Judge Forces Parent to Change Child's Name from Messiah Because of Jesus
In Tennessee, Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered parents to change the name of their child from Messiah to something else because, "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." Of course, that does not take into account all the people named Jesus or the fact that Messiah is the fourth fastest rising baby name in the U.S.
The parents were in Ballew's courtroom because they were trying to settle on the child's last name. The couple were divorcing and could not come to an agreement on whose name the child should have. In this case, Ballew pulled a King Solomon and ordered the child be required to take both names, which seems logical until you read about the whole Messiah thing.
Of course, this has caused an outcry from all sorts of places. Naturally, the intervention of a judge into the world of religion is going to do that. It also raises the question: Does a judge have a right to forcibly require you to change the name of your kid?
Frankly, this is one of the least offensive names a child could get in this day and age. Children get all sorts of weird names from Frodo and ESPN to Truck (not kidding) and Darth (seriously).
But imagine the Biblical name possibilities. Habakuk and Zephaniah come to mind. Malachi is fine if you want your son to be a child of the corn. Haggai and Zaccheus are horrible and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego sounds like a demented law firm. Honestly, Messiah is downright pleasant compared to Anani or Hepzibah.
There was even a guy named God Shamgod who played briefly in the NBA. Let that soak in for a second. A parent (or parents -- we assume one of them divorced the other in protest) decided that a great pairing for their surname would be God. Never mind the fact that it sounds like the title of an atheist punk album -- God, Sham God!
Still, I don't recommend naming your kid Messiah. It's weird. But comparatively speaking, it's tame, which makes Ballew's decision all the more ridiculous.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.