s really not.”
Christianity is often portrayed to be a roadblock, something the surrounding characters believe but the Enlightened MC doesn’t. It’s often portrayed as a prejudiced religion with an angry God. A God who is mad at his children and wants to destroy the world or whatever. Fire and Brimstone. Christianity has gained a rep for being extremely bigoted, because the media no longer takes the time to differentiate between people using God as an excuse to be close minded or flat out hurt other people, and (What I call) true Christianity, That’s not what true Christianity is.
So yes, Christianity is everywhere. But it hasn’t been portrayed positively for a long time.
So it means so much to me that, not only do we have Christian characters who work to counteract those stereotypes, but Nora also take the time to differentiate between Christianity and Bigotry.
The first quote we have about it is in Ch. 6 of The Foxhole Court when Neil describes Renee:
“The Foxes’ senior goalkeeper had bright white hair cut to her chin. The bottom two inches of her hair were dyed in alternating pastel colors. It was interesting enough to warrant a second look, but downright odd when paired with her scant make-up, conservative clothes, and delicate silver cross necklace. Nicky had called her the sweetheart of the team. Neil understood why as he listened to her talk. He had no idea how she qualified for the Foxes’ halfway-house team.”
Which when I was first reading I was like “nice nice nice!”. So not only do we have a positive Christian character who is not an ass, we have subtle commentary on how people tend to view Christianity, through Neil calling her dyed hair “downright odd” when paired with her more natural looks, and wondering how she “qualified” for the team. I figured that would be the end of it.
I was wrong, and I’ve never been more happy to be in my life.
The big one for me was during the conversation with Nicky in the library:
“My parents are kind of crazy, you know? There’s religious and there’s super psychotic religious. Me and Renee, we’re the decent sort, I think. We go to different churches and have different ideas, but we respect each other anyway. We understand that religion is just an interpretation of faith. But my parents are the black-and-white crazy kind. It’s only right and wrong with them: hell-fire and damnation and judgment from on high.”
At which point I almost cried. This paragraph comes right after Nicky has been describing why he loves Eric, and how Eric makes him feel safe. And then he says that line:
“There’s religious and there’s super psychotic religious.”
One line. One line, and a stereotype destroyed. There is a huge difference between Christianity and Bigotry, and the media’s blurring of the two has led to toxic stereotypes that make Christianity seems like some awful demoralizing religion. You can be Christian and be gay. You can be Christian and not be a bigot who hates change. We are not the people who use our religion to hurt other people. At the base level, those who are of the bigoted religion are no better than the Islamic terrorists, hiding behind religion to justify there inhumane actions and making everyone else who practices the religion suffer for it.
Then it’s followed by NIcky saying, “Yeah we don’t exactly agree about every little detail, but we understand that religion is just an interpretation of faith.” There are thousands of sects of Christianity, because Christianity is about your individual relationship with God. There are thousands of religions because people choose to interpret the world differently. Just because you believe this bible verse should be interpreted this way, not that way, doesn’t mean you can’t get along. Because the core values of Christianity are the same, regardless of sect.
Which leads me to my next quote(also by NIcky):
“We cannot condone the sin,” Maria said.
“You don’t have to love the sin,“ Nicky said, "but you’re supposed to forgive and love the sinner. Isn’t that what faith is about?"
At which point I started shrieking. This is exactly what faith is about. Exactly. This is what Christianity is about. It is not your job as a Christian to tell people their sins, or tell them how to live their lives, or punish them somehow for sinning. That is the opposite. Christianity is about helping those who need help, not about saving those who you feel need to be saved. Leave the saving up to God. That’s his job. Your job is to help those who need it without preaching scripture at them. Only if they enter your church and say, “Hey, will you tell me about Jesus?” do you have any right to go throwing your belief at them. And even then you don’t go listing their sins. You tell them the message of the bible, that Jesus died for all our sins, and here’s how they can accept Jesus into their heart, if that’s what they choose to do. It’s not that complicated.
So in one sentence she effectively points out and comments on the difference between religious and Bigotry. She calls out the Bigots, literally, “If the first step isn’t tolerance, where does a pair of bigots begin in fixing a mess like this?”, but also provides a glimpse of (ill placed) reasoning when Luther responds, “Faith is following the Lord’s creed” circling back to the idea that religion is an interpretation of faith(which is a whole ‘nother post regarding that and bigoted Christianity).
(Also stfu Luther bc I’m pretty sure sending your son to a anti-gay camp and letting someone rape your nephew and creating a toxic and unsafe home for your children/nephews is pretty damn far from the “Lord’s creed” bye.)
