First 'Messiah,' Now 'Jerusalem': Why Are Courts Blocking Baby Names?

baby girl
The city of Brussels says Hagar and Alinadav Hyman cannot name their daughter 'Jerusalem' because it is not on a list of approved names for children born in the country. (Mark Evans/Flickr/Creative Commons)

A Tennessee judge ordered this month that a baby's first name be changed from Messiah to Martin. Now a Belgium city refuses to allow an Israeli couple to name their baby Jerusalem.

The city of Brussels says Hagar and Alinadav Hyman, Israelis who have lived and worked in Brussels for the last three years, cannot name their daughter Jerusalem because it is not on a list of approved names for children born in the country.

The couple wanted to pay tribute to the Israeli city by naming their daughter Alma Jerusalem.

“We are both Jerusalemites, we grew up in Jerusalem, we met in Jerusalem and we very much miss the city, so we decided to call our first child Jerusalem,” Alinadav Hyman told JSS News.

The Brussels City Hall told the couple it would issue a Belgian birth certificate for the baby if they got a letter from the Israeli embassy confirming that Jerusalem is a valid name.

However, Alinadav Hyman said this has not helped, and they feel trapped.

“We cannot take the baby to Israel because she has no passport, and without Israeli consular approval, the Belgians won't register the birth,” he said.

Hagar told JSS News that the Brussels clerk said Bethlehem appeared on the list of approved names. She also said a Finnish man in line gave his child a name in his local tongue that was 25 letters long.

In Tennessee, the parents of Messiah DeShawn Martin went before Tennessee Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew because they could not agree on the 7-month-old's last name.

Ballew said the parents could not name their child Messiah, saying the only true messiah is Jesus Christ.

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