Baker Academic

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Baby Messiah Demythologized in Tennessee - Le Donne

I'm a child of the 1970's.  My town is where the Haight and Ashbury crowd moved to flee those flower-power usurpers.  So I know a bit about "less traditional" names.  My best friend was named Amandus.  I went to grade-school with a girl named Plum Blossom.  There was a girl in my town named Groovy (don't ask about her middle name).  But we wild-eyed hippies aren't to be trusted, so don't take my word for it.

If Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon can name their son "Moroccan", and Ichiro Suzuki can legally drop his last name to become "Ichiro", and Nicolas Cage can name his son "Kal-El", and the Pope can name himself "Francis", then why can't this Tennessee mother name her son "Messiah"?

First of all, this kid is adorable. If anyone was going be named after Jesus, it's this guy. Secondly, Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew needs a history lesson.  She has claimed that "'Messiah' is a title that has only been earned by one person: Jesus Christ."  I seem to recall something about Israel's kings and prophets and there was that Persian guy named Cyrus.  So, unfortunately, the mother in this case is wrong too: it doesn't mean "God" either.  Any first year seminary student will tell you that it means Buster Posey anointed.

But Judge Ballew wins the we're-all-a-little-bit-less-intelligent-because-of-you award when she says, "At this point, he has had no choice in what his name is."  I think that I speak for most parents when I agree on this point: babies tend not to name themselves.

What made this story Jesus-Blog worthy was the answer that Ballew gave when asked about the countless Latinos who are named "Jesús."  She answered, "That's not relevant to this case."  Not relevant?  What precedent could be more relevant? Ballew is the person who played the Jesus-card and the name Jesús is irrelevant?

Come on Tennessee, you're making us Northern Californians look reasonable by comparison.


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