Thursday, August 15, 2013

He's Not The Messiah!

A magistrate judge in Tennessee is being criticized for renaming a baby on apparently religious grounds. You can question all you like the wisdom of naming your child "Messiah," which to me sounds a lot like insisting he spend his elementary school years tooling around in this vintage wienermobile pedal car. Still, we do have religious freedom in the United States, and unfortunately for this poor kid that includes a parent's right to be a complete dumbass when it comes to baby names. It's not that the courts can't throw out awful baby names - they do it all the time. The Constitution just explicitly states that they can't do it for religious reasons.

The baby’s given name was "Messiah DeShawn Martin." Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew spontaneously changed it to "Martin DeShawn McCullough" (McCullough is the father’s name), explaining that although there was no dispute about the child’s first name before the court, “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."

According to the Social Security Administration, "Messiah" was in the top 400 baby names for 2012. (Nearly 4,000 babies were named "Jesus"; about 500 were named "Mohammed"; and 29 were named "Christ.") The ACLU, pointing out that the judge cannot impose her religious faith on others, has offered to assist the baby’s mother, Jaleesa Martin, in an appeal of the judge’s order.

Ballew ordered that the baby’s birth certificate be changed because, as she explained, she was taking his Christian community into account and "I thought out into the future," and the name "could put him at odds with a lot of people." Her decision seems nutty on its face, and will no doubt be overturned, but it’s a reminder of how much freedom Americans truly enjoy when it comes to naming their children.

You know, if the judge hadn't made that religious reference during the hearing, she might have been able to sustain her argument. Unfortunately, she just couldn't keep her mouth shut. Because, frankly, "Messiah" is a really stupid name. You might as well go with "God-Emperor" or "Divine Pharaoh." Same thing, really, as far as a lot of people are concerned. And I know that names aren't destiny, but with such a moniker aren't you just setting your kid up to seek out a career as an evil overlord? There's no future in that, as the entire canon of Hollywood action films will attest.

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1 comment:

Nerd said...

While it is true that Messiah is a title, the TRUE Messiah was Sabbatai Sevi, not Jesus Christ. (And after all, isn't Christ also a title?)

But I like the way you think. I may change my name to GOD EMPEROR.