I’m linking this article because I found it interesting that famed legal scholar and political pundit, Jonathan Turley, would be writing about baby names. Apparently the city of Brussels didn’t like the name “Jerusalem”–not because of a theological issue (as in the recent “Messiah” flap) or a religious rights issue (as in last year’s “JesusIsLord ChristIsKing religious liberty flap) but because it isn’t on the list of permitted names in Brussels.
The Israeli couple picked the name Alma Jerusalem for their daughter because they were from Jerusalem and missed the place, among other reasons. One of the responses to the article (on JonathanTurley.org) pointed out that many common Dutch surnames (like Van Damme and Van de Velde) mean “from” (Van) a particular town or geographic area. So objecting that a name selected by an Israeli couple who are from Jerusalem and miss Jerusalem does not seem to be consistent with Dutch naming customs.
To me, the religious names that have received adverse rulings in Tennessee and New York are a major disservice to the child (which was not cited as the rationale for either ruling). It’s hard to see Alma Jerusalem as anything but nostalgia. Does Jerusalem meet my standards (for useful middle names) of being a reasonable “fallback” name in case Alma doesn’t work well (for whatever reason)? No.
I’m not impressed by either Alma or Jerusalem. But I don’t think either name will cause practical problems (for the child) or religious problems for the couple or for citizens of Brussels anything remotely like the kind of problems Messiah (an inflated title) or JesusIsLord (a bumper-sticker name) would rain down on the children whose parents picked them.