Meet our new son. We call him Lucifer. Or we would have if the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages hadn't knocked the name back.
The list of baby names queried or rejected by the official registry in the past two years shows the agency is at least being consistent. There were three attempts to register Lucifer (all rejected), and one would-be Messiah was also declined.
The list runs to 102 and consists mainly of names rejected for being too close to titles – Baron, Bishop, Duke, General, Judge, Justice, King, Knight. One couple wanted to call their child Mr.
Religious-themed names were rejected on the grounds of causing offence and several others were rejected for not being words.
One proposed name was `89', another was *, and one was . (full stop). Another keyboard-inclined parent tried to call their child / (presumably he/she would be known as "Slash"). Single letters – C, D, I and T – were declined, though J and q were queried but later accepted.
The Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act says names can be declined for causing offence, being over-long or "without adequate justification" resembling an official title or rank.
Other names that were queried but later accepted included Fanny, Jnr, Shady and Nevaeh (heaven backwards, which, curiously, was the 31st most popular girl's name in the United States in 2007).
Though Lucifer and Messiah were rejected on taste grounds, the Sunday Star-Times struggled to find anyone offended by the names.
Judy de Leeuwe, an atheist at the Rationalists and Humanists Association, said she was not offended and she did not know why Births, Deaths and Marriages would reject them.
Lyndsay Freer, spokeswoman for the Catholic Church in Auckland, said some Christians could object to the name Lucifer, but since millions of Spanish speakers called their children Jesus, she did not see how the name Messiah could be offensive.
Lucifer comes from a Latin expression meaning "light-bearer" and was the name given to the dawn appearance of the planet Venus, which heralds daylight. There was originally no connection to the devil.
- © Fairfax NZ News