Answer: No, in the United States, it is not a crime to name a child ‘Jesus.’
But that doesn’t mean you should do so without an understanding of what the naming laws in your state look like.
In the article that follows, we’ll explain.
Is It Illegal To Name Your Child Jesus? (United States)
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Illegality of the Name Jesus
First and foremost, we know of no law (state or federal) that makes it a crime to name a child ‘Jesus’ in any shape or form.
While there may be civil struggles given state laws about naming, none of those laws are criminal statutes, meaning a police officer cannot give someone a ticket and a judge cannot sentence anyone to jail over the attempt to name a child something specific.
Jesus is a Common Name in the US
There is no national or federal United States law that states that a child can not be given the name ‘Jesus.’
The name ‘Jesus’ is actually common in families of Spanish, Mexican, and German families in the United States.
The name may or may not have an accent mark to show where the emphasis should be made when pronouncing the name.
However, there are many state laws that do govern naming, and these laws may make it difficult to register the name ‘Jesus’ like a parent would want to, because their laws don’t allow for the accent mark.
States Control Baby Naming
Each state has the control over the legal guidelines that confirm what baby names are allowed or not.
The guidelines or regulations of the state where the infant is born ensure that the child’s birth certificate and recording can be correctly and completely done in that state (but not elsewhere)
There are often many questions that expecting parents have when they are expecting a child. For instance, can the child have more than one middle name?
Can the child’s name be a number or a grammatical sign? While many parents don’t consider these options, some creative people do.
Each state does it a little differently, and each set of parents will have to confirm the rules of that particular state.
The important thing is to make sure that your baby’s name is within the regulations of your state.
These are some examples of how each state’s baby naming regulations differ.
- Arkansas: The state allows spaces, apostrophes, and hyphens as long as they are not used in a straight pattern.
- California: This state’s law clearly bans any obscene or derogatory names. It also excludes pictographs and non-English characters from children’s names.
- Florida: This state requires that the parents agree on a child’s first name, or the court will select one.
- Georgia: The state bans any use of symbols and accents.
- Illinois: This state has no restrictions on naming a child including numbers and unique characters.
- Michigan: Children in Michigan can only have names with English characters.
- Mississippi: In this state, if the parents are married, the child is automatically given the father’s last name. If a different last name is preferred it can be requested in the courts.
- New Jersey: The state forbids children’s names with numbers, symbols or any obscenities.
- New York: The state forbids using numbers or symbols in a child’s name. Also, the first and middle names are limited to 30 characters each.
- North Carolina: Children born in this state can have names that include hyphens, accent marks, and tildes.
- Ohio: Children’s names cannot contain numbers. However, spaces, hyphens, and apostrophes are acceptable.
- Texas: Children’s names in this state cannot exceed 100 characters. This includes the first, middle, and last names. No non-English characters or diacritical marks are allowed.
- Virginia: Children’s names can not include any numbers, characters, or symbols. This includes tildes and umlauts.
Middle Names for US Children
While there is no strict regulation regarding the number of middle names that a child may have, there can be a limit to the number of characters that can be recorded with the state.
For instance, the state of Massachusetts requires that the first, middle, and last name of a child be no more than 40 characters.
This is often due to the software restrictions used to maintain birth records.
Check with your specific state.
Use of Grammatical Characters
Some states prohibit the use of accept marks or apostrophes.
Others do not.
This can make it difficult for parents who want to name their child a certain way.
This also makes it hard for the parents who are able to use grammatical characters to move their children to other states, as those children may struggle to get state specific identification.
Again, check with your specific state.
Government Documents and non-English letters or Marks
There are a number of states where certain marks or non-English letters cannot be used.
Others allow them. This includes Hawaii, Alaska, North Carolina, Oregon, and Hawaii.
Some parents omit the accent marks on the official documents but use them in daily life.
Bottom Line on Naming
In general, though only some states have specific naming laws, a parent should think twice about naming their child anything that involves:
- Grammatical characters: hyphens, asterisks, apostrophes
- Diacritical marks
- Derogatory terms
- Offensive names
- Foreign characters
While there may or may not be a law on the books, names that fall into these categories can give children trouble at a later date when it comes to legal documents, school enrollment, and getting along with their peers.
Choosing a child’s name can be a difficult process. Everyone wants their child to feel special and unique. It may include using an old family name in remembrance of someone special.
While many parents don’t come face to face with these naming issues, it’s important to understand that these regulations exist.