Another interesting academic article I came across was Frank W. Oglesbee’s “Kira Nerys: A Good Woman Fighting Well,” published in Extrapolation 45.3 (2004).
It’s both a thoughtful observation:
Kira is an interesting character in the ST phenomenon, as she is openly and deeply religious, but neither fool nor fanatic. She attends the Bajoran temple on the station and has a shrine in her quarters for meditation; she ahd an Orb experience, heightening her sensitivity and spirituality…
But she does not try to force her beliefs on anyone, and is opposed to such efforts in religion or politics…Whatever the status of religion in modern science fiction generally, and in Star Trek, for Kira, it is a source of strength and comfort, and her fellows respect her perhaps in spite of it, but it doesn’t interfere with their relationships.
And a love letter to the character:
To paraphrase and extrapolate from [Andrew Greeley]: [Kira] was a woman who ‘had lived a very painful life, in which she did many terrible things and many terrible things were done to her.’
But she had also done many brave and loving things, and many were done to her. She exposed deceit; she destroyed villains whose wickedness was inherent in their evil character, not forced on them by circumstances; she took great risks for friends and for causes greater than herself. She helped free enslaved people, and despite losing the great love of her life, she at least had found it and found joy and overcame her pain.
And the Prophets forgave her. (And she was a darn good role model).