Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tennessee judge changes kid's name because Jesus was too awesome

I feel sorry for kids who could catch crap just because their parents gave them a certain name. But my sympathy can't justify any kind of limitations on the choices parents have in naming their kids. And the 1st Amendment can't justify this:

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."
...
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.

It was the first time she ordered a first name change, the judge said.

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.
...
"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.

A lot of names could put kids at odds with other people who don't like their name. But as this judge admits, this is the first time she has ordered a first name changed. So why is this the first? Because the judge finds it offensive that a parent would name someone with a title that she personally holds religiously significant.

The judge might have an argument if a kid was named something like "Ihatejesus" or "Fuckchristians". The kid could reasonably be threatened because of its name. I'm still not sure we should force the name to be changed because it's still the responsibility of other people not to hurt the kid. But it's a stronger argument than what the judge gives in regard to Jesus' title, which clearly violates the 1st amendment and should lead to some kind of punishment for not understanding this basic tenant of constitutional law. But this is Tennessee, after all. I'm sure this will put her on the fast track for becoming governor or senator in this ridiculous state.

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