Thursday, September 12, 2013
For at least one Tennessee family, it’s very likely that a “Messiah” will return. Late last week, a judge in the small town of Newport ordered that a 7-month old boy’s name be changed from Messiah to Martin, saying that “it’s a title that has only been earned by one person … Jesus Christ.” But legal experts say the judge overstepped — even abused — her authority and expect the mother to handily prevail when her appeal goes before a county chancellor next month.
Legal decisions about children must weigh parents’ right to raise their children however they see fit, an implicit freedom the Supreme Court has grounded in the Constitution, against the government’s “parens patriae” authority — Latin meaning father of the country — which allows officials to intervene on behalf of vulnerable kids. Though many states have laws governing what a parent can name their child and there are times when a child’s name might warrant action, family law professors say “Messiah” didn’t put the infant in harm’s way.
Read more here.