For everyone who has ever thought “why would you name your child that?” comes a judge who apparently thinks it’s her job to fix all that. Well, if the name you chose happens to be one that conflicts with her personal, religious views. A couple who came to family court over a dispute about their child’s last name wound up with a verdict changing his first name, Messiah, because “Messiah is a title, and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person, and that person is Jesus Christ.”
Shall we do some unpacking? Let’s:
Last time I checked, government officials are meant to uphold silly things like the Constitution of the United States of America. I mean, it’s probably been awhile since Lu Ann Ballew was in a civics course, but claiming a name off limits because it applies to the sacred text of one religion sort of flies in the face of that whole “no laws establishing a religion” bit, don’t you think?
Please tell me no one missed the spot where the interviewer asks “What about people who name their child ‘Jesus’?” You know, where the judge pauses thoughtfully, with that look that seems to say well, yes, I’m offended by that, too, now that you mention it, but turns around and says it’s not relevant to the case at hand. Really? Because I think your judgment is explicitly based in a ruling that Jesus Don’t Allow No Imitators, so it kind of seems directly relevant.
Unless you know of a lot of amazingly erudite and eloquent infants, no child picks his or her name. I suppose we could all wait until the kid’s old enough to speak, but when I was old enough to talk, I wanted to name my unborn sister Santa Claus or Rudolph depending on her then-indeterminate gender (Santa Claus was the girl name). So, I’m not really sure “the child hasn’t chosen his name” is an especially great back-up argument, there, unless you want the next generation to be run by Ultimate Heatblast Johnson and Fluttershy Lewis.
I have not met a person yet who hasn’t, at one point or another, shaken fists to the stars and cursed his or her name because someone’s concocted an insulting moniker which skews it. Seriously, I came up with half a dozen using “Lu Ann Ballew” just while I finished watching that video, and I was distracted by a healthy dose of are you screwing with me? at the time. There is no saving anyone from that.
Is Ballew a secret time traveller? Did the people who worked the immigrant lines at Ellis Island, turning “hard to pronounce” immigrant names into Joe and Martha, escape to contemporary Tennessee? Can that be what happened instead of the sad truth? Or can SyFy make the movie version of it so I can laugh at how ridiculous this kind of thing happening in real life would be?