Judge oversteps her authority

By Michael Howlett

August 20, 2013

You know, we are lucky to live in this great nation where freedom is so highly valued. I mean, we can buy as many automatic weapons as we can fit into a bunker, we can run a business into the ground, gut a pension fund and still collect a bonus worth millions of dollars, and we can name a child anything we want.

Oh wait, I stand corrected, we can’t name a child anything we want; that’s just plain crazy. No sir, that freedom has to stop somewhere, and where better than when it comes to naming one’s child. It could be dangerous naming a child just anything, especially with all the guns available and the fact he or she will probably grow up to be a disenfranchised adult who will lose his job while his boss is vacationing on his new yacht.

Thank goodness someone, in this case a white judge from the Bible belt, took a stand, telling a couple that they couldn’t name their child Messiah. Why, you may ask? Well, according to Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew, “The word Messiah is a tile and it’s a tile that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.”

Now, I’m not sure what educational level the judges in Tennessee are required to have, but methinks it’s not high enough. Now, to Ballew, the word messiah may refer solely to Jesus Christ, but she would be wrong.

Although one definition is “the expected king and deliverer of the Jews,”aka Jesus, another is a “professed or accepted leader of some hope or cause.” The word can be used to describe a person who takes charge of a failing company, turns it into a profitable business, thus saving the jobs of the employees. It can even be used to describe an athlete whose talent turns a losing team into a championship team.

As far as religion goes, the term messiah is most commonly used in Abrahamic religions. In the Tanakh, which is the Hebrew Bible, a messiah is a king or high priest anointed with oil. The Tanakh even speaks of Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, as a messiah for his decree to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple.

After Judge Ballew’s decision that the name Messiah was inappropriate became public, she was asked if that also applied to the name Jesus (pronounced Heh-SOOS), which is common in the Hispanic culture. She replied that it was not relevant to the current case. Really? Jesus is okay, but Messiah is right out? And what about Emanuel, which means “God with us” and is another term for Jesus, or what about my name, Michael, which means “like God.” Boy, were my parents off base.

Now, just because I think Judge Ballew is a moron does not mean I think naming a child Messiah is a good decision, but that’s not for a judge to decide. Each year, parents slap their children with names that will get them beat up on the playground. In 2012 alone, some real dandies popped up.

Some of the I’ve-got-my-head-up-my-butt names boys were tagged with were Burger, Goodluck, Espn, Hippo, Popeye, Vice, Ball and Thunder. However, in my opinion, the biggest atrocities were Mango and Cello. You name a boy Mango or Cello and you might as well put a psychologist on retainer right now, because that kid is going to be beat and tormented his entire life.

So, how about girl names dreamed up by meth-addicted parents in 2012? Well, try these on for size –Sanity, Sesame, Jury, Jazzy, Yoga and Ace. However, the prize goes to Inny (that’s not a misspelling). I mean the abuse that poor girl will take over the course of her life is unimaginable. I’ve thought of over a dozen lewd verbal abuses just writing this sentence.

Now, there are very few children sporting those aforementioned monikers, but Messiah … well, in 2012 it was the fourth fastest-rising name in the United States, yes the good old U.S.A., just ahead of King. Major, by the way, is No. 1 with a bullet, I might add.

So you see, parents do dumb things; they name their kids after a snack, Aero, or after a character from a lousy movie, Tron, then send them out into our cruel world to suffer abuse. I know one thing, I’d rather take my chances with Messiah than with Burger, Cello or Mango.