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What's in a name.

Mark Oppenheimer’s piece in today’s New York Times, about a Tennessee judge who has forbidden his parents to name a baby boy “Messiah,” reminds me of how agreeable it was to think that whenever my favorite atheist, the late Christopher Hitchens, signed a check or autographed a book about how religion poisoned everything, he was, whether he wanted to or not, extolling the privilege of a human being to bear Christ into the world; how the uttering of my own first name rebukes the Devil, or any blasphemer; how the before the name of the Guatemalan guy who mows my next door neighbor’s lawn every knee must bow and every tongue proclaim that Jesus is Lord.  (To say nothing of my old Lebanese buddy, a Moselm whose nickname was “Mo.”)

To pray without ceasing is an imperative of our faith, and it’s marvelous that even the names we are given, the names we use, can help us out with that, and can, at the very least, join the litany of the saints.  No simpleton judge, no tone-deaf civil libertarian, no court of law can do a thing about that.  That’s an agreeable thought, too.  

About the Author

Michael O. Garvey works in public relations at the University of Notre Dame.



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The judge didn't forbid the parents to name the adorable child Messiah.  That's already his name.  He's been called that since his nativity.  (He's got two precious little teeth, already.)

The judge ordered the parents to CHANGE Messiah's name, because  "it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ."

(Did Jesus EARN the title?)

The mother will appeal the insane ruling.

Will the parents who named their babies Messiah be required to change the names?  Will the 700+ babies who were named that last year be traumatized by losing their names?  

Christopher Hitchens as personification of the Christ bearer!  Now that is funny!

I wonder if Hitchens in his writings ever reflected upon the meaning of his own name, and how at odds it were with Hitchens being a self-appointed contrarian? 

Today's relevance is the violence in Egypt and Iraq. Such murder is still striking and what is our compliticy?

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