False Messiahs -- 1400 of Them

August 12, 2013
Posted by Jay Livingston

Does a baby have to earn its name?

A judge in Tennessee has changed a baby’s name. The parents had gone to the judge in a dispute over the baby’s last name. They agreed on the given names – Messiah DeShawn Martin. But the judge deleted the Messiah and changed the order of the other two. The child is Martin DeShawn McCollough, at least for now. (The story is here among many other places.)

The judge acted on behalf of all Christianity.
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.
She also claimed that the name Messiah would harm the child.*
It could put him at odds with a lot of people, and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is.
That last part is indisputable. The kid is only seven months old. But the judge is bucking a trend.  Messiah as a given name is on the rise.

Last year, 761 other Messiahs entered the US population bringing the total to over 1400. They got their names the old-fashioned way. They didn’t “earn” them. Only one Messiah, if the judge is correct, earned the name.

The judge didn’t say how she felt about Jesus. But for some reason, the coming of Messiah matches a waning in the popularity of Jesus. 

*In an earlier post, I noted that in Italy, a civil official to “advise and dissuade overly-creative parents” who propose names that are “ridiculous, shameful, or embarrassing.” I added that in the US, no such restrictions applied.  The parents have appealed the judge’s decision, and I expect that they’ll win.

1 comment:

Paulo said...

Where to begin with this?

First, "messiah" is not a title exclusively held by Jesus Christ. A number of people in the Bible are called messiah including King David and Cyrus the Great (who wasn't even Jewish!)

Second, this is one of the few instances of an obvious church-state violation coming from the judicial branch. Normally they're just upholding or striking down religious legislation or executive actions rather than taking a strictly secular law and reinterpreting it into a religious one.

I'm not exactly sure how separation activists go about addressing this...