Judge Rules Tennessee Family Can’t Name Their Son ‘Messiah’
A state court judge in Tennessee has said that parents cannot name their child ‘Messiah’:
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.
Ballew said the name Messiah could cause problems if the child grows up in Cocke County, which has a large Christian population.
“The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ,” the judge said.
One wonders what Judge Ballew would say to an Hispanic family who wanted to name their son Jesus. Or, what about children named Emmanuel?
As for this name, it’s not nearly as uncommon as you might think:
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 don’t profess to be familiar with Tennessee law, but that fact alone would seem to be sufficient to answer whatever objections could possibly be raised to a parental name choice. I expect this ruling will be overturned on appeal.