Tennessee judge rules family can’t name son “Messiah”
posted at 12:01 pm on August 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
In other words, get ready for the appeal:
A judge in Tennessee changed a 7-month-old boy’s name to Martin from Messiah, saying the religious name was earned by one person and “that one person is Jesus Christ.”
Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the name change last week,according to WBIR-TV. The boy’s parents were in court because they could not agree on the child’s last name, but when the judge heard the boy’s first name, she ordered it changed, too.
“It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is,” Ballew said.
And here’s the oddest part of the story:
Messiah was No. 4 among the fastest-rising baby names in 2012, according to the Social Security Administration’s annual list of popular baby names.
I’d expect the ruling to get tossed just on those grounds. It’s hard to argue that the name was so unusual or bizarre that it required judicial intervention when the SSA’s data shows that it’s becoming more and more popular. Parents give kids stupid names on occasion, and the children either learn to embrace it or change it as soon as possible. Unless it’s a clearly abusive name — like, say, naming your son “Adolf Hitler” to perpetuate your own Nazi sympathies — a judge really doesn’t have any say in the naming process.
Still, though, one has to wonder what parents are thinking when choosing “Messiah” as a name. These parents just thought it sounded nice with their other children, named Micah and Mason, but, er … doesn’t that set expectations just a wee bit high for the kid?