This question is really very interesting.
The short answer is no, not really: there is nowhere today in the English-speaking world where religious imagery is anywhere near as frequently used for swearing as occurs in French-speaking Québec.
Detail, details, details
I strongly encourage anyone who can read French to read the Wikipedia article on Sacre québecois in the French version, not just in the shorter and duller English version.
The richness and versatility of Quebecker religious profanity is remarkable. Yes, using religious words as “offensive” language — swearing, cursing, taboo words, whatever you care to call them — occurs in all languages, regions, and cultures. But in Québec they surpass anything seen in Spain or Portugal or Italy or even France herself. And that’s without yet venturing into the English-speaking world.
If you read the section on Sacres outside Québec French, you will see that these really have no equivalent in English. Oh sure, a few common curses or milder minced oaths in English deal with religion — as I mentioned earlier, that sort of thing happens everywhere. But nothing like in Québec.
The WP article does mention an older habit of Irish Catholics, which is the only thing I could find that even starts to approach the Quebecker experience:
Irish Catholics of old employed a similar practice, whereby ‘ejaculations’ were used to express frustration without cursing or profaning (taking the Lord’s name in vain). This typically involved the recitation of a rhyming couplet, where a shocked person might say ‘Jesus who, for love of me/Died on the Cross at Calvary’ instead of ‘Jesus!’ This is often abbreviated simply to ‘Jesus-hoo-fer-luv-a-me’, an expression still heard among elderly Irish people. Also: ‘Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!’
Sure, examples of using Christian words in English exist, although some appear dated:
- My God! > My goodness!
- (God) damn it! > Gosh darn it!
- Jesus! > Jeeze!
- Holy Christ! > Holy cow!
- Go to Hell!
- Devil take you!
The WP article on minced oaths lists a few of these dated expressions, most of them now unrecognizable in their original forms:
In some cases the original meanings of these minced oaths were forgotten; bloody became a contraction of “by Our Lady” (i.e., the Blessed Virgin Mary), ’struth (“By God’s truth”) came to be spelled strewth, and zounds changed pronunciation (with the vowel as in found) so that it no longer sounded like “By God’s wounds”. Other examples from this period include ’slid for “by God’s eyelid’ (1598) and ’sfoot for “by God’s foot” (1602). Gadzooks for “by God's hooks” (the nails on Christ's cross) followed in the 1650s, egad for “oh God” in the late 17th century, and ods bodikins for “by God’s bodkins” (i.e. nails") in 1709.
Even were those still in vogue, they are next to nothing compared with the long Quebecker list on WP. I will omit that list here to avoid giving offence, but you should take a look at it if won’t bother you too much. It’s truly remarkable.
This Slate article asserts that the old swear words based on sexuality or religious profanity are giving way to new ones based on sociological judgements. They therein muse that:
The shift in taboos away from sacrilege and gross-out topics toward more personal and, well, flat-out mean epithets appears to be a move in the right direction. The increasingly offensive nature of these words—and the visceral, emotional responses they trigger within us when spoken or heard—just might amount to a signifier of social progress.
The Economist asks similar questions, this time specifically about the :religious profanity of francophone Québec, in an article entitled Swearing in Quebec: If you profane something no one holds sacred, does it make a swear?. The author ponders:
The theory is that it was a form of rebelling against the Roman Catholic church, whose clergy were a dominant force in the lives of Quebeckers, providing health, social services and education, until they handed these powers over to the state following the social upheaval of the 1960s. To casually utter tabarnak, calisse, or the even more popular ostie (host) was a way to thumb your nose at the powers that be.
As theories go, it makes sense. Showing disrespect for something—a prerequisite for certain forms of swearing—only works if the expectation of respect is there to begin with. Quebeckers were highly religious. [. . .]
. . .
With the Roman Catholic church much less of a presence in the daily lives of Quebeckers, the religious words are losing their punch. Swear words disappear not through censorship, but when they no longer offend, according to the exhibit. The tamer ones—esprit (spirit), sacrament, and baptême (baptism)—have already disappeared from daily discourse, it notes, and the others may soon follow.
. . .
When profanity no longer serves, there is always obscenity to fall back on. My stepdaughter, who was born and raised in Montréal says her twenty-something friends increasingly use a mix of English and French, such as calisse de bitch.
Im summary, no, l’Anglophonie has nothing comparable to what la Francophonie has in the Quebecker religious swear words.