Aired August 17, 2013 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip:
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of August 18th, 2013.
A judge in Newport, Tennessee – and I think just by the location, you know this is going to be good – a judge in Newport, Tennessee took it upon herself to re-name a baby. The parents were in court to change the tyke’s last name, and they couldn’t agree which to use: the father’s last name or the mother’s last name. So Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew – and I think just by that name, you know this is going to be really good – Judge Lu Ann Ballew had to make the call on this seven-month-old infant.
She gets distracted, however, by the baby’s first name; the parents have named the kid Messiah. Apparently this is a very popular choice. According to Social Security, it’s one of the fastest-rising baby names. It’s rising so fast, you could actually escape with it out of Egypt while other names had to stay flat and unleavened.
I don’t know what that means, but the point is: they named the kid Messiah, and the judge is not pleased. So Herronor took upon herself to change not the baby’s last name – well, she changed that, too, to include the names of both parents, very wise – but she also changed the infant’s first name, to Martin. Why? Because, gavel girl said, “The word Messiah is a title that has only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ.” Unquote.
I told you, it’s Tennessee. Leaving aside religion for a moment – which is tough because I’m a Rabbi, or at least I’ve played one on TV – what business is it of this judge to be changing a name that the parents agreed upon for their zygote? If I go into traffic court to fight a ticket, is she gonna tell me I gotta fix my garage door, too?
Judge Ballew said she was doing the name switch for the benefit of the child who is too young to have any control over a name that might bring him difficulty with his peers. Really? So tell that to every kid named Irving, Bertha, Dick, Scott – which he learns very early rhymes with “snot” – Luke, which rhymes with puke, Regina, Yussel and Mulva. I wonder, if this judge had been around 50 years ago, would the biggest pop superstar in the world be named Millicent instead of Madonna?
This judge is letting Christianity affect her sanity. What about all the millions of Hispanics who go around naming their kids “Jesus”? That’s a pretty damn big burden to live up to, and I don’t even believe in the guy. Why is Madonna acceptable, why is Jesus kosher – well, he probably was – why is Moshe (Moses) perfectly common for a name, and God knows there isn’t a Muslim driving a taxi who isn’t named Mohammed, but Messiah is off limits?
I can understand why some baby names are seen as borderline child abuse. A couple in New Zealand were forbidden from naming their child, Talulah Does the Hula from Hawaii. A Chinese mom and dad tried to name their kid the @ symbol. And let’s not forget that New Jersey couple who named their offspring Adolf Hitler and Aryan Nation before – big shock – losing custody.
But Messiah? Who could object to that? The goyim think he’s already come; the Jews are worried he’ll never come – either way, it’s a hopeful, happy name. If I and my dear wife Miriam Libby decide to have another baby – to add to our 21 and a half mostly beautiful children we have now – I’d be proud to name him Moshiach. First of all, we need another M because my great uncle Melchy just died, but also because naming your child something that means leader or savior seems a lot more promising than calling them Apple, or Laquisha, or Moon Unit, or the Artist Formerly known as Blanket.
The mother of Martin – fka Messiah – is appealing the name change, and I hope she wins. The ACLU is in her corner because the courts have no more right to tell women what to name their babies than Southern politicians have to force women to deliver babies. Uncle Sam, stay out of the bedroom, stay out of the nursery and stay out of the kitchen, too, unless you can cook a brisket, in which case: come by Friday night, we’re having people, and go easy on the paprika because my wife’s allergic.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, aka Flora does the Hora in Bora Bora, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
(c) 2013 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.