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Old 12 August 2013, 11:02 AM
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Judge US judge changes baby's name from Messiah to Martin

A judge in the US has ordered a baby's first name to be changed from Messiah to Martin, arguing that the only true messiah is Jesus Christ, reports say.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23665106

Colour me surprised that a US judge can rename a baby - especially as the original name was chosen by over 700 other parents in the US last year (apparently making it no. 387 in the most popular boys names). Will the other 'Messiahs' be renamed as well?

Another two questions - did the judge choose the name Martin? I know it's the mother's surname, so did the parents say that will be the child's name if 'Messiah' was now allowed?
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Old 12 August 2013, 12:18 PM
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If they appeal, it should be overturned. I don't think the judge had the authority to do that. It also seems a bit like she thought it was a clever way to resolve the case, giving the child both of the parents' names.
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Old 12 August 2013, 12:44 PM
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There was a family at my apartment complex for a year or two and one of the kids was named Messiah. I did a double-take the day I was walking past the kids (it looked like all the kids in the complex were playing together) on the grass and heard a parent say "Messiah! Come inside! It's dinnertime!"
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Old 12 August 2013, 12:49 PM
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Reminds me of the Bill Cosby routine about his dad swearing at him and his brother: "Daddy, I'm not goddamn it, I'm Jesus Christ."
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Old 12 August 2013, 02:10 PM
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But not even the Bible itself (if you read it in the original languages) says that Jesus is the only messiah. King David was a messiah (so was every king of Israel). "Messiah" means "anointed one." So on top of not understanding the law, this judge doesn't understand theology, either.
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Old 12 August 2013, 02:11 PM
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Avril, is there a "not" missing from the first sentence of your post?
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Old 12 August 2013, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Reminds me of the Bill Cosby routine about his dad swearing at him and his brother: "Daddy, I'm not goddamn it, I'm Jesus Christ."
That bit is still funny.
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Old 12 August 2013, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Avril, is there a "not" missing from the first sentence of your post?
I don't think so, why? It has a "not even" in it.

I'm saying the Bible refers to other messiahs.
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Old 12 August 2013, 02:35 PM
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Sorry. It was my reading comprehension that failed there.
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Old 12 August 2013, 02:42 PM
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So what happens when the next person of Hispanic origin attempts to name their son "Jesus"?

baseballreference.com shows over 40 major league baseball players (current or past) with first or middle names of Jesus - so it wouldn't be unreasonable for at least one of them to have a son born in the US, also with a first or middle name of Jesus...
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Old 12 August 2013, 02:46 PM
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I wouldn't assume that her mistake about the Messiah would carry over to Jesus, although it might.

The larger issue, IMO, is that she doesn't understand the separation of church and state.
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Old 12 August 2013, 03:00 PM
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Using "Messiah" as a name is a relatively new and trendy thing, all things considered, compared to a male child named "Jesus". That has been around for a long time, and in court, isn't it all about precedent?
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Old 12 August 2013, 03:07 PM
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I don't understand what you mean.

In this case, it's definitely not all about precedent. There's the church-state issue, as I mentioned above. And that might be irrelevant, depending on whether the magistrate has the legal authority to amend the name change request at all (as opposed to either granting or denying it). If s/he overstepped her authority, that alone would be cause to reverse her action.
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Old 12 August 2013, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
Using "Messiah" as a name is a relatively new and trendy thing, all things considered, compared to a male child named "Jesus". That has been around for a long time, and in court, isn't it all about precedent?
No. In court, it's all about the law. Precedent plays only a tiny part, and then only in certain kinds of circumstances. The judge overstepped her authority, probably under state law, and certainly under constitutional law. Messiah or Jesus, she did not have the authority to change the first name in this case.
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Old 12 August 2013, 03:40 PM
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I doubt she had legal grounds to deny the name change, either. Perhaps she should have recused herself if she didn't feel she could grant it without violating her conscience.
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Old 12 August 2013, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitap View Post
There was a family at my apartment complex for a year or two and one of the kids was named Messiah. I did a double-take the day I was walking past the kids (it looked like all the kids in the complex were playing together) on the grass and heard a parent say "Messiah! Come inside! It's dinnertime!"
"He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!"
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Old 12 August 2013, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
I doubt she had legal grounds to deny the name change, either. Perhaps she should have recused herself if she didn't feel she could grant it without violating her conscience.
What name change was denied? The parents were disputing over the child's last name in a support hearing--I'm guessing paternity had recently been established through a support case, and that the father now wanted the child to have his last name. The mother was opposing that, wanting the child to keep her last name, "Martin." The judge came up with the idea to give the boy the first name Martin, and change his last name to the father's last name. The whole thing is all kinds of messed up.
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Old 12 August 2013, 03:56 PM
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Sorry, I should have stated that as a hypothetical: if an adult had petitioned for a name change to Messiah, I don't think her reasoning would have been an appropriate reason to deny it.
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Old 12 August 2013, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
I don't understand what you mean.

In this case, it's definitely not all about precedent. There's the church-state issue, as I mentioned above. And that might be irrelevant, depending on whether the magistrate has the legal authority to amend the name change request at all (as opposed to either granting or denying it). If s/he overstepped her authority, that alone would be cause to reverse her action.
What I mean is that unlike other countries or territories (like New Zealand or Sweden the province of Quebec), the US does not have a specific policy of banning certain names. New Zealand, being a former British colony, excludes all names with "royal" references or titles. I believe other countries reject, on principle, names which can't be spelled in the native alphabet, and exclude names with numbers or symbols. Is there a policy on legal name change in the US - the only one I could imagine is changing one's legal name to try and confuse one's identity with someone else. That said, there's a long history of permitting "religious" names - for Christian and other religions - so the fight is already lost because of the absence of policy, and precedent.

I could see a ban on "religious" names if there was, indeed, a state religion, but that clearly isn't the case here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
No. In court, it's all about the law. Precedent plays only a tiny part, and then only in certain kinds of circumstances.
Oh what a pleasant world you must live in. All about the law? It *should* be, but in practice, well, that's another story. If you truly believe that it is always all about the law, then I have some ocean front property to sell you, right here in Arizona.
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Old 12 August 2013, 04:51 PM
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Leaving aside changing the first name how is what she ruled in anyway a fair resolution to the original dispute? They are arguing over the last name - a name that is a lot more important in some ways than a first name. After all you can always use a nickname or go my a second name if you prefer. It's not that easy to use a different last name. If the parents weren't prepared to compromise with a hyphenated name then essentially she's ruled in favour of the father by making the mother's last name the baby's first name. If I were the mother I'd be even angrier about that.
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