Then she takes it one step further with Renee. Renee is a beautiful example of what Christianity is. She is kind and nice to everyone, she gives but doesn’t expect to take, she is sweet and polite, even to the Ravens, and she is a wonderful example of Christianity in practice. The core value of Christianity is basically, try to be a decent person. Renee is someone even other Christians can look to for inspiration.
Then there is her quote:
“I am a bad person trying very hard to be a good person.”
This is so important, because never once is Renee framed in the light of her religion. She’s just a bad person trying to be good. She’s not trying to repent or convert or condemn. She’s just trying to be a good person. Like we should all aspire to be. But that’s exactly what make her such an important character from a Christian perspective. The Bible doesn’t even really ask you to be a good or perfect person, only that you try. And that’s exactly what Renee is trying to do.
This quote is then followed by the first glimpse you get into Renee’s past:
“…”I’m not,” Renee said…”I know I should be, but that’s still something I’m working on. I know I was directly responsible for the circumstances that led to their murders, but to be honest I hated them. On top of that, without my mother’s death I never would have ended up here. With my mother dead and my biological father in the wind, the courts had no choice but to release me into foster care after my year at a juvenile facility,” Renee said. “I made life as difficult as I could for my foster families and jumped eight homes in two years. Stephanie Walker found out about me from one of my foster mothers at her high school reunion. She put in a request for me, pushed it until it was approved, and moved me to North Dakota as soon as it was finalized. She gave me a new name, a new faith, and a new chance at life.”
In many ways, Renee’s story is like the ultimate Christian story. She was lost, but now she is found. She is happy, safe, and healing. She has made peace with herself and her past, and she is trying to be a good person. And that’s what Christianity is all about.
rook and nora would’ve been 110% happy adopting a child instead of having one biologically. they’d discussed it at length actually - when they made their decision to leave the city and move out to the suburbs and ~start a family, there was actually a stretch of somewhat tense time because they still hadn’t decided.
nora at the time was just squeaking out her law degree, working on her masters in psych via rigorous online classes, and bartending - she and rook had only just cut directing the RHPS out of her schedule with the move. this meant that rook did most of the heavy lifting (literally and figuratively) for their move to sanctuary hills, but it also meant the idea of going and adopting a child so soon didn’t seem totally viable. there was nothing stopping them from having a biological child, of course, but both of them (especially with rook’s experience as an older kid in the foster care system who essentially got scooted out into the military) had reason to seriously consider adopting instead. in the end, they did decide to try for a biological child, largely because the timeframe would just work out better for them.
anyway. it’s why, later on (much later on), rook has zero qualms at all that neither of his children are related to him by blood. shaun & duncan are his sons, and he is still as fiercely loyal to and protective of his family as he would be if they were in any other configuration. he considers himself very lucky, actually, to have the kids he does and the husband he does - he wouldn’t have one without the other, and he’s in such a happy, fulfilled position in his own life that he can’t help but be grateful, and inspired to keep working his hardest. ‘~’
ok right away i wanna give a shout out to tea @tsukoii for the art! when i asked if i could use their older valkos art from rwby relationship week, tea immediately offered to draw some newer art of them. it was incredibly sweet ;A; this was for the rwby secret santa, where i got my friend alex @alexander-the-amazing! thanks for joining me in rarepair hell, bud.
something i want to draw a comic about but probably never will: i’ve mentioned before that rook & nora have something of a diverging timeline thing going - where rook’s PT is unquestionably canon but i decided to take the reverse for a spin, too. and i’ve had this idea in my head of both of them resting with their respective LIs and having mirroring conversations about their previous spouse - i.e. “tell me about her/him.”
this has stuck out in my mind for a bit because i think the first thing rook and nora say about the other says a lot about both characters in both universes - and uh. i’d really love to draw something for this but i just kinda did it headcanon style instead, so here’s that???? 1,200 words and irrelevant to most things, whoops.
(these sections might seem a bit disjointed - only because i’ve been developing rook for more than ten months and beat his PT long ago, and nora’s still very much in development. sorry!)
“tell me about her,” he says, and rook is maybe a little surprised - but maccready means what he says, especially when it’s just them like this, strength in vulnerability in numbers, the gentle bumps of his bare back under rook’s fingers.
it’s rook’s instinct to spare a thought for lucy - but he knows what maccready asked, and knows that if he’d wanted to talk about her just then he would’ve said so, so he says, “she was a force of nature.”
maccready is quiet (because he knows rook by now) and sure enough, rook has barely scratched the surface. “she was the most incredible person i’d ever met, she was my hero - she could do anything.”
something i was messing about with following a conversation with @flannelshirtandjeans - my fallout OCs and the presets they originated from! c: i’m pretty happy with how all of them came out, but i do have a soft spot for rook (in the middle) - i spent enough hours on him that i’m pretty sure none of nate’s original features are present on him anywhere, haha. this was fun to do! :D