Monday, August 12, 2013

When Christianity, Miss Anne Syndrome mix and go wrong: Name change ruling in TN is the result

7 month old Messiah

A Tennessee couple went before Child Magistrate Lu Ann Bellows for a child support hearing and to settle a dispute regarding their child's surname.What happened during this hearing has made the national news.

Magistrate Lu Ann Bellows ordered the parents to change their 7 month old son's first name from Messiah to Martin.   Miss Anne  oops!  Magistrate Bellows based her ruling on the premise that the name Messiah could cause the little boy problems growing up in a predominately Christian community.

"It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has no choice in what his name is"

Here is a video of Miss Anne Magistrate Bellew explaining the rationale of her ruling.

Magistrate Bellew is obviously unaware of the fact that according to the Social Security Administration there were 700 babies given that name last year.

I read this story at 3 a.m.  on my Facebook news feed and it immediately made me angry.  I knew before every seeing the woman who made this ruling was white.

Why am I bringing race into what is supposedly a situation based on an individual perception of Christianity? 

It is about a difference in perception regarding The Messiah.

black jesus photo: BLACK JESUS 2 Jesus.jpg  

Which perception of The Messiah do you think that was in play regarding this ruling?

 Christianity is still a racially segregated faith.  

That is obvious on Sunday morning. Drop into a church that is outside of your community and see what type of reception you may not receive by the followers of Christ because you are racially different than the congregation. 

 I am not ignoring the fact that there are congregations that are inclusive and welcome all people to worship.  I am pointing out a reality of Christianity within the US that we know exists.  There is a divide and it goes beyond just interpretation of the Bible and practices. It is racial and in spite of the doctrine that declares all people are equal and created by God, there are congregations all over the United States that are made up of one sole ethnic identity.

I won't ever begin to step into the ways that our faith perceptions differ based on cultural beliefs because that is really a blog post for another time and another blogger. 

I find it partially interesting that this woman feels a black child with the name Messiah would have problems within a Christian community.
 I suspect that in the Christian community where she resides it probably would be an issue.  
We know that within the black community the trend of naming children has shifted from the mainstream idea of biblical names to some very unique and creative naming practices.  

If Bellew had been capable of thinking past her own head trip over Messiah's name, she would have to admit that at some point in time she has ruled in a case where a black child has had a uniquely trendy first name.

Please let me add this point--white parents also name their children unique names like Galaxy Gramophone Getty, Moon Unit Zappa, there is a list of celebrity children who have uniquely different first names.   I have had white children in my classroom with unique names as well.   

This ruling is  also an example of how being a member of a privileged class skews an individuals perception about the rights of black people in their midst.  

Once again Miss Anne Syndrome is up and working!

The definition of Miss Ann from the Urban Dictionary: 
1. Historical - White mistress of a slave plantation  or any white woman of authority in the southern United States during slavery and the Jim Crow era. 2. A haughty and out-of-touch white woman.
Not only did Magistrate Bellew order Messiah's name be changed, she also determined what the child's name would be. A Classical old Southern school move on her part and also the reason to turn her the hell out for being so damn arrogant and haughty with her judicial power! 

Does the term parental rights have any actually meaning inside of this woman's hearing room?  

One of the primary rights that parents have is naming their child/children. 
When Messiah's parents attended the support hearing it was not about changing his first name. I have no read anywhere that the parents were in disagreement over their child's given first name. Even if the parents had been in agreement with the ideological idea that was forwarded by Lu Ann Bellew, it would still be THEIR right to determine what their child's name would be.  

Magistrate Bellew is uncomfortable with the idea that there is a black male child with the first name Messiah residing in a community under her jurisdiction, and her "Christian" sensibilities are offended by the idea that anyone would dare to give a child a name that she deems to be totally exclusive (minus the 700 children who are also Messiah's), she does not have the right to use her position within the court system to force a name change based on Miss Anne style religious principles!

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