August 15, 2013

Judge Changes Baby Messiah’s Name



Hug for Sandy and Nolan


Iceland teen. Blaer, sues court to keep her first name.

Judge orders baby Messiah’s name to be Martin.


One of the most difficult challenges my husband Monte and I have experienced in our 47 years of marriage was choosing names for our children.

Even today, choosing names remains a difficult challenge.

Perhaps it’s because a name comes with the baggage of those who carried it beforehand. Or perhaps it’s because it implies expectations of who and what that child will become, something we cannot know and that we feel the child should choose him or her self.

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In January I read with interest about a 15-year old girl who wanted to keep the given name her mother named her. Blaer’s request was turned down by a bureaucracy committee that approves names not on their personal Names Register, which contains 1,712 male names and 1,853 female names that fit the country’s grammar and pronunciation rules.  If a parent chooses a name not on that list apply to a special committee that has the power to approve it.

When Blaer’s mother chose the name Blaer, meaning light breeze, she was unaware it wasn’t on the approved list.

At first Blaer’s request was turned down on the grounds that the word Blaer takes a masculine article (in other words, it’s a male name), despite the fact that it was used for a female character in a novel by Iceland’s revered Nobel Prize-winning author Halldor Laxness.

Blaer ultimately won the right to keep her first name. Until this victory she was identified as “Stulka”, or “girl” on all her official documents, which has led to years of frustration with the country’s bureaucracy.

Icelandic officials maintain that names on the personal Names Register will protect children from embarrassment.


Britain has no restrictions on what names parents choose for their children—except for exceptional cases, such as a name which could be deemed offensive, when an official could refuse to register it.

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American parents also have no restrictions. They have the freedom to name their child anything. In fact, they view naming their child as an important expression of their freedom of speech, enshrined in the US Constitution, according to Michael Sherrod, co-author of Bad Baby Names. He says that A lot of parents say they want their kids to be unique. They think it’s fun and differentiates their child from everyone else, and gives them a personality. Americans are also very proprietary about their children and take the attitude, ‘We can do whatever with our children and if they don’t like it they can change it when they’re older.

Strange names are nothing new, he says. Census records in the 18th and 19th Centuries revealed people named King’s Judgement…

And between 2000 and 2013 the name Messiah rose in popularity from 326th to 296th —from 52 to 515 babies out of a million babies—in the Baby Names statistics. 

The Social Security Administration agrees the use of the name Messiah is increasing, being the fourth fastest-growing name for boys, rising from the 633th spot in in 2011 to the 377th spot in 2012.

However, some people consider names linked to Jesus Christ as too jarring an allusion for a baby name.

This seems to be the situation in a case where a Tennessee child support magistrate ordered the first name of a 7-month-old baby named Messiah be changed to Martin.

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, said the magistrate, Lu Ann Ballew. I thought out into the future. The name could put him at odds with a lot of people.

 She told reporters that parents who name their child Jesus is not relevant to this case.

The parents brought their case to court because they couldn’t agree on the baby boy’s surname. Ballew then ordered the name to be Martin DeShawn McCullough.

The child’s mother, Jaleesa Martin, said she didn’t think a judge could make me change my baby’s name because of her religious beliefs, that the court was requested only to settle a dispute on the surname.

As armchair quarterbacks, we only have access to information in the

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Based on this information, I consider that Ballew overstepped her bounds, and that this case demonstrates a violation of the parent’s Constitutional rights.

It doesn’t matter if I agree with what you name your child. You have the right of naming.









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